3 Important Signs Your Abdominal Pain May Be Serious!

Written by: Jessica Guht Medically reviewed by: Amy Dougherty, FNP-BC, AGAC
Jessica Guht
Categorized as Health
Created on:
Jessica Guht
Categorized as Health

Many people experience abdominal pain throughout their lives. This is usually nothing to worry about, and it typically goes away after a short period of time. However, there are some instances where abdominal pain should not be ignored.

In this article, we will go through three important signs that your abdominal pain may be serious. If you are experiencing abdominal pain, and find yourself in any of these categories, you need to take action and see a doctor. In some cases, you may need to go to a hospital. 

Table of Contents

3 Signs Your Abdominal Pain May Be Serious

The three most concerning types of pain are persistent pain, stabbing pain, and sudden pain. All can be caused by different things and therefore likely to have a different course of action to be remedied. 

A Persistent Pain

This can refer to a type of pain that you might not be unfamiliar with but continues for longer than usual. Some kinds of pain are easy to understand, while others can be more difficult, and both can come into play with persistent pain. 

At first, you may not think that you need medical attention. However, there are some health conditions that will result in persistent pain along with other symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and unwanted weight loss. 

Symptoms like constipation or diarrhea along with bloating and persistent cramps may be a sign of IBS. In a case like this, IBS is connected to stress and anxiety levels in daily life and can be managed with a good diet and stress management techniques. However, you should still go to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis, as it could be something else, too. 

Crohn’s disease typically has symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, and stomach pain, caused by inflammation of the digestive system. While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, it can be managed by adjusting your diet, taking the correct medications, and potentially surgery. 

In both cases, you should visit your healthcare provider at the earliest opportunity. Doing so can get you on the right path to getting your pain reduced and treating whatever is causing your problems. 

Stabbing Pain

If you are unfamiliar with stabbing pain, this sensation involves a very sudden and intense influx of pain – what you could imagine if you were to be stabbed. This kind of sudden and awful pain can be indicative of a number of potential concerns, depending on where it is. 

A pain like this between your rib cage in your upper abdomen could suggest that there is a heart issue. However, something like indigestion could also cause pain like this. Indigestion is not typically very serious, but if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath, the issue could be serious. If you have experienced this kind of pain, especially more than once, you should get in touch with a doctor. 

Kidney stones could also be a cause of abdominal pain. In order to determine this, however, you will need to get a CT scan or ultrasound done. If you experience additional symptoms like fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting, get to a doctor as soon as you can.

Sudden Pain

Finally, sudden pain that isn’t necessarily stabbing pain can be serious. Unfortunately, there are lots of reasons why you might feel abdominal pain suddenly, and a handful of them will need immediate intervention. 

Appendicitis could be a cause. For this, you would feel a sudden pain in your lower right stomach which might start near the navel. Additional symptoms of appendicitis include constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you feel like this is a possibility, it is crucial for you to get to a medical professional as soon as possible, as this can be deadly. 

If you have ovaries and experience lower abdominal pain on either side of your abdomen, it is possible to have a ruptured ovarian cyst. Ovarian issues may be caused by hormonal fluctuations, constipation, pregnancy, sex, and a variety of other factors. 

In extreme cases with ovarian cysts, surgery will be needed. This can be extremely painful, and have lifelong effects that no one should have to deal with. 

When Should You Seek Help?

While you might not want to feel like you are overreacting, gambling with your life is never a good idea. Any kind of pain, whether it is urgent or not, can become a serious problem if given enough time. There are issues that need to be dealt with immediately, such as appendicitis. If you do not get the proper treatment for such things, you are putting your life at risk.

You know your body. If the pain you are experiencing doesn’t feel ‘normal’ to you, then you should take action. We all know the feeling when we ate too much, or are experiencing cramps, so make sure that you are in tune with your body. 

Whether you experience persistent pain, cramping, stabbing, or sudden pain, they could all be cause for a trip to the doctor. Urgent care might be required, depending on the type of pain, as it could indicate serious and life-threatening issues. 

Do the smart thing and seek help if it doesn’t feel right. Doing this could easily save your life, or someone else’s.   

How Can DrHouse Help You?

At DrHouse, we are dedicated to providing quality medical advice and care. If you have any concerns regarding abdominal pain, whether it is persistent or sudden, our team of licensed professionals can help you get the answers you need.

With our telehealth app, you can start on-demand video consultations with a board-certified online doctor from the comfort of your own home. Our doctors can help diagnose what is causing your pain, provide you with a personalized treatment plan, and even prescribe medication if necessary.

Key Takeaways

Abdominal pain is common, and there are hundreds of causes for it. Whether you ate too much, or you ate the wrong thing, the options are unlimited. However, it is important to know when your abdominal pain isn’t the usual. 

If you experience abdominal pain that doesn’t feel right, is very sudden, or persists for too long, get hold of a medical professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry with your life, and you should take steps to ensure your well-being. 


Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information click here.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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