14 August, 2017
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At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Emergency Department Visits for Chest Pain and Abdominal Pain: United States, 1999-2008
- MedlinePlus: Abdominal pain
- MayoClinic.com: Abdominal pain
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Abdominal Pain & Fever
Chest pain and abdominal pain are the most common reasons patients seek help in emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. The CDC also states the number of abdominal pain complaints not related to injury is on the rise in emergency rooms across the United States. Abdominal discomfort is often accompanied by fever, and this combination of pain and high temperature can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
There are several organs in the abdomen that can cause pain, and the presence of a fever may be indicative of an infection or inflammation. Many diseases can cause abdominal pain with fever, including appendicitis, gall bladder problems and infection. Abdominal pain and fever can be as insignificant as the stomach flu that can be treated at home, or these symptoms may indicate a serious condition that needs medical attention.
Patients should avoid eating solid food for the first few hours to give the stomach a break and drink fluids to avoid dehydration caused by fever. The patient should rest to boost the immune system. MedlinePlus suggests the patient should avoid taking pain relievers until a physician determines the abdominal pain is not due to liver problems. Food intake and activity should be slowly increased as tolerated.
Treatment in the hospital will involve diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain with fever, maintaining hydration through the use of intravenous fluids along with antibiotics to reduce fever-causing infection.
The patient should consult a physician if fever higher than 100 degrees accompanies abdominal pain, or if he vomits blood. Chest pain, difficulty breathing, a rigid belly or pain that does not go away on its own in 24 to 48 hours or is worsening may be signs of life-threatening medical conditions that need immediate attention.
Location of Pain
The Mayo Clinic states that most of the time it is difficult to determine the exact cause of abdominal pain. To help determine what organs might be involved, doctors will often refer to the abdomen as having four sections: upper left and right quadrants and the lower left and right quadrants. Pinpointing the pain to one of these quadrants helps narrow down which organs may be involved. For example, upper right quadrant with fever may indicate gallstones while lower right quadrant pain could be appendicitis. However, pain in one area of the body may be caused by dysfunction of an organ in another part of the body. Generalized pain, or discomfort not specific to only one part of the abdomen, and fever may be due to stomach flu.
Vital signs, including measuring body temperature, will be taken and a detailed medical history should be noted. A doctor will perform a thorough medical examination and order laboratory blood work and x-rays to diagnose the problem. Further testing, like CAT scans, MRIs or endoscopy, may be performed to help the physician visualize the internal organs.
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