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When to See a Specialist About Abdominal Pain

When to See a Specialist About Abdominal Pain

Occasional stomach aches are common occurrences, and you can usually handle them with rest, antacids, or a bowel movement. But when severe stomach pain hits, your world stops, and you start wondering who you should call for answers.

If you live in or around Cypress or Katy, Texas, the solution is clear — call Dr. Ayub Hussein at Northside Gastroenterology Associates. He has more than two decades as a board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist, and he specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of abdominal issues

Unless you’re a doctor, it may be hard to know when to care for yourself at home and when to call a specialist, so Dr. Hussein has put together these guidelines to help you evaluate your symptoms and make the call when it’s warranted. 

Severe abdominal pain

Severe pain in any part of your body is cause for concern and always warrants a call to a medical professional. If you’re experiencing severe abdominal pain, it could be a sign of a serious medical condition, so don’t hesitate to call us right away. 

On its own, severe abdominal pain is reason enough to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hussein, but if it’s accompanied by any of the following symptoms, we urge you to come in as soon as possible.

Bloody stools

If you see blood in the toilet after a bowel movement or on the tissue after wiping, it’s time to see Dr. Hussein. Bloody stools aren’t normal, and they could be a sign of hemorrhoids, swollen blood vessel in your anal area that sometimes bleed. Or it could indicate peptic ulcers, which are sores in your stomach lining; inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); or colon cancer

Dr. Hussein can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to find out what’s causing the bleeding and begin a comprehensive treatment plan.

Constipation and/or diarrhea

If you have stomach pain and constipation, you may be dealing with any one of several medical conditions, including IBD or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, or bowel obstruction. 

Constipation and abdominal pain also go hand in hand with diabetes, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, mental health issues, and brain and spinal cord injuries. 

Severe abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea may indicate IBS, IBD, infection, stress, excess alcohol consumption, or indigestion. 

Abdominal swelling

When your stomach swells with gas or air, it stands to reason you’ll feel some discomfort as well, but when the pain is severe, it could indicate something more serious than common indigestion or acid reflux. This combo of symptoms appear together in the following conditions:

This is just a sample of the long list of possible related conditions. Dr. Hussein can narrow down the potential causes and help you get to the bottom of your abdominal pain and swelling. 


Stomach pain and nausea are classic signs of gastroenteritis, commonly called the stomach flu. You get it from another infected person or from eating something contaminated, and it often leads to watery diarrhea and vomiting as well. 

Vomiting might also signal a gastrointestinal infection, peptic ulcers, food poisoning, or a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. If you see blood in your vomit, seek emergency care immediately. 


Fever is a sign of viral or bacterial infection, so it’s important to come see Dr. Hussein as soon as possible. Stomach pain and fever could point to:

Fever is your body’s way of fighting off the infection, but if it persists, it could lead to dehydration, increased heart rate, and rapid breathing. Prolonged high fever can cause organ malfunction and failure.

How we treat abdominal pain

Abdominal pain alone is difficult to diagnose, since your abdomen covers a lot of your anatomy from your chest to your pelvis including several organs. Dr. Hussein gathers detailed information about all your symptoms, when they began, when they get worse, and what relieves them to determine which tests to run.

As results come in, he rules out certain conditions and narrows down the possible culprits. Once he identifies your condition, he recommends a treatment plan to resolve the underlying issue if possible and alleviate your symptoms. Your treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes, or even surgery. 

To find out what’s causing your abdominal pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hussein. You can book online or call us at either of our two locations in Katy and Cypress, Texas. 

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