When Abdominal Pain Strikes

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Young woman sitting on the bed with pain

It’s hard to pinpoint and may even go away after a minute or two, but it is painful, making you very uncomfortable and concerning. What do you do?

Abdominal pain can be caused by many, many different reasons. It can be caused by an infection, inflammation, abnormal growths, and gastrointestinal disorders like gallstones or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)– and that’s just to name a few. To suffer from abdominal pain is unsettling, to say the least. Pain can come on quite suddenly and become intense. Aside from being unpleasant, some abdominal pain can also become an emergency.

“As physicians, our recommendation to patients with abdominal pain is never to wait and see,” says Dr. Rob Holland, Medical Director and Emergency Physician at The Colony ER Hospital. “Often times, abdominal pain can be caused by something easily treatable like indigestion, infection or constipation,” he explains. “But sometimes the underlying cause of the pain can be very serious and even life threatening. Seeking medical attention quickly when there’s severe and persistent pain is always the best thing to do.”

When Should You Go to the ER?

Seek immediate medical attention if you have severe pain combined with vomiting, pain that lasts more than a few hours or pain that continues to worsen. In children, seek immediate care for sharp pain combined with fever (over 100 degrees F) or lack of appetite. Women who are pregnant and experiencing abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding should also seek immediate medical attention.

What can you expect when you visit The Colony ER with abdominal pain?

First, you will be given a medical screening exam to assess your medical condition. Then, a physician will ask you questions about your medical history and when the pain began. During this time, it’s important to list any and all medications you’ve been taking and tell the physician. Then, the physician will perform a physical exam. They will likely press on the area of the abdomen to assess your pain level and where the pain is coming from. The next step will likely be testing. Tests can include blood work and CT Scans to see precisely where the pain is originating and what is causing it.

“Abdominal pain isn’t always cause for alarm, but severe, worsening pain is never something to ignore,” says Dr. Holland. “We all have an instinct for when something isn’t right with our bodies or when our children get sick and seem to be in distress. This is the time to tune into those instincts and see an emergency room physician.


Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on The Colony Emergency Room Hospital or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.