What is Stomach ache and abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain has many causes. It can be a result of a simple ailment, such as gastroenteritis. It can also be a sign of a more serious issue, such as appendicitis.

A full understanding of the cause of your abdominal pain is essential for proper treatment.

Stomach ache

Stomach pain is the most common type of abdominal pain. It can occur at any time, including when you are asleep.

The pain can be mild or severe. It may be continuous or crampy, and it can be felt in the upper, middle, or lower abdomen.

Stomach pain is typically felt on one side of the abdomen.

The location of the pain may affect which organs are affected. For example, a pain in the lower abdomen may be caused by an inflamed appendix.

Stomach pain can also cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.

Abdominal pain is often described as a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing pain. It can be constant or intermittent.

Some people describe stomach pain as a burning sensation or a sharp pain.

Stomach pain may be felt in the middle of the abdomen or in the lower abdomen. It may also be felt in the upper abdomen.

Stomach pain can also be felt on one or both sides of the abdomen.

What can cause stomach ache?

There are many potential causes of stomach ache. Some of the most common causes of stomach ache include:


Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. It is caused by an infection of the intestines.

It is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

Viruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis. Bacteria can also cause gastroenteritis.

Common symptoms of gastroenteritis include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite


Appendicitis is a medical emergency. It is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment.

Appendicitis is a swelling and inflammation of the appendix. It causes pain in the abdomen. The pain can be severe, and it can extend into the lower back.

Treatment for appendicitis may include:

  • Appendectomy, a surgical procedure that removes the appendix
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids for hydration
  • Pain medication
  • Antibiotics
  • Removal of the appendix, if it is infected


Medications can sometimes cause abdominal pain by causing nausea or vomiting. However, they are not the most common cause of stomach pain.

Some common medications that can cause stomach pain include:

  • Pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants

Other causes of stomach ache

Other potential causes of stomach ache include:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Heartburn
  • A blockage in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Constipation

Is stomach ache a sign of a serious condition?

Causes of stomach ache are common and can often be treated with over-the-counter medications or at home.

However, if your stomach ache is severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.

See a doctor if your stomach ache is severe or accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in your vomit
  • A feeling of having to have a bowel movement often
  • Pain in your abdomen that worsens when you take a deep breath
  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Pain that is constant or that gets worse over time

Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of appendicitis.

If you are experiencing severe stomach pain, you may need to go to the hospital.

How is stomach ache diagnosed?

Your doctor may be able to diagnose your stomach ache based on your symptoms.

However, they may also order some tests to help them make a diagnosis.

If your doctor suspects that your stomach ache is caused by a serious condition, such as appendicitis, they may order tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Examples of these tests include:

  • Blood tests to look for signs of an infection or a tumour
  • Ultrasound to check the size of your appendix
  • CT scan to check for signs of an infection or appendicitis

How is stomach ache treated?

Treatment for stomach ache depends on the cause.

If your stomach ache is caused by a stomach bug, or other stomach issues, you may be able to treat it at home with over-the-counter medications.

Your doctor may also prescribe some antibiotics to treat a stomach infection.

If your stomach ache is caused by a more serious condition, you may require treatment in a hospital.

Treatment for stomach ache

Treatment for stomach aches depends on the cause.

For stomach aches caused by a stomach bug, you may be able to treat it at home with over-the-counter medications.

The takeaway

Stomach ache is a common condition. It can cause discomfort, cramping, or pain.

You may experience stomach aches at any time of day, even when you’re asleep. They can also occur when you are under stress.

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