When Should You See a Doctor for Abdominal Pain – And Why?
Whether it’s a fleeting discomfort or persistent agony in your abdomen, understanding when to consult a doctor can be crucial in identifying and managing underlying conditions, such as colon cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, pain, and bloody stools are your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right.
Timely intervention not only ensures early detection of potentially serious conditions such as colon cancer but also enables appropriate management and treatment. It allows for the implementation of strategies to alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and prevent complications associated with chronic gastrointestinal conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease and others.
Abdominal Pain: When to See a Doctor
Abdominal pain is a common symptom that can range from mild to severe and can originate from various sources within the digestive system. While some instances of abdominal pain may resolve on their own, others may signal a more serious underlying condition. That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognize when it’s time to consult a doctor.
- Severe or persistent pain: If your abdominal pain is intense and continues for an extended period, it’s essential to seek medical attention. This level of pain may be indicative of a severe condition that requires immediate evaluation, and the sooner we can identify what’s going on, the better our ability to treat it effectively.
- New-onset pain: If you experience abdominal pain that is different from your usual discomfort — if it arises suddenly — it’s crucial to consult a doctor. Things don’t happen for no reason, and this change could be a sign of an underlying issue that requires further investigation.
- Associated symptoms: Pay close attention to additional symptoms that accompany your abdominal pain, because your gut sends signals to the rest of your body when something is amiss. These symptoms may include fever, unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel habits (such as diarrhea or constipation), blood in your stool, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. Having a full picture of what’s going on can help your gastrointestinal doctor diagnose your pain fully.
Why It’s Important to See a Doctor for Abdominal Pain
Celiac Disease: Get Diagnosed and Alleviate Other Symptoms
Conditions like Celiac Disease can present in a multitude of symptoms — many of which don’t pertain to your digestive system, but all start there. The damage that Celiac Disease can do is more than just upsetting your stomach when you eat gluten: Celiac Disease essentially attacks your immune system and can potentially cause long-term harm throughout your body.
Colon Cancer: Early Detection for a Better Outcome
As the second-leading cause of cancer deaths, colon cancer is a significant concern when it comes to abdominal pain — but it is the only one that is PREVENTABLE. That’s why it’s vital to get a colonoscopy by age 45 (or sooner if you have risk factors or family history): Colon cancer rarely has symptoms in its earliest stages. Early detection can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment, and even catch precancerous polyps before they grow into cancer. While not all abdominal pain is directly linked to colon cancer, being proactive about screening can save lives.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Treat Recurring Abdominal Pain
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract and includes conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which can cause abdominal pain. If you are experiencing recurrent or persistent abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea, rectal bleeding, or weight loss, it is crucial to consult a gastroenterologist for a proper evaluation. We can diagnose and treat IBD and get you on the path to feeling better.
Treating Other Abdominal Conditions
Abdominal pain is not normal and can stem from various causes, ranging from benign to potentially life-threatening conditions. It could mean diverticulitis, ulcers, appendicitis, or more. There’s no need to ignore or underestimate persistent or severe abdominal pain when consulting your gastrointestinal doctor can bring relief from symptoms and keep you healthy.
Contact a Gastrointestinal Doctor for Abdominal Pain
Consulting a gastroenterologist when you experience abdominal pain allows for a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause. Gastrointestinal Specialists, P.C. in Troy, Mich. possess the knowledge and expertise to conduct a thorough examination, perform necessary tests, and provide an accurate diagnosis to help you stay healthy and feel better.