My stomach hurts: when should I worry?

It is not uncommon for people to have a stomach ache, whether from bowel problems, severe pain, or overeating. These symptoms may be harmless, but in some cases a doctor’s visit may be necessary.

But when to turn to a health care practitioner? In the UK newspaper The Independent, Genevieve Edwards, CEO of the Bowel Cancer UK (BCUK) and Dr. Babak Ashrafi, GP at the Superdrug Online Doctor, listed 5 symptoms requiring consultation.

Here is a list of symptoms that require medical attention, according to two experts

If you have a stomachache, some symptoms are not to be taken lightly. If you suffer from it, specialists recommend to consult a doctor.

A feeling of bloating

One stomach-related disorder that requires a doctor’s evaluation is a feeling of fullness that develops over days to weeks. “Symptoms of bloating in the gut are gurgling in the digestive tract and sometimes pain of tension in the belly, as well as flatulence,” recalls the Vidal site. These may be irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerance, or in women, ovarian disease.

Increased sensitivity in the abdomen

Another stomach-related symptom requiring medical attention is sensory. If you cannot touch your stomach without severe pain, this may be a sign of internal inflammation. ‘As with any stomach ache, if you have severe or persistent pain, you should seek medical attention, as abdominal tenderness may be the result of appendicitis or abdominal abscess,’ Dr. Ashrafi says in The Independent.

A change when you have a bowel movement

One of the symptoms of a stomachache that may require medical attention is noticing changes when you go to the toilet. Genevieve Edwards described in The Independent: ‘This can be looser stools, more frequent stools or constipation that does not go away. It can also be a feeling of not having finished emptying your intestines.’

Development of hardness in the stomach

Severe stomach pain combined with abdominal tenderness or hardness may require consultation with a healthcare professional. According to Dr. Ashrafi, this may be a sign of appendicitis. “It usually starts with a pain in the middle of your belly that can quickly spread and become more and more severe,” he says in The Independent’s columns. These pains may be accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation.

Development of a lump in the stomach

Finally, persistent stomach pain and a lump in the stomach may require a doctor’s consultation, as this may be a sign of stomach cancer. “So it’s important to talk to your doctor about this to quickly rule out the possibility of this disease,” says Genevieve Edwards in The Independent.

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