ER or Not? Severe Stomach Pain.

Abdominal pain is the single most common reason that Americans visit the ER. Stomach pain is something almost everyone experiences from time to time and can occur for different reasons, with varying degrees of severity. So when is your pain severe enough to warrant a visit to an emergency room?

Listen to your “gut”. If the pain is abnormally intense and feels as though you need help right away, see a doctor immediately. Here some general guidelines to help you decide whether or not your stomach pain needs emergency care.

Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Stomach is tender to the touch
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Unable to eat without nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in your chest, neck or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath or dizziness
  • High fever
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dark or black stool
  • Vomiting blood

If you’re in doubt, it’s a good idea to come to the Emergency Room. And Johnston-Willis Hospital can help. Just look at the top of this page to see our average ER wait times.

You can also call one of our nurses, who’s standing by, ready to answer your questions.

Call our nurses at (804) 320-DOCS (3627)

Appendicitis is an especially sensitive emergency. An inflamed appendix can rupture (burst), causing severe infection and even death. If you experience the following symptoms, be sure to seek medical treatment immediately.

  • Pain or aching in the right side of the abdomen, sometimes accompanied with swelling
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low fever that starts after pain begins

Those with certain medical conditions may require emergency care more quickly.

Stomach and abdominal pain may be an indication of a more serious issue for individuals with certain medical conditions. If you have any of these medical conditions in combination with severe abdominal pain, you should visit an emergency department immediately:

  • Individuals who recently had endoscopy or abdominal surgery
  • Women who are pregnant or who could be pregnant
  • Individuals over age 45 experiencing upper abdominal pain or tightness in the chest (may indicate a heart attack)
  • Individuals who have undergone gastric bypass surgery