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Aches in the belly are something everyone on the planet gets at least twice in a lifetime. In other words, abdominal pain is really common and is usually caused by our eating habits. Sometimes women may experience unpleasant sensations in the tummy with period cramping too.
In most cases, stomach aches will go away on their own, even without any specific treatment.
But sometimes a belly ache can signal a serious medical condition or even a medical emergency. So it is important to know when to see a doctor if you have abdominal pain.
When you should seek medical advice
The following signs indicate a possible emergency:
The pain is severe, sudden and sharp
You are short of breath
Your belly is extremely tender in the region of pain
Significant abdominal distention
The pain extends above the abdomen
The pain is colicky - occurs in waves
You are pregnant
You have been diagnosed with cancer
You’ve had a recent injury
See (or at least call) your healthcare provider if you have any of these signs:
The pain persists for more than a day or two
The stomachache becomes more severe after the first day
Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea that persists for more than a day or two
Prolonged poor appetite or weight loss
Persistent vaginal bleeding
Burning with urination
Pain that, while mild and self-limiting, recurs frequently
Inability to keep food down for several days
If you have any of the symptoms that might suggest a serious problem, don’t put it off and seek medical advice.