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What’s Causing My Abdominal Pain and Chills?

Overview

Abdominal pain is pain that originates between the chest and the pelvis. Abdominal pain can be cramp-like, achy, dull, or sharp. It is often called stomachache.

Chills cause you to shake or shiver as if you’re very cold. Shivering is one way the body protects itself from cold. It causes the muscles to flex and extend as a way of warming them up. You may feel cold when you have the chills or you may shiver without feeling cold. Chills are often associated with fevers.

What causes abdominal pain and chills?

Together, chills and abdominal pain may be the result of a number of infectious conditions, both bacterial and viral.

Conditions associated with abdominal pain and chills include:

In rare instances, abdominal pain and chills are the result of a heart attack. In this case, other symptoms are usually present.

When to seek medical help

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms along with abdominal pain and chills:

  • changes in vision
  • chest pain
  • fever greater than 101˚F (38.3˚C)
  • neck stiffness
  • severe headache
  • loss of consciousness
  • pain that radiates to your shoulder
  • shortness of breath
  • uncontrolled vomiting
  • weakness

Consult your doctor if you experience any these symptoms along with:

  • body aches
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • unexplained fatigue
  • vomiting for more than 24 hours

This information is a summary. Seek medical attention if you suspect you need urgent care.

How are abdominal pain and chills treated?

Treatments for abdominal pain and chills will usually address the underlying causes. Bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, are often treated with antibiotics.

Home care

Rest and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Sponge your body with lukewarm water (about 70˚F) or take a cool shower to manage your chills. This method can be more effective than covering yourself with blankets. However, very cold water may make chills worse.

Medications known to reduce fevers and discomfort associated with abdominal pain and chills include aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen.

How can I prevent abdominal pain and chills?

Washing your hands frequently, especially before eating, can help prevent infectious diseases that lead to abdominal pain and chills.

Drinking plenty of fluids and wiping from front to back can help to prevent urinary tract infections that can lead to abdominal pain and chills.

If you are going outdoors or traveling to areas where malaria is common, using insect repellants that contain 20 to 35 percent DEET can help to prevent malaria. A doctor can prescribe antimalarial drugs as a protective means if you are traveling to an area where malaria is common. 

31 Possible Causes of Abdominal Pain and Chills

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