How to Describe Abdominal Pain to Your Doctor

You’re bent over, struggling to concentrate when sharp pains spread across your stomach. At other times, you may feel a dull ache. “Sharp” and “dull ache” may seem like general terms, but for us, they are clues to help us reach an accurate and timely diagnosis. 

How to describe abdominal pain to your doctor is crucial–it enables us to assist you and find solutions that enable us to tailor a healthcare plan for you. Because abdominal pain can signify several different—and sometimes serious—diseases, you shouldn’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us when you experience it. 

How To Describe Abdominal Pain to Your Doctor: Our Tips

We recognize that everyone experiences pain differently, and that’s why it’s so important to be able to tell us details. We’ll look at a few of the key elements you should know:

What Is the Location of Your Pain?

Pain may be focused in one area or “move around” your abdomen. Because there are so many vital organs located in your abdomen, where your pain is focused is a big indicator that will lead to an accurate diagnosis.

What Is the Intensity of Your Pain?

As we mentioned earlier, everyone experiences pain differently. Some may have a higher tolerance for discomfort than others. Many medical professionals use a pain scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means no pain and 10 the worst pain possible. 

While you should not overstate your pain, it’s crucial to be honest about it, and don’t try to “tough it out.”

How Long Have You Had Your Pain?

We know you may not have an exact date when your pain started, but if it’s been going on for days, weeks, or months, we need to know. As we mentioned earlier, you should not wait months to speak to one of our gastroenterologists in Raleigh about your abdominal pain. Failure to seek help in a timely manner can cause your situation to get seriously worse.

Does Anything Resolve Your Pain (or Make It Worse)?

Do you feel better when you lie down? Is the pain worse after you eat? Is it relieved when you go to the bathroom? Are you taking any over-the-counter pain relievers—and are these effective? 

These can help us determine if you have something like IBD or liver issues.

Also, provide us with a list of activities that make your pain worse or better. 

Having the answers to these questions will guide us in our search for solutions. 

You Can Use These Useful Words to Describe Your Pain

Often, how to describe abdominal pain to your doctor centers around using the right words. However, these can be difficult to remember when you’re in pain! For your convenience, we’ve provided a list of some useful words below:

  • Sharp
  • Stabbing
  • Dull
  • Throbbing
  • Aching
  • “Comes and goes”
  • Sore
  • Cramping
  • Shooting
  • Hot or burning

At RMG Gastroenterology, We Will Take Your Abdominal Pain Seriously

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Few things are more frustrating than seeing a physician who dismisses your pain or fails to listen to you. 

That’s why, at RMG Gastroenterology, we’ll always take time to listen to you, answer any questions, and help you determine the cause of your pain. We will always take your concerns seriously. See why we’ve been recognized for our Centers of Excellence and dedication to being partners in your care. 

With convenient locations throughout the Triangle and surrounding regions, we offer a combination of state-of-the-art care and convenience. Plus, we’re accepting new patients! Just complete this form to request an appointment. 


The information in this article and the other articles on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your healthcare provider.