PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – All of us suffer a stomachache at one time or another and in most cases it is from eating too much food or possibly fighting a stomach virus. But, when stomach pain gets severe, it is not something that should be ignored because in many cases it can be a surgical emergency.

One of the most dramatic examples is intestinal obstruction. This accounts for fifteen percent of all emergency room visits for abdominal pain. Complications can be severe — bowel ischemia, essentially death of some of the bowel and perforation or a rip in the GI tract.

Fortunately the death rate has gone down since the development of sophisticated tests but if you don’t get seen by a doctor, bad things can happen very fast.

The signs and symptoms are what you might expect: nausea, vomiting, severe cramping, abdominal pain and a failure to pass gas or have bowel movements. Of course there have been medical textbooks written about all of the causes of abdominal pain and this is just one. The best thing to do is get examined by a physician.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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