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Last reviewed: 11.04.2020

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Stomach pain can be severe or weak, depending on the disease that causes it. It is very important to understand the nature of stomach pain, in time to get the necessary help from a doctor.

If you have a stomach ache, first of all it is necessary to characterize its intensity, nature and localization of pain. This will help in making the correct diagnosis and prescribing an adequate and effective treatment.

The pain in the stomach can be of a different nature: burning in the stomach, aching, gnawing, dull, sharp pain in the stomach, pulling, cramping, cutting, often accompanied by spasms of the stomach.

Pain in the stomach and its connection with food intake is very important in the topical diagnosis of the pathological process.

When stomach ulcer often "hungry pain", disappearing after a meal. Stomach pains an hour or two hours after a meal can cause spasmodic contraction of the intestine.

The pain in the stomach that woke you up in the middle of the night deserves attention. Night pain in the stomach, may indicate, first of all, a stomach ulcer. Such pains in the stomach can occur with functional disorders of the stomach, including various indigestion and dyspepsia.

Often, pain in the stomach is accompanied by other symptoms: heartburn, nausea, vomiting, belching, bad breath, bloating, a violation of the chair - constipation or diarrhea.

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Causes of stomach pain

When the doctor will diagnose, he will try to find out the causes of pain in the stomach, to make the correct diagnosis. Stomach pain may be associated with:

  • Wrong food intake (big breaks in its reception)
  • Overeating
  • Substandard food
  • Stress
  • Increased physical activity
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases
  • Internal injuries

If stomach pain occurs immediately after eating, it may indicate chronic gastritis. If the pain occurs immediately after eating and lasts an hour and a half - this can be a sign of a stomach ulcer. If the pain occurs after an hour and a half - it may be peptic ulcer ulcer (pylorus).

If pain occurs mostly at night, accompanied by a feeling of hunger, it can be caused by a duodenal ulcer or stomach ulcer. Or the cause may be duodenitis.


Diseases causing stomach pain

Let's take a closer look at the diseases that can cause stomach pain.

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Gastritis can be of several types, namely:

  • Bacterial (due to pathogenic bacteria)
  • Stressful (due to stress)
  • Erosion due to erosion
  • Fungal (due to invasion of fungi or viruses)
  • Atrophic (caused by atrophy - thinning - of the gastric mucosa or inflammation of this organ)
  • Eosinophilic (due to allergies)

trusted-source[9], [10], [11], [12], [13]

What causes gastritis?

Gastritis can be caused by irritation with alcohol, chronic vomiting, stress, or the use of drugs such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. It can also be caused by any of these reasons:

  1. Helicobacter pylori (H.): a bacterium that lives in the lining of the stomach. Without treatment, the infection can lead to an ulcer, and in some cases to stomach cancer.
  2. Gastric anemia: a disease in which the stomach lacks the natural substances necessary for proper absorption and absorption of vitamin B12.
  3. Gastric reflux: a reverse flow of bile into the stomach from the biliary tract (to the irritation due to which the liver and gallbladder are connected.
  4. Infections caused by bacteria and viruses.

If gastritis is not treated, it can lead to serious blood loss and may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.

What are the symptoms of gastritis?

The symptoms of gastritis vary depending on the particular organism; many people do not have any symptoms until the exacerbation of the disease. However, the most common symptoms are:

  • Nausea or recurrent indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Burning or sensation of pain in the stomach between meals or at night
  • Honey
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting blood

Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer begins due to failures in the division of the cells that make up the tissue. Tissues form organs.

As a rule, cells grow and divide, forming new ones, the body needs them. When cells age, they die, and new cells take their place.

Sometimes this process goes wrong, new cells are formed when the body does not need them at all, and old or damaged cells do not die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms polyps or tumors.

A tumor in the stomach can be benign (not cancer) and malignant (cancer). Benign tumors are not nearly as harmful as malignant tumors.


Benign tumors:

  • rarely bear a threat to life
  • can be removed and usually do not build up again
  • do not penetrate the tissue around
  • do not apply to other parts of the body

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Malignant tumors:

  • can be life threatening
  • often cancers can be removed, but sometimes grow again
  • can grow and damage neighboring organs and tissues
  • can spread to other parts of the body

Stomach cancer usually begins its development in the cells of the inner layer of the stomach. Over time, the cancer can invade the deeper layers of the stomach wall. A tumor of the stomach may begin to grow through the outer layer of the stomach into neighboring organs, such as the liver, pancreas, esophagus or intestines.

Stomach cancer cells can spread, detaching from the original tumor. They affect the blood vessels or lymphatic vessels, which branch out into all tissues of the body. Cancer cells can spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen. They can also spread to other tissues and grow, forming new tumors that can damage these tissues. The spread of these cells is called metastasis.

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Symptoms of stomach cancer

Early gastric cancer often causes no symptoms. As cancer cells grow, the most common symptoms are:

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Discomfort or pain in the stomach

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling of fullness or bloating even after scanty meals
  • Vomiting of blood or blood in the stool

These symptoms may not be cancer related. Other health problems, such as an ulcer or infection, can cause the same symptoms. Anyone who has noticed these symptoms, especially stomach pain, should tell their doctor about them, since these problems require diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.

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Peptic ulcer and duodenal ulcer

Peptic ulcer, also known as gastric ulcer, is localized in the gastric mucosa, leading to abdominal pain, and bleeding and other gastrointestinal symptoms are also possible. The most common cause of stomach ulcers is gastric infection associated with the bacterium pylori Helicobacter (H pylori). It can spread through contaminated food and water. Many people become infected with H. Pylori at a young age, but the symptoms often occur in adulthood.

In some people, H. Pylori can cause infections in the gastric mucosa, which can lead to a stomach ulcer. Damage to the stomach lining due to stomach acid increases the likelihood that H. Pylori infection can lead to a stomach ulcer. Other risk factors for gastric ulcer include alcohol and tobacco use, as well as long-term use of medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Severe stomach disease may also be associated with the development of a stomach ulcer.

Symptoms of gastric ulcer may be permanent or sporadic, and the course of the disease is not the same in different people. If H.pylori really causes stomach problems, the symptoms will not stop until the infection is treated. Some people who have a stomach ulcer suffer asymptomatic, while others may experience burning pain, severe nausea and vomiting.

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Stomach polyps

Gastric polyps are abnormal growths on the gastric mucosa. They are rare, usually attached to the upper gastrointestinal tract. They are usually detected during endoscopy. As an additional method of examination, biopsy is usually performed. Then the doctor determines that it is a hyperplastic polyp or adenoma.

Hyperplastic polyps are the most common form of gastric polyps. They can occur individually or in groups and are most commonly found in the lower part of the stomach, called the gastric cavity. Hyperplastic stomach polyps are smooth, round growths on the leg that grow on the gastric mucosa. They often develop in the presence of chronic inflammation, for example, in the case of gastritis or H. Pylori infections. Treatment, if necessary, may include medications for the treatment of inflammation or infection; consolation is that hyperplastic polyps rarely become malignant.

If you have stomach polyps, you may experience:

  • Abdominal pain or tenderness to palpation of the abdomen
  • Bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting

Gastric polyps are formed in response to inflammation or other damage to the gastric mucosa.

Adenomas of the stomach can be formed from glandular cells found on the inner mucosa of the stomach. Its cells develop as a result of an error in the DNA. These changes make cells vulnerable and they can become cancerous. Although adenomas are a less common type of gastric polyp, they can cause stomach cancer.

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Causes of stomach pain can be other diseases. For example:

  • Constipation.
  • Food indigestion.
  • The tension of the abdominal muscles.
  • Injuries to the stomach and other internal organs.
  • Overwork.
  • Strong stress.
  • Allergy.
  • Inflammation of the appendix.
  • Infections.
  • Fears, phobias.

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Who to contact?

How to diagnose stomach pain?

To determine the exact diagnosis, it is important to take into account the intensity of pain in the stomach. Mild stomach pain often indicates gastritis.

With moderate pain in the stomach, doctors usually do not seek medical advice, which leads to the progression of the disease and the occurrence of complications. Rarely, mild stomach pains may indicate an ulcer or cancer.

Anguish in the stomach can be a life-threatening symptom or a sign of ulceration of other organs, located next to the stomach.

Dagger pain in the stomach is a very dangerous surgical condition. These pains may indicate perforation of gastric ulcers, as a result of which the contents of the stomach enter the abdominal cavity.

If you have a sharp and sharp pain in the stomach, you urgently need to contact a gastroenterologist.

What hurts the stomach If you have a stomach ache (pain in the epigastric region), you first need to think about gastritis. Gastritis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach, which is most often found not only in adults, but also in children.

Severe pain in the stomach may indicate poisoning or chemical burns caused by the ingestion of poor-quality food or chemical active substances such as acids or alkalis.

Other organs that are located nearby or involved in the pathological process, such as the gallbladder, pancreas, heart, pleura, small intestine, can provoke pain in the stomach.

Do not put aside the pain in the stomach without attention and self-medicate, taking painkillers. Since the pain in the stomach can indicate serious diseases of the digestive system, and the lack of timely medical intervention will lead to the progression of the disease, which can lead to bleeding and cancer of the stomach.

You need to consult a doctor if pain in the stomach occurs regularly, lasts for several hours or days, you experience loss of appetite and weight loss.

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Intensity of stomach pain

Each disease gives its own kind of pain. For example, in chronic gastritis, stomach pain can range from barely perceptible to severe. And with a stomach ulcer, the pain can be so powerful that a person cannot tolerate it. Duodenitis or duodenal ulcer may be accompanied by the most intense and sharp pain in the stomach. If you feel that the pain is constantly worsening, you need to consult a doctor. Otherwise, if you endure to the last, a person can die from a painful shock. An example of such a disease may be a perforated ulcer.

It is important to know that the intensity of gastric pain can significantly decrease if a person has had a stomach operation. Then he may not feel pain even with aggravation of the ulcer.


The nature of pain in the stomach

It can vary depending on the type of disease and the complications that are caused by this pain. For example, burning pain describes gastritis or an ulcer, and dull aching pain may be a symptom of chronic gastritis or stomach ulcers in the initial stage. Sometimes a stomach ulcer or duodenal ulcer may be accompanied by severe pain, similar to spasms.

If the middle of the stomach hurts, this may indicate chronic gastritis with low acidity. If the pain increases dramatically, it means that the person may have colitis, cholecystitis or pancreatitis. If the pain is cutting, acute, arising suddenly, then the diagnosis can be detected cholecystitis or pancreatitis, as well as duodenal ulcer.

If the pain is very sharp, dagger, which cannot be tolerated, they may indicate an ulcer perforation.

Who should I contact if my stomach hurts?

If you have pain in your stomach, you can contact an oncologist, a gastroenterologist, a surgeon, a therapist.

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