It can be hard to stay on top of coronavirus signs and symptoms. They seem to be constantly evolving and adapting as scientists and doctors discover more about the virus. New data has suggested that the short answer is yes, lower abdominal pain can be a symptom of COVID-19.
What Causes Lower Abdominal Pain?
Lower abdominal pain can be caused by many things and does not necessarily indicate someone has COVID. It can be caused by many things, ranging in severity. Causes of lower abdominal pain can include being on one’s menstrual cycle, experiencing kidney stones, pulling a muscle, or having a hiatal hernia.
Lower Abdominal Pain and COVID-19
Gastrointestinal symptoms are not rare with COVID. A recent study showed that one in five people experienced gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Of those, 53% ended up needing to be hospitalized. However, this symptom was almost always accompanied by another symptom, such as a headache or confusion.
COVID related abdominal pains are a generalized pain. If you are experiencing localized stomach pain, it is unlikely that it is related to COVID. However, we still recommend going to a healthcare professional to ensure it isn’t something serious, such as a hiatal hernia or appendicitis. Causes of lower abdominal pain ranges from mild to severe, so it is important to rule out anything serious.
Is Lower Abdominal Pain Common with Coronavirus?
Short answer, no. Long answer, about one in five people experience abdominal pain over the course of their illness. This symptom was slightly more common in children ages 5-11, where about one in three reported it. About 20% of hospitalized COVID patients reported experiencing a gastrointestinal issue, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain alongside other symptoms. Roughly 5% show up with a gastrointestinal issue alone.
Less than 2% of people diagnosed with COVID reported abdominal pain as their only symptom.
What Symptoms Are Common Alongside Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain was present with many cases of coronavirus but were slightly more common in people needing to be hospitalized. In serious cases of COVID, lower abdominal pain was frequently accompanied by diarrhea and shortness of breath. This became associated with a higher risk of needing hospitalization, especially in older adults.
In milder cases, abdominal pain was often accompanied by a headache, fatigue, and a loss of taste and smell. It can also occur alongside a fever and sore throat.
What Should I Do If I Experience Lower Abdominal Pain and Suspect it May Be COVID Related?
Before you begin to get nervous, remember that lower abdominal pain can be caused by many things that are not serious, including trapped gas. This typically passes in a short amount of time, mostly in a few hours. If you determine you are experiencing these symptoms alongside other COVID symptoms, it’s important to act.
Ensure you self-isolate until you can see your doctor or get a COVID test done. Continue to self-isolate until you receive your COVID results. If your results are that you are COVID positive, make sure you monitor your health and keep others informed.
When to See a Doctor
It’s important to seek out medical attention if you begin to develop new problems breathing, inability to wake up and/or stay awake, confusion, persistent pain in the chest, new loss of taste, or if symptoms do not go away after one week. Doctors will be able to better determine what your symptoms best align with and will be able to administer proper tests.
At BASS Urgent Care, our team takes patients’ health seriously. If you are concerned about your symptoms, give us a call at (925) 378-4245 to set up an appointment and let one of our amazing staff members help you!