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These Things May Be Causing Your Stomachache

  • Category: LiveSmart
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  • Written By: Baldwin

woman holding her stomach

If you have pain or other gut-related symptoms, this may be why.

Stomach pain is one of the most common forms of physical discomfort many of us experience – and it may be caused by a lot of different things. Sometimes a stomachache is caused by eating or drinking a specific food. Or it may result from taking certain medications or feeling nervous about an upcoming event. But there are times when stomach pain is not easily tied to a specific cause or event.

Not only are there many causes of stomach pain, but there are also a variety of symptoms you may experience. You may feel pain in your lower or upper abdomen. It may hurt in the middle or on the side. You may experience burning, aching or cramping. The discomfort may be mild or severe. It may also be acute or chronic. Additionally, you may have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, heartburn, gas, constipation or diarrhea.

So how are you supposed to know what's causing your discomfort?

It can be difficult to get to the source of stomach or gut problems. If the pain or discomfort goes away rather quickly, you usually don't have to worry about what caused the problem in the first place. But if symptoms are chronic, get worse or are severe in nature, getting to the bottom of what is causing your stomach to hurt can go a long way in finding relief.

Here are common reasons why your stomach may hurt:

  • Indigestion – You may have eaten too much or too quickly. Or you may have eaten foods that don't agree with you, such as spicy, fatty or greasy foods.
  • Food intolerances – You may have eaten a food that you are allergic to or you may have a food intolerance. Symptoms improve when you avoid the food.
  • Food poisoning – If you have eaten something tainted with bacteria, you may have food poisoning. This may cause minor discomfort or can be severe and require medical attention.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome – This chronic condition is very common and may cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation. Many people can control their symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes. In some cases, medication is needed.
  • Anxiety – Some people find they have gastrointestinal issues when they feel anxious. This is not unusual and often symptoms dissipate when the anxiety is brought under control.
  • Viruses – You may experience stomach issues if you have a virus, such as the stomach flu. Other viruses may also cause gastrointestinal issues in addition to symptoms such as fever, aches and respiratory problems.

Most of these causes of stomach pain result in symptoms that, although uncomfortable, are manageable and temporary. If you have more severe symptoms or experience no relief even after making dietary and lifestyle changes, see a doctor for a more in-depth evaluation and diagnosis. There are many other conditions that can cause abdominal pain and gastrointestinal issues. Some of them may be serious and require medical treatment.

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Date Last Reviewed: February 14, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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