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Abdominal Pain: After Your Visit

Your Care Instructions

Picture of the four quadrants of the abdomen

Abdominal pain has many possible causes. Some aren't serious and get better on their own in a few days. Others need more testing and treatment. If your pain continues or gets worse, you need to be rechecked and may need more tests to find out what is wrong. You may need surgery to correct the problem.

Don't ignore new symptoms, such as fever, nausea and vomiting, urination problems, pain that gets worse, and dizziness. These may be signs of a more serious problem.

Your doctor may have recommended a follow-up visit in the next 8 to 12 hours. If you are not getting better, you may need more tests or treatment.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Rest until you feel better.
  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. Choose water and other caffeine-free clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • If your stomach is upset, eat mild foods, such as rice, dry toast or crackers, bananas, and applesauce. Try eating several small meals instead of two or three large ones.
  • Wait until 48 hours after all symptoms have gone away before you have spicy foods, alcohol, and drinks that contain caffeine.
  • Do not eat foods that are high in fat.
  • Avoid anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). These can cause stomach upset. Talk to your doctor if you take daily aspirin for another health problem.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You pass maroon or very bloody stools.
  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • You have new, severe belly pain.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your pain gets worse, especially if it becomes focused in one area of your belly.
  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • Your stools are black and look like tar, or they have streaks of blood.
  • You have unexpected vaginal bleeding.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These may include:
    • Pain when you urinate.
    • Urinating more often than usual.
    • Blood in your urine.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You are not getting better after 1 day (24 hours).

Last Revised: April 23, 2012

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Care instructions adapted under license by Kaiser Permanente. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.


The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.

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