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Don't Ignore Tough or Long-Term Stomach Pain

It could point to serious underlying health trouble, experts say

SATURDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- While the occasional stomachache isn't a serious health issue, persistent or severe stomach pain is another matter that could signal serious trouble, says the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG).

People with the following symptoms need to see a doctor:

  • steady, severe pain or regularly recurring pain;
  • pain lasting for hours or days;
  • pain that wakes you from sleep;
  • pain that impairs your ability to work or perform routine activities;
  • loss of weight or appetite.

Immediate medical attention is required if abdominal pain is accompanied by:

  • fever;
  • diarrhea;
  • persistent constipation;
  • blood in the stool;
  • change in the color of urine;
  • persistent nausea or vomiting;
  • vomiting blood;
  • severe tenderness of the belly;
  • jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin or whites of the eyes);
  • swelling of the abdomen.

The ACG also recommends that people see a doctor if they are regularly taking any medicines that can cause ulcers, such as aspirin or other medications commonly used to treat arthritis or headaches.

More information

The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about abdominal pain.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American College of Gastroenterology, news release, September 2007

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