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What to Do If You Have Severe Stomach Pain

 It can be pretty frightening when you start to experience unbearable stomach pain. It can also be hard to know what you're supposed to do. Should you call an ambulance or go straight to the Emergency Room? Should you call a doctor? Here you'll learn exactly what you need to know to make the safest and smartest decision for yourself or a loved one. Remember to err on the side of caution when deciding whether or not to seek immediate medical attention - when in doubt, make the call!
When to Call an Ambulance or Go Straight to the Emergency Room

When a person is having a medical emergency, time is obviously of the essence. An ambulance should be called if you're alone, if you think immediate EMT assistance is necessary or if you feel that your condition could get worse during the time it will take you to get to the nearest hospital.

Get help immediately if your severe stomach pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

• Abdomen that is extremely hard or tender to the touch
• Bleeding that can't be stopped
• Bloody diarrhea
• Chest pain or pressure
• Coughing up or vomiting blood
• Difficulty breathing
• Dizziness
• Fainting 
• Inability to have a bowel movement accompanied by vomiting
• Pain in neck, shoulder or between shoulder blades
• Unable to stop vomiting
• Vision changes

Other reasons you might need immediate medical care for severe stomach pain:​

• You have recently injured your abdomen
• You're undergoing treatment for cancer
• You're pregnant or you think you might be pregnant

When You Should Call Your Doctor 

If you have come to the conclusion that your symptoms do not warrant a visit to the ER, you may still be wondering whether you should let your doctor know.

If you have any of the following symptoms, it's important that you contact your doctor in a timely manner:

• Burning or urgent urination symptoms
• Diarrhea that lasts longer than 5 days
• Fever that is above 100 or lasts for more than 3 days
• Significant loss of appetite
• Pain worsens or doesn't get better within a couple of days
• Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
• Vaginal bleeding that is excessive or lasts longer than usual

Not an Emergency? How to Feel Better
If you have decided that your life is not in danger, you are still faced with the fact that you're ill. Here are some steps to take to help you feel better:
• Limit yourself to clear liquids for a few hours.
• If you experience vomiting and/or diarrhea, it's best to eat only mild foods until your symptoms have subsided. 
• Avoid foods that are tough on the digestive system, such as fried foods, spicy foods, and drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol.
• Try an over-the-counter antacid or gas-relieving product.
• Try to pass a bowel movement. Sometimes the cause of a sudden sharp abdominal pain is trapped gas. Having a bowel movement may help to get the intestines moving so that the gas can make its way out of your body. 


How to Ease Your Mind

Anxiety about what could be wrong will enhance your experience of the pain. Here are some things that you can do to help to reduce your worry:

1. Educate yourself about the digestive system: You might not have given your insides any thought since high school biology, but it could be worthwhile taking a look at some pictures of your digestive system to figure out what's inside where it hurts. You will not come up with an answer as definitive as your doctor since pain can radiate, but visualizing what might be going on may help reduce your anxiety a bit.

2. Educate yourself about the possible causes of your pain: While you're waiting for the pain to ease or to speak with your doctor, you could spend a bit of time learning about the more common causes of digestive problems.

3. Reassure yourself: Keep in mind that our bodies sometime do funny things. As previously stated, trapped gas can be painful, but that does not mean that your life is in danger. Also, keep in mind that if there was something more serious going on it is likely that your body would let you know. If you are not experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is highly likely that you're experiencing a temporary problem that your body will fix over time.  

Source: verywell

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