Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"I have a sudden terrible abdominal pain. Why?"

ZocdocAnswersI have a sudden terrible abdominal pain. Why?


I woke up this morning and went to the bathroom. Instantly I received unimaginable sudden abdominal pain. I am still in the fetal position, and this was fifteen minutes ago. I am unsure if my appendix burst or if something else happened. It goes from hip to hip. Please help.


Sudden, terrible abdominal pain that has you curled up in the fetal position sounds like an emergency, and as such it is strongly advised that you go to the emergency room for further evaluation immediately. Without further details about your symptoms, it is hard to comment further on the specific causes that may be responsible for your pain. Appendicitis, as you mentioned, is a possibility of central or lower abdominal pain, and a ruptured appendix can present as a sudden-onset severe pain. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) or part of the intestine (diverticulitis or colitis) can also present with sudden-onset pain, as can any twisting of the intestine upon itself (called a volvulus). If you are a woman of child-bearing age, ectopic pregnancy is something to be considered, especially if you are experiencing any vaginal bleeding or are known to be pregnant or suspect recent pregnancy. Twisting of the ovary (called ovarian torsion) can also present with lower abdominal pain, threatening blood supply to the organ. In the emergency room, your doctors can take a detailed history and perform a physical exam to help make this diagnosis. They may do imaging (such as ultrasound or CT scan) to get a look inside your abdomen to rule out emergencies, and blood work can also be helpful in this circumstance.

Need more info?

See an obgyn today

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.