Stomach pain is usually short-lived and affects almost everyone from time to time. Although usually nothing to worry about, abdominal pain can be a sign of an underlying health problem. If you’ve any concerns about abdominal pain, make an appointment to see your GP.
In many cases, stomach ache is the result of indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn, bloating or trapped wind. This usually passes quite quickly without any need for treatment.
However, there are many other possible causes of abdominal pain, some of which can be more serious.
When to seek urgent medical advice
Seek medical attention urgently if you:
Recurring burning pain in your upper abdomen is a common symptom of a stomach ulcer. Other stomach ulcer symptoms include heartburn, nausea, intolerance of fatty foods, unintentional weight loss and loss of appetite.
Lower abdominal pain or cramps can be a sign of constipation, which can also be accompanied by bloating and nausea.
Urine infections, which tend to affect women more than men, are often the cause of an aching lower abdomen pain. You may also feel nauseous, feverish and notice stinging when urinating.
Other possible causes of stomach pain include:
You should visit your GP if:
Your GP may be able to diagnose the cause of your abdominal pain by examining your stomach and discussing how you feel. Your GP may refer you for tests, such as blood tests, a colonoscopy or a CT scan. They may also refer you to a consultant for further investigations, diagnosis and treatment.
You can treat most cases of stomach pain at home. Depending on your other symptoms, you could try:
If your symptoms don’t improve, your GP may prescribe medication. If your abdominal pain is a symptom of an underlying condition, your GP or consultant will arrange the necessary treatment.