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Should You Go to an Urgent Care Center or an Emergency Room for Abdominal Pain?

  • Category: Symptoms
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Jay Woody
Should You Go to an Urgent Care Center or an Emergency Room for Abdominal Pain?

It’s rather obvious that you’ve had some stomach pain or discomfort at one time or another. Abdominal or stomach pain denotes any discomfort in your body, which occurs between your pelvis and the chest. Most abdominal pains are mild, and they’re caused by various problems, which include muscle strain, indigestion, or food allergies.

In mild cases, symptoms often resolve on their own after a short while or after effective treatment. Common abdominal issue causes include:

  • Gastroenteritisstomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S),
  • Acid Reflux
  • Food allergies
  • Vomiting
  • Gastritis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (G.E.R.D)
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Peptic or stomach ulcers
  • Strained muscles
  • Celiac disease
  • Endometriosis or menstrual cramps
  • Bladder or Urinary Tract Infections

On the other hand, abdominal issues accompanied by chronic or severe symptoms may be an indicator of a serious underlying condition. For instance, abdominal pain resulting from appendicitis, organ failure, or advanced cancer may require emergency care. The less common abdominal issue causes, which often warrant emergency care, include a ruptured appendix, hepatitis, food poisoning, hiatal hernia, invasive cysts, bowel, pancreatic, or stomach cancer, gall bladder stones, kidney infections, abdominal organ infarction, and cardiac problems such as congestive heart failure or atypical angina.

What to Consider When You Have Abdominal Pain

Urgent care centers are often open to handle non-specialized care even outside of the normal working hours. Their care is affordable and you can walk in and out within an hour without booking an appointment. They also accept a number of different insurance policies.

On the other hand, emergency rooms are meant to handle life-threatening health conditions. Therefore, unless you have a life-threatening condition, it’s always prudent to visit an urgent care center to avoid taking up space in an emergency room where a patient in a critical condition may need medical help.

So, When Does Your Abdominal Pain Warrant an ER Visit?

1. Location and severity of your abdominal issues

If your stomach pain is debilitating or severe to the point that you cannot stand up, then it may be wise to visit an ER instead of an urgent care center.

2. Serious recent procedures or diagnoses

Some abdominal issues causes may result from recent abdominal medical procedures such as surgery to the appendix or severe medical conditions such as a ruptured appendix, cancer, cardiac conditions, or organ failure. For instance, if you experience abdominal pain after a recent surgery, then constipation or infections may be the immediate problem. But the severity of the symptoms that you experience will determine whether you should visit the ER.

If you experience abdominal discomfort and you’ve undergone the following procedures or diagnoses, then it may be prudent to promptly visit the ER instead of going to an urgent care clinic.

  • Recent surgery in the abdomen
  • Upper abdominal pain and chest tightness, especially if you’re over 45 years old
  • If you have a history of cardiac problems such as stroke and heart attacks
  • If you’ve undergone a recent gastric bypass surgery
  • If you’ve undergone a recent upper endoscopy or colonoscopy

3. Abdominal pain accompanied by additional serious symptoms

If you find these serious symptoms accompanying your abdominal pain experience, then it’s ideal to visit an emergency room instead of an urgent care center:

  • Abdominal issues and bleeding while expectant
  • Severe pain with a fever above 102°F
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by the passing of bloody or black stool or the vomiting of blood
  • Chest tightness and/or shortness of breath
  • Concentrated, sudden, and severe abdominal pain accompanied by the loss of consciousness
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by uncontrollable vomiting and chest pain

If you’re experiencing moderate to mild pain resulting from non-serious abdominal pain causes then you can visit an urgent care center. This will be ideal if you’re not experiencing any accompanying serious symptoms. Non-serious abdominal pain causes, in this case, may include menstrual cramps, constipation, gas, acid reflux, gastroenteritis, and I.B.S among others.

Legacy ER & Urgent Care Has Several Locations

Legacy ER & Urgent Care is here to meet your medical care needs by providing affordable pricing and quality care. As part of Intuitive Health’s innovative hybrid model ER and urgent care system, patients are only billed for the level of care they receive by professional and highly trained medical staff. With a total of six centered located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, emergent and non-emergent care are accessible and transparent, focusing on superb customer service.

Legacy ER & Urgent Care has six convenient locations in the DFW area:

  • Allen – Legacy ER & Urgent Care is located at 1310 W. Exchange Pkwy Allen, TX 75013, and may be reached at 972-526-5819.
  • Coppell – Legacy ER & Urgent Care is located at 330 S Denton Tap Rd Coppell, TX 75019 and maybe reached at 469-702-9917.
  • Frisco East: Legacy ER & Urgent Care is located at 16151 Eldorado Pkwy Frisco, TX 75035 and may be reached at 972-526-7009.
  • Frisco West: Legacy ER & Urgent Care is located at 9205 Legacy Dr. Frisco, TX 75033 and may be reached at 972-526-7020.
  • McKinney – Legacy ER & Urgent Care is located at 2810 Hardin Blvd McKinney, TX 75072, and may be reached at 972-573-6688.
  • North Richland Hills: Legacy ER & Urgent Care is located at 8950 N. Tarrant Pkwy North Richland Hills, TX 76182 and may be reached at 817-663-1247.

Woman with stomach pain