When to Visit the ER for Abdominal Pain

Everyone experiences abdominal pain at one time or another. But how do you know if your pain, or that of a loved one, is severe enough that it requires an emergency department visit?

The short answer is, if your “gut” tells you that you need help right away, you should visit the emergency department. If you’re not sure whether emergency care is necessary, consider these guidelines.

If You Have These Symptoms, You May Require Emergency Care

If the pain is severe and unrelenting, your abdomen is tender to the touch or the pain radiates to your back, you should immediately visit the closest emergency department. If the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should also seek emergency care.

  • Fever
  • Vomiting blood
  • Dark, black stool
  • Unable to keep food down
  • Difficulty breathing or experiencing chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • A feeling of lightheadedness or that you might pass out 

If You Have These Medical Conditions, You May Require Emergency Care

For individuals with certain medical conditions, abdominal pain may reveal a more serious issue. If you have any of these medical conditions and are experiencing severe abdominal pain, you should visit an emergency department right away.

  • 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 experiencing upper abdominal pain (may indicate a heart attack)

HealthONE has 12 full-service emergency departments in the Denver metro area, so you’re certain to find an ER that is close to home and able to address your abdominal pain concerns. Our hospitals strive to beat the national average wait time, so you can get quick access to high-quality emergency medical care.

ERs in Metro Denver


View HealthONE Emergency Rooms in a larger map

Emergency Room Care / Denver ERs

The Medical Center of Aurora
Saddle Rock ER 
Centennial Medical Plaza
North Suburban Medical Center
North Suburban Northeast ER
North Suburban Northwest ER
Presbyterian / St. Luke's Medical Center
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at P/SL
Rose Medical Center
Sky Ridge Medical Center
Swedish Medical Center
Swedish Southwest ER