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Upper Stomach Pain and Other Pains You Should Not Ignore

Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, MD · Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 07, 2022

Upper Stomach Pain and Other Pains You Should Not Ignore

Stomach pain is one of the more common types of pain that people experience. Whether it’s upper stomach pain, lower stomach pain, or just general pain in the abdomen, people tend to dismiss stomach pain as a result of overeating, or eating something spoiled or bad.

But there are situations wherein stomach pain can be a sign of a severe illness. And ignoring these situations can lead to serious health problems, or even death if the illness is not treated immediately.

This is why it is important to know when you can ignore stomach pain, and when you need to take it more seriously.

Upper stomach pain and other pains you should never ignore

upper stomach pain

Here is a list of 10 situations wherein upper stomach pain, and more general pain in the stomach should never be ignored.

When the pain is severe

Severe pain can sometimes be difficult to quantify. What might feel like moderate pain to someone might already be severe pain to someone else, and this is why some people tend to ignore severe stomach pain.

If you feel stomach pain that’s more painful than normal, even if it’s tolerable, it would be a good idea to get it checked.

Sudden, unexplained stomach pain

Any sort of sudden and unexplained pain, especially in your stomach, should be a cause for concern.

Right upper abdominal pain may indicate cholecystitis or choledocholithiasis. Epigastric pain or one felt below the ribs in the upper abdominal region may point to GERD or heart attack. Right lower abdominal pain may mean you have appendicitis.

If your stomach is hurting and you can’t explain it, then it might be a good idea to visit your doctor to get it checked.

When there is blood in your stool

A number of things are responsible for blood in the stool. It could be the result of hemorrhoids, ulcers, infections in the stomach, etc.

Regardless, if you notice that there is blood in your stool, whether it is fresh blood or dark old blood, you should check in with your physician. This is especially important if you experience blood in your stool along with stomach pains.

If bloody vomit accompanies the stomach pain

Anytime you vomit blood is a cause for concern. More so if there’s stomach pain that coincides with the vomiting.

This could possibly mean that you have an infection in your digestive tract, ulcers, or even internal bleeding. ‘

Getting it checked as soon as possible should be a priority, especially if you feel symptoms such as fatigue or weakness alongside vomiting blood and stomach pain.

When it hurts to urinate

Painful urination could be a sign of UTI. And despite being a problem in the bladder, the pain could be so severe that you feel it near your stomach or abdomen.

This type of pain could also be a sign of kidney stones or gallbladder stones. So it would be best to get it checked by your doctor to get it treated as soon as possible.

Chronic constipation

upper stomach pain

Constipation not only makes defecating difficult, but it can also cause a lot of stomach pain.

It’s normal for people to experience constipation every so often, but if you experience it regularly, then it is a cause for concern.

The problem with constipation is that if you are not able to defecate regularly, the stool could get impacted in your colon. When this happens, defecation is extremely painful, and it can even be deadly if your colon ruptures from the impacted stool.

Ideally, normal bowel movements happen anywhere between three times a day to even just three times a week.

If you are defecating less than three times in a week, then you should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible.

Upper stomach pain

Upper stomach pain along with a high fever, vomiting, and stiff neck can be possible signs of meningococcal disease. This is a serious illness that needs immediate treatment because of its high mortality rate.

If you’re experiencing upper stomach pain, or pain in your stomach in general, be sure to take note of any other symptoms you’re experiencing. This can help the doctor pinpoint your condition and figure out how to treat it.

Sudden weight loss with stomach pain

Sudden weight loss can sometimes be a serious concern. If it appears with stomach pain, then there might be a more serious condition that’s causing malnutrition.

It would be best to get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible to get it checked and treated.

If you also have a hard time swallowing

If you’re having trouble swallowing food, then it might be a cause for concern. This is because difficulty swallowing is one possible sign of esophageal cancer.

It is also possible that an ulcer, scar tissue, or an infection might be causing the difficulty. Getting it checked is important, both to find out the exact cause and to prevent it from happening in the future.

The pain doesn’t go away after a while

If you experience stomach pain on a regular basis, even if it’s not serious or causes discomfort, it might be a good idea to get it checked.

Any form of chronic pain should be a cause for concern, and this is especially true when it comes to stomach pain.

Learn more about digestive health, here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mia Dacumos, MD

Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 07, 2022

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