1. Sudden Stomach Pain
Where: Around your navel; may be accompanied by nausea, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, pressure to have a bowel movement or stiffening of the abdominal muscles.
Possible causes: Appendicitis
What to do: Go to the hospital. Appendicitis must be treated quickly or the appendix will rupture and leak infected fluid into other parts of the abdomen. Stiffening of abdominal muscles is a sign that infection is starting to spread.
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2. Pain with Gas
Where: Around and below your navel accompanied by gas.
Possible causes: Constipation or flatulence
What to do: Take an over-the-counter laxative or anti-gas medication. If pain persists for more than two weeks, see your doctor.
3. Sudden Pain on Your Right Side
Where: The pain on the right side of your abdomen may radiate to other parts of your abdomen or back.
Possible causes: Gallstones or gall bladder inflammation
What to do: If pain persists or worsens after eating greasy foods, see your doctor.
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4. Sudden Pain Below Your Navel
Where: The pain may radiate to either side of your navel.
Possible causes: A colon disorder, a urinary tract infection or pelvic inflammatory disease
What to do: If pain continues to worsen, call your doctor, who may order diagnostic tests or advise you to go to the emergency department.
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5. Sudden Sharp Pain
Where: Near your lower ribs that radiates down your groin.
Possible causes: Kidney stones or, if accompanied by fever, a kidney or bladder infection
What to do: Increase your water intake and call your doctor. Most kidney stones eventually pass on their own, although in rare cases surgery is necessary. If you also have a fever, call your doctor.
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6. Burning Sensation
Where: Just below the breastbone, particularly after a large meal.
Possible causes: Heartburn (reflux)
What to do: Take over-the-counter antacids and avoid large greasy meals. If pain persists for several weeks, see your doctor.
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7. Sudden Abdominal Pain and Tenderness
Where: In your lower left abdomen may be accompanied by fever, nausea or vomiting.
Possible causes: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis
What to do: See your doctor, who may recommend a colonoscopy. Long-term treatment may be required.
8. Sudden Abdominal Pain and Blood
Where: Pain in your stomach accompanied by bloody diarrhea, blood in the stool or vomiting blood.
Possible causes: A blockage in the bowel, a perforated appendix or bleeding from the bowel
What to do: These are symptoms of internal bleeding; go straight to the nearest hospital.
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9. Reoccurring Mild Pain or Discomfort
Where: The stomach pain comes on slowly and continues or recurs for weeks or months, sometimes accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, bloating or flatulence.
Possible causes: A chronic ailment such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, food intolerance, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or coeliac disease
What to do: See your doctor, who may refer you to a gastroenterologist for follow-up.
10. Sudden Abdominal Pain in an Older Person
Where: Sudden abdominal pain, especially in an elderly person who smokes or has high blood pressure; may be accompanied by lightheadedness.
Possible causes: Abdominal aortic aneurysm
What to do: The widening of the aorta can cause fatal bleeding. Go to the emergency room immediately.