Back to Blog

Most Common Causes of Stomach Pain

July 1, 2022

The causes of stomach Aches & Pain

Most people will experience stomach or abdominal pain sometime in their lives. It is one of the most common reasons why people go to the emergency room, accounting for about 5% of emergency visits

Many things can cause stomach pain, including digestion issues, injuries, infections, or disease. But it’s important to understand that the discomfort you feel is not necessarily an indication of how serious the cause. Some temporary conditions can be intense, and some life-threatening ones may feel mild.

The most common causes of stomach pain

Most stomach or abdominal pain is the result of a temporary condition and is not serious. This kind of pain stems from a digestion issue, menstruation, or a passing virus. For example:

  • Digestion issues, including indigestion, gas, constipation, diarrhea, food allergies, and food poisoning, are all extremely common causes of stomach pain. In most cases, the discomfort will go away within a few hours or a few days
  • Inflammation caused by an irritation or infection. Common causes of inflammation include stomach flu, peptic ulcers, or a urinary tract infection
  • Menstruation sometimes causes stomach pain if the woman experiences menstrual cramps or ovulation-related pain

Common diseases can cause chronic stomach pain

Digestive system diseases can cause chronic stomach discomfort. The most common digestive conditions are:

  • Chronic acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This occurs when stomach acid or bile flows into and irritates the food pipe. If you experience acid reflux and heartburn more than twice a week, you should discuss it with your doctor.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is also known as a spastic colon. This disorder causes abdominal pain, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract. It can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and fatigue.
  • Lactose intolerance caused by the deficiency of an enzyme called lactase. It may produce abdominal cramps, bloating, and diarrhea.

More serious conditions may cause acute pain

If your pain is severe and sudden, it may be a more serious condition, like a ruptured appendix, gallstones, kidney stones, or a kidney infection.

What should I do if I have stomach pain?

Mild abdominal pain often goes away without treatment. But some pain should be treated by a doctor.

Call 911 if your pain is severe and the result of an accident or injury, or if you feel pressure or pain in your chest. You should also seek immediate care if the pain is so intense that you can’t sit still, have bloody stool, have a fever of more than 101 degrees, are vomiting a lot, your skin or eyes are turning yellow, or you find that it’s difficult to breathe.

You should visit a doctor if your stomach pain lasts longer than 24 hours, you have been constipated for several days, it burns when you urinate, you’ve lost your appetite, you’re experiencing unexplained weight loss, or you have stomach pain if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Get the care you need

There are many causes of stomach pain. If your pain is persistent, discuss the problem with your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, Grady can help. If you need a primary care physician, call us at (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.

Woman in Pain as Featured Image for Most Common Causes of Stomach Pain


Related articles