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When it comes to stomach pain, there are a lot of possible causes that need to be ruled out. I will cover some of the most urgent problems that you cannot delay treatment for. 

The first and most obvious life-threatening condition that could be associated with stomach pain would be having a heart attack. Even though the most likely symptoms of a heart attack would be chest pain that travels to your left arm and jaw, the same nerves responsible for this radiating pain can lead to pain traveling to your stomach as well. Any time a doctor hears of a patient presenting to the ER with stomach pain, an EKG test checking the electrical activity is mandatory to make sure that the pain is not from a cardiac origin. 

The next possible cause of severe abdominal pain can also be linked to ischemia. This would be in the form of an abdominal aorta aneurysm. This is also a life-threatening event and it is something that many doctors may forget on their first inspection. Patients who are at most risk for this would be patients over the age of 60 with a long-term history of cigarette smoking. Having hypertension can also help weaken the aorta as it travels in your stomach so there is the possibility of a rupture. An ultrasound test will be needed as soon as possible in order to make sure that an aneurysm has not occurred or if a trip to the operating room is your best chance for survival. 

Another potential cause of abdominal pain can come from the stomach itself. Gastric and peptic ulcers are a very common occurrence in the general population. The mechanism for both of these diseases is similar. Gastric acid is secreted too excessively and gradually begins to wear a hole in the lining of your stomach or your duodenum. In a developed country, the most likely cause of this could be from excessive alcohol consumption or the use of painkillers. In the developing world, the cause is usually from a bacterial infection called H. pylori. It is a very easy pathogen to ingest. If you travel anywhere abroad, the risk of this infection increases exponentially. You can treat these conditions easily by stopping the offending agent like alcohol or painkillers and let the lining naturally heal on its own. Medications can also be taken in the form of PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) in order to block acid production to give your stomach a chance to further heal. 

The last most likely cause of unexplained stomach pain could be from GERD. Gastric reflux disease is a very common type of disease in modern society. It occurs when the digestive acids of the stomach travel backward into the esophagus. This can lead to very dull and bothersome pain around your stomach area. Risk factors for this would be the diet you eat as well as obesity. Eating well before you lie down for bed and making sure you avoid certain foods would be the best way to prevent this disease. [1]

No matter what the cause, the most important thing with unexplained stomach pain is to go to the ER to let doctors decide what is the next best step. You may need a referral to a cardiologist or a gastrologist so make sure you do not delay your treatment. 

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