Abdominal pain is the most common complaint for patients presenting to Emergency Rooms in the US. Obviously, abdominal pain can be caused by a vast array of conditions, ranging from minor ailments, such as indigestion or gas, to more serious conditions, such as appendicitis or even a bowel obstruction.
In the past, Urgent Cares have been hampered in diagnosing and treating abdominal pain since there have been limited diagnostic and treatment capabilities in traditional UCs. At ContinuEM, however, we offer a new care paradigm that is able to more correctly evaluate, diagnose, and treat a vast array of the causes of abdominal pain.
The first step in evaluating abdominal pain is to obtain a thorough medical history from the patient. This includes questions about the location, duration, and severity of the pain, as well as any associated symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or changes in bowel habits. The patient’s answers will help the healthcare provider to narrow down the possible causes of the pain. Fever and diarrhea can point to a more infectious cause whereas pain and vomiting could reflect an obstruction. The location of pain is also critical to review as pain from the gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys and ovaries may cause pain in different locations.
Based on the medical history, the healthcare provider will then perform a physical examination of the abdomen. This will include palpation of the abdomen to identify any areas of tenderness, swelling, or rigidity, as well as auscultation of the abdomen to detect any abnormal sounds, such as bowel sounds or pulsatile aortic sounds.
In addition to the physical examination, the provider may order additional tests to help diagnose the cause of the abdominal pain. This testing is one of the diagnostic capabilities that sets ContinuEM apart as there is a full array of lab tests available in our expanded urgent care model. We have the lab right on site! With a full lab, we are able to do blood tests that examine liver function, kidney function, pancreatic enzymes and much more.
Often times, even after a thorough history, physical exam and lab tests, the diagnosis is still not clear, and the provider may recommend imaging. In the past, this is the branch point when patients have been sent from an Urgent Care to the Emergency Room. At ContinuEM, however, we can continue with the work-up an array of imaging. Certain modalities are better at examining different parts of the abdomen. For instance, ultrasound can best visualize the gallbladder and check for the existence of gallstones. X-rays can look for foreign bodies or even perforations (which is when there is a hole through an intestine or the stomach)/ CT scans without IV contrast has the nest sensitivity in picking up kidney stones. And even MRIs can be used in some circumstances looking at possible duct obstructions.
Obviously, treatment can be as diverse as the underlying causes. But there are many causes of abdominal pain that can be treated within our comprehensive urgent care. For example, if the abdominal pain is due to an infection, the provider may prescribe antibiotics. One common infectious cause of abdominal pain is diverticulitis. This process may require a prolonged treatment with multiple antibiotics. If the pain is due to acid reflux, the provider may recommend lifestyle changes such as avoiding acidic foods and beverages, or they may prescribe medication to reduce stomach acid production. No matter the cause, we will help you and your loved ones on the path to getting better as quickly as possible.
Our goal is to provide urgent medical care to anyone in the area in their time of need at a cost that is right for them.Insurance & Pricing
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May 29, 2023
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6430 South Street, Lakewood, CA 90713(562) 731-3990