When to visit the ER for abdominal pain
Whether it's causing you mild or severe discomfort, stomach pain can be both frustrating and worrisome. Because it can be a sign of a serious condition, it's important to note additional symptoms and determine if a visit to the emergency room is warranted.
If stomach pain comes on suddenly or is unusually intense and unrelenting, you should seek care right away. Visit an ER immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- A feeling of lightheadedness or that you might pass out
- Abdomen is tender to the touch
- Chest pain or difficulty breathing
- Dark, black stool
- Inability to keep food down
- Irregular heartbeat
- Radiating pain into your back
- Vomiting blood
For patients with certain medical conditions, abdominal pain can be an indication of a serious issue. If your medical history includes any of these conditions and you are having stomach pain, please seek care immediately:
- Individuals who have undergone gastric bypass surgery
- Individuals who have had a recent endoscopy or abdominal surgery
- Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant
- Individuals over 45 years old experiencing upper abdominal pain
Treating digestive health problems in Wichita
Gastroenterologists (also called GI doctors) at Wesley Healthcare focus on treating disorders and diseases within the digestive system. Whether you experience acid reflux or stomach pain, our gastroenterologists in Wichita can help restore your digestive health.
For more information about our gastroenterology services, please call (316) 962-3627.
Digestive health conditions we treat
Our GI services care for the entire gastrointestinal tract, including the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, rectum, colon, small and large intestines, stomach and esophagus. Our gastroenterologists treat a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions, including:
- Stomach pain
- Colon polyps
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Barrett's esophagus
- Gastrointestinal cancers, such as colorectal cancer
- Lactose intolerance
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
- Acid reflux
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Gallbladder disease
- Swallowing difficulty
Gastrointestinal tests and procedures
At Wesley Healthcare, we use a variety of procedures to diagnose GI conditions, such as:
- Colonoscopy: This procedure uses a scope to view the inside of the rectum and colon.
- Sigmoidoscopy: This test uses a scope to view the inside of the sigmoid colon and rectum.
- Upper GI series: An upper GI series uses X-ray technology to view the upper GI tract, such as the stomach and esophagus. You may be asked to drink a solution before the test to help the images be clearer.
- Lower GI series: A lower GI series uses X-ray imaging and barium contrast to view the lower GI tract, such as the large intestine.
Advanced GI surgery
If a GI diagnostic procedure shows a condition that requires surgical intervention, rest assured Wesley Healthcare offers full-service hospital amenities where you can receive comprehensive surgical care. Our Wichita-based surgeons use the latest surgical technologies, including robotic surgery, to perform surgeries of the gastrointestinal tract.
Robotic surgery offers numerous benefits to patients, such as less scarring, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery.
Our surgeons often use robotic surgery to treat and/or perform:
- Colorectal tumors
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)
- Appendectomy (appendix removal)
Our gastroenterologists understand a cancer diagnosis can be intimidating and confusing. However, if you are diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer, you can be confident that Wesley Healthcare offers the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care and treatments.
Our oncology program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC). Our team is with you every step of the way, through diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship.
Visit our colorectal cancer page to learn about colon cancer screenings.
Pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) care at Wesley Healthcare
At Wesley Children’s Hospital, children receive expert care from a multidisciplinary team of pediatricians, surgeons and medical professionals. Parents need to know about the digestive health problems that can impact children and adolescents, and see a doctor if these health issues persist.
To find a physician and schedule an appointment, call (316) 962-3627.
Digestive health problems in children
A pediatric gastroenterologist specializes in treating diseases and health conditions related to the digestive system and the gastrointestinal tract. Health issues that impact a child’s digestive system can include common ailments like stomach pain or diarrhea, along with more serious health problems like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and severe liver conditions.
With its medical and surgical team, Wesley Children’s Hospital treats a wide array of pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, including:
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Duodenal atresia
- Esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula
- Esophageal foreign bodies
- Food allergies
- Gall bladder disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)/heartburn
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Intestinal malrotation/volvulus
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Lactose intolerance
- Liver disease
- Poor weight gain/malnutrition
- Pyloric stenosis
- Short bowel syndrome
- Stomach and duodenal ulcers (peptic ulcers)
- Viruses, bacteria and intestinal parasites in the digestive tract
- Weight loss
When to see a doctor if your child is having digestive health issues
It’s not uncommon for a child to tell a parent that their stomach hurts. But when does a child’s stomach pain indicate something more serious? Here are some of the more common symptoms of digestive health problems in children, and when it’s time to consult your child’s doctor or pediatrician:
- Vomiting — Vomiting can indicate a viral infection, motion sickness, food poisoning or throwing up due to a kid feeling nervous or worried about something. Vomiting could also be a sign of certain serious diseases, like meningitis or appendicitis. Call your pediatrician if your child has recurrent vomiting, vomits up blood or bile, is unable to keep liquids down or is not acting normally.
- Stomach pain — Abdominal pain could indicate constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomach flu or stomach inflammation. Pain in the abdomen area could also be a sign of food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), appendicitis or pneumonia. Take your child to the doctor if stomach pain is severe, persists for more than a few days, is associated with weight loss or is keeping them from normal activity.
- Constipation and diarrhea — In children, constipation could be a sign of a low-fiber diet, lack of fluids in the body, IBS, diabetes or the stress of potty training. Consult a pediatrician if your child has blood in their stool, is vomiting and can’t tolerate liquids, has diarrhea with severe abdominal pain or has diarrhea after traveling outside the country.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) occurs when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus, which can cause heartburn. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this type of acid reflux can happen in children and teens occasionally, but does not necessarily mean that they have GERD. Up to 25 percent of children and teens have symptoms of GERD, but the disease is more common in adults. If left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious health conditions, including respiratory problems. Symptoms of GERD include bad breath, nausea, chest pain, painful swallowing, trouble breathing and vomiting. See a pediatrician if your child is displaying any of these symptoms.