When to Worry About Belly Pain

Date Created: 03/06/2021

T shirt and torso

At some point, everyone experiences a stomachache. Whether it’s from eating too much food, or coming down with a stomach bug, we’ve all found ourselves clutching our bellies.


But how do you know if you have a harmless stomachache or something more serious?

When is a stomachache not an emergency?

While most stomachaches are uncomfortable, they are sometimes nothing to worry about. Your belly pain may be caused by:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Overeating
  • Stomach flu

When is a stomachache an emergency?

In serious cases, stomach pain can get worse or become constant. The pain could be because of an issue that needs to be treated immediately.

Rather than waiting out the pain or trying to self-medicate, come to a GuideWell Emergency Doctors facility so we can diagnose you and help put you on the path to feeling better.

Come see our Board-Certified Emergency Medicine Doctors if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Pain accompanied by a fever over 101°F
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Very sharp, severe and sudden pain
  • Pain in the chest, neck or shoulder
  • Consistent nausea and/or vomiting
  • Extremely tender-to-the-touch and swollen belly
  • Constipation, especially if you’re also vomiting

Trust your gut!

If you have a stomachache for more than two hours, please don’t hesitate to come see us — walk-ins are welcome, or you can make an appointment online.

Should you or a loved one experience extended stomach pain, our medical teams are trained to treat patients of all ages. We’re open 7 days a week and provide services similar to what you would receive in an ER, but at an average of 1/2 the time1 and 1/3 the cost2.

If you are having a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room.

1 Cost is based on health plan actuarial analysis performed in 2016 that compared cost of hospital-based ER visit versus a GuideWell Emergency Doctors visit.
2 American College of Emergency Physicians
Source: https://share.upmc.com/2014/06/when-to-seek-care-for-stomaches/