Abdominal Pain: Urgent Care or ER?

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Abdominal Pain: Urgent Care or ER?

Urgent Care or ER for Abdominal Pain

You may not be sure if you need to go to urgent care or the emergency room (ER) if you are experiencing abdominal discomfort and pain. If your symptoms are severe, unusual, or related to another condition, such as pregnancy, then checking in with medical professionals is a good idea.

Emergency rooms and urgent care centers offer care for potentially serious medical conditions, but they are not the same. How do you know if you should choose going to urgent care or the ER?

Signs Your Stomach Pain May Be Serious

Certain types of pain and symptoms could mean your abdominal discomfort is more than a stomachache. You should seek medical care if you have any of these symptoms in addition to pain:

  • An abdomen that is tender to the touch or swollen.
  • Pain with a high fever or prolonged vomiting.
  • Bloody stools.
  • A yellowish tone to your skin.
  • New bruising on your abdomen.
  • Recent trauma to your abdomen, like from a car accident or punch.

While many of these symptoms could be severe, you may be able to go to an urgent care center for medical attention, especially if you do not have any other underlying conditions.

When You Should Go to the ER for Abdominal Pain

If you have abdominal pain, it could be a problem urgent care can solve. But there are some cases when going to the emergency room is crucial. You should go to the ER if you have abdominal pain and:

  • You are pregnant.
  • You had a gastric bypass, a bowel resection or a colostomy.
  • You recently had a gastrointestinal procedure.
  • Your abdomen quickly becomes hard or expands in size.
  • You are vomiting or coughing up blood or have bloody diarrhea. 
  • You also have chest pain or pressure, which is a sign of a heart attack.
    • Your abdominal pain moves from your navel toward the right side, which is a sign of appendicitis.

Because these symptoms could mean you have a severe problem, urgent care may not be fast enough, or you may not have the right tools to diagnose or treat your condition.

If you rate your abdominal pain at nine or ten on a scale of one to 10, even if you don’t have other symptoms, it is a good idea to go to the ER. Tell the medical staff if you have eaten, taken medication or have a history of abdominal pain.

What Is Causing Your Abdominal Pain

There are many significant organs in the abdominal area. As a result, there are a variety of conditions that can develop, including:

Get Immediate Treatment at OU Health ER & Urgent Care

At OU Health ER & Urgent Care, you'll find both ER and urgent care services under one roof. When you're not sure if you need emergency care or urgent care, you don't need to decide. Just walk into an OU Health ER & Urgent Care location near you for the appropriate level of care. Our combined emergency room and urgent care facilities come fully equipped to handle everything from abdominal pain, allergies, colds, flu, sprains, cuts and scrapes to chest pain, appendicitis, complex fractures and more. An onsite laboratory, X-ray, ultrasound and CT scanning ensure you receive prompt, accurate diagnosis and the right level of care.

Walk in any time for OU Health emergency room services 24/7 or urgent care every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.