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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Brenner Children’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location. Learn more

In order to help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s outpatient or inpatient facilities, except in certain situations.
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More COVID-19 Updates

Why Do Doctors Press on Your Stomach During a Checkup?

Why Do Doctors Press on Your Stomach During a Checkup?

I was wondering, why do doctors push on your stomach during a checkup or if you complain of abdominal pain?
- Ty*

Pressing on your stomach is a way to find out if the size of your internal organs is normal, to check if anything hurts, and to feel if anything unusual is going on.

Looking, listening, and feeling are all part of a physical exam. Doctors use all three to check that everything's normal or to evaluate a health condition. For example, doctors use sight to diagnose conditions like acne or pinkeye. They'll listen to a person's heartbeat to be sure it sounds normal. And they'll use touch to investigate areas that aren't visible to the naked eye, like bones or internal organs.

During a checkup, don't hesitate to ask your doctor questions if you're curious about why something's being done. Your doc is there to help, and answering questions is part of that!

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.