Tummy aches are a fairly common phenomenon.
They start at infancy, and people suffer with them throughout their lives. Everything from improperly cooked food to the flu can cause intestinal discomfort, so how can you know when you should go see the doctor?
The basic upset stomach that comes from eating something that disagrees with you won't last super long. If you suffer from one of the 10 signs below, though, you may want to seek medical help to confirm you aren't experiencing anything more than an upset stomach.
1. Waves of cramps. WebMD says that cramps that start as a mild nuisance and grow in intensity could be a sign of intestinal blockage. If you suffer from waves of intestinal cramps for several hours, seek medical attention.
2. Sudden, sharp pain. According to UPMC, you should be concerned and seek medical attention if you start experiencing "very sharp, severe, and sudden" abdominal pain.
3. Additional pain. If you experience stomach pain along with chest pain, shoulder pain or neck pain, seek immediate attention. UPMC says that this could be a sign of something serious.
4. Upper belly pain. Constant pain in your upper belly area that lasts for more than 30 minutes may be a sign of gallstones, according to Medicinenet. You should see a doctor to have this properly diagnosed.
5. Severe upper abdominal and back. Medicinenet also says that severe pain in the upper abdominal region and upper back could be a sign of pancreatitis and should be checked out by a physician.
6. Belly button to lower right. Appendicitis is caused by an infection in the appendix that causes inflammation. Appendicitis can generally be recognized by pain that starts in the belly button region and then travels to the lower right of the abdomen. A trip to the emergency room is in order if appendicitis is suspected.
7. Stiff, hard, tender-to-touch abs. According to UPMC, if your abdominal region is "stiff, hard, and tender to the touch," you should seek medical attention as it could be a sign of something serious happening.
8. Worsening pain in one region. If you have a stomach ache that suddenly gets worse, WebMD says to seek medical attention as it could be a sign of appendicitis, gallstones or an ulcer.
9. Blood in stool or vomit. Whenever you see blood in your stool or vomit, seeing the doctor is in order as it may be the sign of something serious, says UPMC.
10. Vomiting without bowel movement. Stomach pains that are accompanied by a lack of bowel movement and vomiting require a visit to the doctor. If you can't get in right away, heading to the ER may be in order, according to UPMC.
Although stomach aches are common and most of them mean nothing, when you're dealing with your health, you shouldn't take unnecessary chances. If you're suffering from one of the above symptoms, seek a proper diagnosis from your doctor.