abdominal pain#belly ache#stomach ache,

Stomach aches are a type of pain which is mostly felt in the upper part of the belly (the solar plexus), which also extends to the tummy, characterized by a feeling of constriction, which can alter in severity as time progresses.

There are numerous causes of such pain, but some of the most common causes are:


Flatulence is an increase in trapped gas in the digestive system. With the increase of such gases in the stomach and gut, they cause the belly to inflate, and pain in the stomach and belly. While eating and drinking we also swallow air, and air is produced during digestion.

For a variety of causes, the balance between factors that participate in digestion is disrupted, and thus the patient suffers from a bloated, inflated feeling, and stomach and belly pain.

The patient is recommended to take medication in order to release the trapped gas through the mouth (burping) or the anus, or to drink plant-based teas.


  1. The patient is recommended to exact a change in diet, for one avoiding foods which make them more gassy.
  2. They are also recommended to eat slower, often (several times a day), albeit in smaller portions.
  3. An increase in physical activity.
  4. To utilize medication which aid in the elimination of excess gasses (with active carbon).


Indigestion is a term used by patients and doctors alike, related to a variety of symptoms related to the intake of food.

At times, the same term could something different when the patient is using it, which is why the doctor often asks :

  1. Do you have a bloated belly, feelings of constriction or pain?
  2. Do you often burp, heartburn or pass wind?
  3. Do you feel nauseous or have you vomited?
  4. Do you lack apetite? Etc.

These are all questions which relate to the same condition, dyspepsia (disruption in digestion).

What is dyspepsia?

When we consume food, the stomach produces liquids which aid in the digestion of food (peptic acid, for one). When too much of this acid is being produced, this causes an irritation of the stomach, gut and esophagus.

Stomach and tummy pain could be caused by:

  1. Taking certain medication (for example, nitrates for heart conditions, etc)
  2. Pregnancy (during pregnancies there is a change in the hormonal balance.
    Furthermore the anatomy of internal organs changes drastically, and the additional pressure of the fetus, causes the mother’s organs to work differently.)
  3. Stress and anxiety can also cause a disruption in digestion.
  4. Hiatal hernia (is a type of hernia in which abdominal organs (typically the stomach) slips through the diaphragm into the middle compartment of the chest.)
  5. Helicobacter pylori (one of the main causative agents of stomach ulcer.)
  6. Gastro-esophageal reflux ( stomach contents come back up into the esophagus resulting in either symptoms or complications.)
  7. When the pain is not severe, the patient may self-medicate with readily available over the counter medicine and the symptoms may disappear.
    However, if the patient experiences difficulty in swallowing, abrupt loss in weight, frequent vomiting or a bloody vomit, or if the patient is experiencing pain and is above 50 years of age, they should refer themselves to a physician.


Constipation is an inability to defecate, inability to excrete the fecal matter in the colon in a timely and regular manner. A normal individual defecates once every 24 hours, without constriction or pain.

Constipation could be caused by:

  1. Insufficient consumption of fiber in one’s diet, from vegetables and seeds.
  2. Due a disruption in meal consumption during the day.
  3. Lack of physical activity (movement).
  4. Due to the patient ignoring their need to defecate (most common in children. This is why parents are encouraged to train their children to defecate by themselves.)
  5. Inadequate hydration (2-3 liters of liquids a day intake is recommended.)
  6. Anxiety and depression.

Patients are recommended to

  • exact changes in lifestyle
  • a change in diet
  • liquid intake
  • daily exercise
  • and of course the prescription of laxative medication

Another causative agent of tummy ache is gastroenteritis (viral or bacterial), which could come as a consequence of consuming stale, or rotten food. (Food poisoning) In these cases, the patient feels fatigue, defecates frequently, could have a fever, vomits, experiences headache, and of course belly pain.

In these cases it is recommended to use medication for suppression of vomiting such as metoclopramide, and upon successful suppression, compensation for the dehydration by plentiful drinking.

Paracetamol may be prescribed to lower the fever and belly ache.


It is recommended to consume non-fibrous foods, such as rice, pasta, bread and soup. It is also recommended to consume medication targeted toward restoring the bacterial flora of the stomach, or medication against diarrhea.

In conclusion, the aforementioned are some of the causes of tummy pain, which can spread to several areas in the belly, can last for various amounts of time to varying degrees of pain. They can be easily manageable, or more severe.

Types of pain

Intermittent abdominal aches

Intermittent abdominal aches, are a type of pain which could arise and then subside, and then arise once again and so on. The pain could be localized in one area of the tummy or be felt in various parts, be more severe or light.

The pain could be experienced in periods of alleviation and sudden severe recurrence, in which case they usually require medication in order to subside again.

Causes of intermittent abdominal aches

Intermittent abdominal aches can be caused by

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn disease
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Acute gastritis
  • Chronic gastritis
  • Esophageal reflux
  • Kidney stones (or stones in the urinary tract)
  • menstrual pain etc.

For each of these conditions, the appropriate medication can be acquired upon visitation by a physician.

Sudden abdominal aches

Sudden abdominal aches which can occur while the patient is otherwise perfectly healthy. These aches could immediately begin at high levels of pain, or they can start light and develop in severity.

These types of pain cannot usually be alleviated by common pain medication (paracetamol), and these types of abdominal pains are often accompanied by other symptoms depending on the specific disease that is causing them.

Causes of sudden abdominal aches

Sudden abdominal aches can be caused by the following diseases:

In these cases, the patient should immediately refer to a doctor or hospital to receive the appropriate medical care.

Abdominal pain with flare ups and remissions is used to describe pain in severe diseases of the organs in the abdominal cavity.

These types of diseases are said to be in remission, following treatment via surgery or heavy medication. When the disease begins to reappear once again, all of the symptoms flare up again, including abdominal pain.

Diseases which can cause such types of pain include lymphomas, various cancers of the abdominal organs (gut, stomach liver etc), which based on the medication and treatment that the patient receives, could disappear and flare up again, or disappear completely after some time.

Pain which is concentrated in the Solar Plexus (above the tummy) could be provenient from:

  • The stomach
  • The duodenum
  • The gallbladder
  • The pancreas

Pain and inflammation of the gallbladder is localized:

  • In the upper right square of the belly and at the very top of the shoulder.

Pancreatic pain is localized:

  • In the upper left square of the belly and on the back.

Pain around the navel:

  • Is related to diseases of the small intestine.

Pain underneath the navel:

  • Related to the appendicitis, the large intestine (colon), or the pelvic organs (genitals).
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 17 Jan 2017