First Aid Guide for Illness & Emergencies
Abdominal or Belly Pain
Step 1 ask these questions:
- Location of the pain: Is it all over the belly or always in one spot?
- Type of pain: Does it feel dull, sharp, crampy, steady, or like pressure?
- Movement of pain from one place to another: Does the pain move to the back, chest, groin, right side, or left side?
- Time: When did the pain start?
- Intensity of pain: Is it mild or moderate pain or the worst pain you have felt?
- Temperature: Is there a fever?
- What: Anything that makes the pain better or worse? For example, food, sitting to standing, medications, lying still versus moving about, or having a bowel movement?
- Communicate: Then call your doctor and describe the pain.
Step 2 for only mild pain:
- Try sips of clear fluids (water, broth, fruit juice with half water) and gentle foods (saltine crackers, dry toast, rice, and applesauce).
Step 3 for pain that is worsening or severe:
- Do not eat or drink, and do not take any medications. Avoid laxatives and enemas.
Step 4 seek emergency medical help or call 911 for the following symptoms:
- Severe pain or pain that is quickly getting much worse.
- A swollen or hard abdomen/belly, groin, or testicle.
- Pain with a light touch on the abdomen.
- Bending over and holding abdomen/belly. (Diagram 12)
- Blood in bowel movements/stools or urine/pee.
- Suspect a poison was swallowed.
- Injury directly to the abdomen/belly, like a car accident or a fall.
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that will not stop.
- Abdominal/belly pain with a fever.