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Stomach pain in the morning: possible causes

Morning stomach pain has many possible causes, ranging from mild, temporary digestive problems to more severe gastrointestinal disorders.

Stomach pain is often a vague term, and difficult to deal with. Diagnosing morning stomach pain will allow you to be precise about both the location and essence of the pain.

Read on for 16 common causes of morning stomach pain, and their common symptoms and severity.

16 causes and their symptoms

Acid reflux and GERD are possible causes of stomach pain in the morning.
Acid reflux and GERD are possible causes of stomach pain in the morning.

The following are some of the more common causes of stomach pain in the morning:

Acid reflux and GERD

Acid reflux is a disorder in which the contents of acid and other stomachs migrate in the wrong way, moving back into the esophagus. That can create a feeling of burning in the back of the mouth.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the most common acid reflux symptom is heartburn which affects around 60 million people in the United States at least once a month. Someone with more than two episodes a week may have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which, if not treated, can cause complications.

People with acid reflux can experience stomach pain, usually in the middle of the abdomen.


Gastritis, or an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, may develop rapidly or gradually over time. Pain in the upper abdomen, as well as nausea and feeling full, is a common symptom of this condition.


Gastroenteritis, sometimes described as stomach flu, is a viral or bacterial infection which targets the stomach and intestines. It causes diarrhea and stomach pain.

Stomach ulcers

Often called peptic ulcers, morning or other periods, stomach ulcers can cause dull, burning stomach pain. Peptic ulcers are sores in the lining of the stomach and the lining of the small intestine that is nearest the stomach.


Inflammation of the appendix is appendicitis. It is a common cause of extreme and sudden pain in the stomach which starts around the navel and moves lower. The pain continues to get worse over time. Some symptoms are possibly nausea and fever. Appendicitis also requires surgical intervention,

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation from the mouth to the anus, anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract. This inflammation can cause both cramping and pain in the stomach. Certain signs of this chronic illness are vomiting, constipation, weight loss and fatigue.


The medical term for indigestion is dyspepsia. It may be triggered by lifestyle choices, such as the type of food a person eats, but it can also be linked to certain conditions. Stomach pain is the most common indigestion-related symptom, although people may also suffer from nausea and bloating, and easily get full when eating.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that can cause pain in the stomach and changes in intestinal habits. People with IBS can experience constipation and diarrhoea frequently, or alternate between both. They may also feel bloated and bowel movements are incomplete.

Abdominal adhesions

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 9 out of 10 people with open-abdomen surgery develop adhesions, or scar tissue that allows organs to adhere to each other and to the abdominal wall.

Most adherents do not experience complications but chronic stomach pain is normal in those who do. Some effects include bloating, nausea and constipation.

Food allergies

Stomach pain is a common symptom of food allergies, affecting 4 -6% of children and 4% of adults. Other symptoms include nausea, hives, and potentially fatal anaphylaxis that interferes with the breathing and causes drops in blood pressure.


Constipation is characterized by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) as three or fewer movements of the intestine a week, which can be difficult or painful, and feel incomplete. People with constipation may also experience pain in their stomachs. Individuals can usually treat constipation on their own but see a doctor if it becomes chronic or causes other symptoms, such as bleeding or fever.

12. Diverticular disease

Diverticular disease, or diverticulosis, affects roughly half the people over age 60. This occurs in pouches when parts of the colon bulge outward. The pouches normally do not cause any problems but symptoms can develop if they get infected or inflamed. This is called diverticulitis. People may experience pain in their stomachs (typically on the left side), fatigue, nausea, and more serious complications.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that affects the ovaries, uterus, Falopian tubes and cervix of an person. Around 5 percent of women in the U.S. have PID, according to the Office on Women’s Health, and it is most common in women aged 15-24.

The most common symptom is low abdominal pain. Many signs include fever, an irregular discharge from the vagina and discomfort while having sex or urination. It can cause serious complications unless treated promptly

Celiac disease

Gluten intolerance is also known as celiac disease. This food intolerance triggers the immune systems of humans to destroy their small intestines while consuming anything that contains gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and many other things. Symptoms vary but diarrhea and stomach pain are normal.

15. Gallbladder disease

Gallbladder issues may cause pain to the stomach, often in the upper right part of the abdomen. For people who have biliary colic the pain will come and go. If gallstones are present and canals in the gallbladder are blocked, other symptoms may occur, such as diarrhea, vomiting, dark urine, jaundice, and blood pressure dropping.

16. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis develops when it inflames the pancreas, often due to gallstones. Common symptoms include extreme, severe upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. We need medical treatment.

When to see a doctor

Many different health conditions can be causing morning stomach pain. Although some conditions may resolve by themselves, others will require immediate care. Things to consider when evaluating health care include:

  • Severity: If the pain is so bad that the individual cannot stand up, seek medical help immediately. Early symptoms of appendicitis can include pain in the abdomen.
  • Duration: The longer an individual has stomach pain in the morning, the more important it is to seek medical treatment.
  • Age: Severe stomach pain in younger people could indicate appendicitis. In older people, it may suggest gall bladder problems. Both conditions require prompt medical treatment.
  • Speed of onset: Sudden stomach pain is a potential symptom of appendicitis, especially if the pain is getting worse.
  • Other symptoms: People with appendicitis may develop a fever along with abdominal pain. Stomach pain alongside nausea can suggest a blockage or other serious condition. Bleeding from the rectum is a possible sign of conditions that require prompt medical treatment.


There are many different conditions and illnesses that can cause morning stomach pain.

People can most often heal by themselves, with self-care. Such pain, however, is sometimes a symptom of severe health problems which require immediate medical attention.

Speak with a doctor about appropriate diagnosis and treatment for chronic, serious morning stomach pain alongside other symptoms.

Obianuju Chukwu

She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.

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