Why Do I Constantly Get Stomachaches
Common causes of constant stomachaches include digestive problems and underlying medical conditions

Stomachaches are common and can be caused by a wide range of conditions, including digestive problems, injury, infection, or disease. 

Common causes of constant stomachaches include:

If your stomach pain is severe and sudden, it could be a sign of something more serious.

What causes different areas of abdominal pain?

Upper abdominal pain

Upper abdominal pain is frequently caused by the by-products of the digestive process. The pain can be typically felt in the upper abdomen, chest, neck, and shoulders. Causes include:

Lower abdominal pain

Right-sided abdominal pain

  • Gallstones (pain originates in the upper right of the abdomen area and can spread to the right shoulder blade)
  • Appendicitis (pain begins at the lower right side; as the pain moves lower, it becomes more constant and severe)

Left-sided abdominal pain

Other possible causes

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Appendicitis: Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Appendectomy in Detail See Slideshow

When does a stomachache require medical attention?

Stomachaches are usually tolerable and pass within minutes or hours. However, if the pain lasts longer than 6 hours, worsens, or is accompanied by vomiting or a high fever, you should seek medical attention. Symptoms that warrant a trip to the doctor include:

  • Inability to urinate, pass gas, or have a bowel movement
  • Pain that keeps you up at night
  • Pain that prevents a person from moving or causes them to pass out
  • Pain that persists in one area, especially in the right lower abdomen
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Persistent abdominal pain could indicate a more serious underlying issue. Seek  immediate medical attention if you experience:

Certain characteristics of abdominal pain increase the likelihood of severity. Any of the following should be a cause for concern:

  • Sudden onset of pain 
  • Severe pain
  • Pain that persists beyond an hour or two and does not go away with over-the-counter medications and home therapies
  • Pain that is felt in other areas, such as the chest or testicles
  • Pain in only one part of the abdomen rather than throughout the entire abdomen
  • Pain that is worse when pressing against the abdomen or with movement

When experiencing abdominal pain, some people are more likely than others to have a serious condition, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Infants and children younger than 5
  • People older than 65 
  • People who have had prior surgeries on their abdomen
  • People with other medical problems

How is stomach pain diagnosed?

Severe abdominal pain that has persisted for several hours typically requires urgent treatment. To determine the cause of your stomachache, your doctor may inquire as to when it started, where it is located, and whether there have been any additional symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain when urinating, or blood in the urine or stool

To identify the source of your pain, your doctor will perform a physical examination, possibly focusing on specific regions of your stomach.

Common diagnoses of severe abdominal pain include:

How are stomachaches treated?

Stomach pain can usually be managed with dietary and lifestyle changes:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and other foods that irritate the stomach
  • Consume clear liquids frequently until your urine is a pale yellow or clear
  • If vomiting occurs, take small sips of water or suck on ice chips
  • Try the BRAT diet until your pain and other symptoms subside:
    • Bananas
    • Rice (white)
    • Applesauce
    • Toast (plain or with only jelly or honey if desired)

Depending on the precise cause, treatment varies significantly. Common treatment options include:

If you experience persistent abdominal pain, consult your doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/14/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

What Is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP)? https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/recurrent-abdominal-pain

Abdominal pain in adults. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/abdominal-pain-in-adults

9 signs your stomach pain isn't normal. https://blog.providence.org/blog-2/9-signs-your-stomach-pain-isnt-normal