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The Joint Commission


Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain can occur for many reasons, with widely varying degrees of severity. Severe pain can indicate several different conditions, from constipation to appendicitis, and should not be ignored. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms, especially if you are pregnant (or think you might be), have recently had abdominal surgery, or have a history of diverticulitis:

  • Stomach tender to touch
  • Fever over 101 degrees
  • Stools that contain blood or mucus, or are black and tarry
  • Blood in the urine
  • Vomiting blood
  • Pain that also spreads to or starts in the back or groin
  • Lower abdominal pain during urination

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. Also, if your child complains of a stomach ache, be sure to watch for these symptoms and seek medical care immediately.

  • Pain 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


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