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Should You Go to an Urgent Care or ER for Abdominal Pain?

Should You Go to an Urgent Care or ER for Abdominal Pain?

Everyone experiences abdominal pain at some point, but some situations are more serious. Abdominal pain can result from various causes, including something affecting your stomach, kidneys, intestines, or other organs. So, how do you know when the pain is severe enough to require immediate medical care? And if it is urgent, should you visit an urgent care center or the emergency room?

When You Need Medical Attention for Abdominal Pain

Before exploring when to visit urgent care versus the emergency room, you must understand when abdominal pain requires immediate medical attention. In any of the following situations, you should head to either urgent care or the ER immediately:

Get medical attention immediately if your abdominal pain:

  • Worsens quickly
  • Appears suddenly and is severe, particularly on the lower right side of your abdomen
  • Suddenly appears in the lower abdomen (if you are a woman)

If you have any of these additional symptoms, you should visit either urgent care or the ER:

  • Black or bloody stools
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea or watery, loose stools
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Severe pain after consuming a fatty meal
  • Rash
  • Pulsing or radiating near the naval

When to Visit an Urgent Care vs. the ER

The most significant consideration when determining whether to visit an urgent care or the ER is your condition's severity. If you think the abdominal pain is life-threatening or accompanied by any potentially life-threatening symptoms, go to the emergency room. If you do not believe your condition is critical, visit an urgent care center instead.

Visit the ER If It Is Debilitating

If your abdominal pain is severe or debilitating enough to prevent you from standing up, you should consider visiting the ER over urgent care.

If the Pain Follows a Recent Surgery, Visit the ER

If you recently had surgery or another medical procedure and experience abdominal pain afterward, it is wise to go to the ER. In the case of minor symptoms, you may still be able to visit an urgent care first. However, don't be surprised if they send you to the ER.

Visit the ER If You Have These Symptoms in Addition to the Pain

For most people, the most significant indication that their abdominal pain requires a trip to the ER instead of an urgent care center is the additional symptoms. If you experience any of the following, visit the emergency room immediately:

  • Abdominal issues with bleeding while pregnant
  • Vomiting blood or passing black or bloody stool
  • Fever above 102 degrees
  • Shortness of breath or chest tightness
  • Uncontrollable vomiting plus chest pain
  • Abdominal pain that is sudden, severe and concentrated and accompanied by losing consciousness

When Urgent Care Is Probably Enough

If your abdominal pain is moderate to mild and you don't believe the cause is serious, an urgent care center should be equipped to treat you. For example, you should visit urgent care if you think your abdominal pain is due to the following:

  • Menstrual cramps
  • IBS
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Acid reflux
  • Gas
  • Constipation

Receive Prompt Treatment for Abdominal Pain at Bayhealth Total Care’s Emergency and Urgent Care Center

Bayhealth Total Care’s Emergency and Urgent Care Center

At Bayhealth Total Care’s Emergency and Urgent Care Center, our primary goal is to provide the residents of Sussex County with exceptional service and the proper billing for the care they need. Our combined emergency room and urgent care in Milton is fully equipped to handle everything from allergies to chest pain 24/7 with on-site labs, x-ray, ultrasound and CT.

Every patient at our ER and urgent care walk-in clinic is seen by an ER-trained physician at every visit, regardless of the level of care they need. Our approach makes care more affordable by avoiding the higher cost of the emergency room if patients only require urgent care services. Our ER and urgent care clinic is open 24/7.

Bayhealth Total Care’s Emergency and Urgent Care Center is located at 18383 Hudson Road, Milton, DE 19968.