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- 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
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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 123. 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 23. Abdominal discomfort is often accompanied by fever, and this combination of pain and high temperature can be difficult to diagnose and treat 23.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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 23. 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 23.
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 23. 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 23.
The patient should consult a physician if fever higher than 100 degrees accompanies abdominal pain, or if he vomits blood 23. 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 23. 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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