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Acute Abdominal Pain


Acute abdominal pain starts suddenly, gets worse quickly, and lasts up to 3 days.



  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Self care:

Ask your healthcare provider if you need to change what you eat. He may tell you to avoid foods that can cause gas and pain. Some examples are cabbage, grapes, and milk. Pain medicine may make it hard for you to have a bowel movement. Foods high in fiber can make it easier. Some examples are beans, vegetables, and high-fiber cereals.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have new or worse signs and symptoms.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You are sweating and have cool, clammy, pale skin.

  • You feel dizzy or like you are going to faint.

  • You have dark bowel movements, or you vomit blood.

  • You have a hard abdomen, or you are not able to pass gas.

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen that does not go away after you take medicine.

  • You have a very fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, and fast, shallow breathing.

  • You are thirsty and cold, your eyes and mouth feel dry, and you urinate little or nothing.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.