Common Causes of Upper Abdominal Pain

We have heard of upper abdominal pain or even have been diagnosed with it. So, what is the abdominal pain? The abdomen is that part of your body below your ribs and above your hips.

It is also called the tummy, trunk, belly or gut. A pain in that area is generally known as abdominal pain. You may hear people calling this condition tummy ache, stomach pain, gut ache, and so on.

Usually, pain that you feel here will be caused by a problem in your stomach. Sometimes it may also be other organs like kidney.

Some most common causes of upper abdominal pain are listed below with brief explanations.


Indigestion can mean a lot of different things. You can feel a discomfort in the abdomen or behind your breastbone. Usually, certain types of food trigger this problem.

The foods that are fatty or very rich. This makes you burp a lot or have a nasty acid taste coming into your throat. Chemist can solve this problem with some antacids and it will take just some hours for you to be well.

Caution: Sometime heart disease patients may mistake heart attack or angina for indigestion. So, this can be worrying for older people and people with heart conditions.


Crampy pains across the abdomen after eating may be because of gas. Your abdomen might feel bloated or swollen. You should let the gas out in the toilet and generally this helps reduce the pain. A medicine suggested by a chemist can help you out otherwise.


It is common. It just means you are going to toilet less often than usual to empty your stomach/bowels. This can cause pain in both upper as well as lower abdomen. Severe constipation may also make you bloated or sick.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

This is also a common condition. The cause is unknown. Symptoms can vary including abdominal pain, bloating, or maybe diarrhea and/or constipation. There is no cure for this but symptoms might often be eased with treatment.


We are well known about this problem. It means an inflammation of the appendix, a small pouch that comes off the gut wall. It is common. Some symptoms include abdominal pain and vomiting that gradually get worse over 6-24 hours.

This pain usually starts in the middle of the abdomen and may spread towards the right hip. This can be dangerous if necessary treatment is not done. It generally requires surgery for removal.

Kidney stones

Pain from the kidney usually starts from the back and travel to your abdomen and groin. The pain comes and goes and is often severe. Also known as renal colic, in this condition, the pain goes when the stone is passed.

In some cases, the stone cannot be passed and you might need to have the stone broken into small pieces at hospital. Blood in urine may also be seen in this situation.

Urine infection

This is a common cause of aching pain that is low down in the abdomen in women. Men don’t generally have this. Along with pain, you may feel sweaty and sick. There may be a sharp stinging when you pass urine and there may be blood in the urine.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

It is an infection of the womb and/or Fallopian tubes. Treatment is with antibiotics. Pain in the lower abdomen (pelvic area) is the most common symptom. Pain during sex can also occur. Women commonly also have vaginal discharge with PID.


Many people having gallstones are unknown about it. This triggers severe pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. The pain is usually worst just below the ribs, to the right-hand side. The pain eases and goes if the gallstone is pushed out or if it falls back into the gallbladder.

Pain from this condition can last for a few minutes but, most commonly, lasts for some hours. Severe pain is not generally expected but can happen once in a lifetime.

Period pain

Most women have pain during periods. The pain they have is often mild but the pain sometimes can get severe enough to affect day-to- day activities. The pain can be so severe that it prevents them from going to school or work. Periods tend to become less painful with growing age.

Painkiller can be taken in severity which helps reduce the pain. Generally, lower abdomen is affected but in severe cases the pain can transmit to upper abdomen as well.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning, usually the typical gastroenteritis – an infection of the intestines – that usually causes diarrhea (maybe with or without vomiting). This creates crampy pain in your upper abdomen.

Stomach and duodenal ulcers

Stomach ulcer pains can be painful. The pain transmits from the middle of abdomen to the back. His pain usually comes and night and may wake you up. Some foods can make ulcer better in some types of ulcer or in other case it might make it worse.

Crohn’s disease

It’s a condition which causes inflammation in the gut. It flares up from time to time. Depending on the part of the gut affected and the severity of the condition, the symptoms vary including bloody diarrhea, feeling unwell and of course abdominal pain.

This list may not include every condition that causes abdominal pain. Though people worry that abdominal/gut pain can mean that they have cancer, this is not the case because cancer pain is distinctive and can be diagnosed in medical tests.

Read Home Remedies for Upper Abdominal Pain


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