Some types of abdominal pain need treatment by a doctor. You should consider seeing your doctor if:
- the pain is severe and getting worse
- you are losing weight
- you are bleeding from the bowel
- you have difficulty swallowing
- you are vomiting repeatedly.
If you have sudden, agonising pain in your belly, seek medical help immediately by either calling your doctor, going to your nearest emergency department or call an ambulance on triple zero (000). It may be a sign of a serious illness that requires urgent treatment.
You may need to have some tests to help work out what is causing the pain. The tests you may have depends on what sort of pain you have, and how long you have had it, but the most common ones include:
- blood tests
- X-rays or CT scans
- ultrasound, in which a probe like a microphone is moved over your abdomen
- endoscopy, in which a long tube is put either down your mouth or up your backside, so a doctor can see what your stomach and bowel look like.
The treatment recommended will depend on the cause and severity of the pain, and how long you have had it. But it may include following a particular diet, getting more exercise, taking medicines or having surgery.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your abdominal pain, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Last reviewed: July 2015