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Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Wake Up?

Waking up to stomach pain can be an uncomfortable feeling. It could be a sign of discomfort anywhere in your pelvis or ribs.

Although morning stomach ache may subside, it could be worsened by indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux.

Identifying the cause and making appropriate approaches to fix it might alleviate these cramps and aches. However, if stomach pain wakes you up from sleep, it may be a sign of a severe condition and require a doctor’s consultation.

Read this article to know the potential causes of your stomach pain and how you can manage it. This article also highlights under what circumstances you should seek medical attention.

Potential Causes of Stomach Pain

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder indicated by frequent abdominal pain and changes in bowel motions. It impacts the large intestine and can cause discomfort and distress to people suffering from it.

    The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but it could be a combination of factors, including abnormal intestinal contractions, heightened sensitivity of the intestines, changes in gut microbiota, and disturbances in communication between the brain and gut.

    Symptoms of IBS may include stomach pain or cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Certain foods like carbonated drinks, soda, or dairy could also trigger or worsen IBS conditions.

    Eating a balanced diet that combines fiber-rich foods, staying hydrated, and avoiding trigger foods can help regulate bowel movements and reduce stomach pain.

    Stress reduction techniques such as exercise and therapy might also help manage IBS symptoms.

  2. Peptic Ulcers

    Peptic ulcers are small sores that can form in the small intestine’s lining. They are often asymptomatic but can cause a dull or burning stomach pain upon awakening in the morning.

    Peptic ulcers occur by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori or the prolonged consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They could also develop due to excessive acid production in the stomach.

    Some people may notice discomfort or pain upon waking up in the morning, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and excessive burping.

  3. Constipation

    Constipation may cause difficulty in passing stools along with symptoms such as feelings of incomplete bowel movements, lumpy or hard stools, and infrequent bowel movements.

    Constipation often requires straining during bowel movements, which could further contribute to stomach pain. The exertion of pushing hard to pass stools could strain the abdominal muscles and cause discomfort. As stool builds up in the colon, it may cause increased pressure on the abdomen, causing a feeling of bloating, cramping, and pain.

    Factors such as dehydration and a lack of fiber can contribute to constipation. Insufficient water intake and a diet low in fiber can lead to harder, drier stools that are difficult to pass, resulting in abdominal pain.

    However, increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, and exercising may help reduce constipation symptoms. You should consult a healthcare professional if the symptoms persist.

  4. Gastritis

    Gastritis condition may cause inflammation of the stomach lining caused by infection, overuse of certain pain relievers, or excessive alcohol consumption. Stress, autoimmune disorders, and bile reflux may contribute to the growth of gastritis.

    Gastritis symptoms might include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and a constant feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen. Some people may also experience indigestion, bloating, and loss of appetite, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain.

    However, doctors could prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria if an infection is present. Proton pump inhibitors or histamine receptor blockers might reduce stomach acid production and relieve symptoms.

  5. Diverticulitis

    Diverticulitis is caused by the development of small sacs in the large intestine wall that become inflamed. These sacs, or diverticula, are formed when weak spots in the intestinal wall swell outward.

    Diverticulitis symptoms may include stomach pain, usually in the lower left side of the abdomen, constipation, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

  6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is caused by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the main bowel problems that may constitute Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

    Ulcerative colitis may affect the colon and rectum, leading to inflammation and ulcers in the intestine’s lining. Its symptoms may include:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Urgency to have bowel movements.

    Crohn’s disease could impact the digestive tract anywhere from the mouth to the anus. It may cause inflammation that extends deep into the layers of the bowel. Crohn’s disease symptoms may include:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Weight loss
  7. Indigestion

    Indigestion, or dyspepsia, could cause stomach pain and other digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, and a feeling of fullness.

    Indigestion can be caused by overeating, consuming fatty or spicy foods, certain medications (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), smoking, and high levels of stress.

    You may experience indigestion in the form of bloating, gas, belching, nausea, and a burning sensation in the upper abdomen.

    However, making specific changes to your diet, such as decreasing the consumption of processed food and eating more fruits and vegetables, may help alleviate indigestion.

  8. Acid Reflux

    Acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, may cause a leakage of the flow of stomach acid back to the esophagus, inducing a sizzling sensation in the chest and stomach pain.

    It may cause symptoms like stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, bad breath, loss of taste, and bloating. Acid reflux may occur when the stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus.

    However, acid reflux could be managed by eating smaller and more frequent meals, avoiding overeating, and reducing anxiety.

  9. Pancreatitis

    Pancreatitis causes inflammation of the pancreas, which could induce sharp pain in the stomach or back, nausea, vomiting, fever, and a swollen or tender belly.

    It could be caused by gallstones, alcohol misuse, certain medications, infections, high levels of triglycerides in the blood, and certain genetic conditions.

    Some people may experience a swollen or tender abdomen as a symptom of Pancreatitis. Doctors may provide antibiotics, fluids, and, in some cases, surgery as a treatment option.

  10. Food Poisoning

    Food poisoning may occur by consuming contaminated food. It may happen when you consume food infected with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins.

    The symptoms of food poisoning may include cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. However, these symptoms usually appear within a few hours to a few days after consuming the infected food and can range from mild to severe.

    When experiencing food poisoning, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids to cover the lost fluids from diarrhea and vomiting is essential. You could also eat small and light meals to ease your stomach pain. Resting and avoiding harsh activities may also help recover from food poisoning.

  11. Period Pain

    Many women experience period pain or dysmenorrhea during their menstrual cycle. It may cause symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, lower back pain, breast tenderness, and migraines.

    Period pain could make it more challenging to get enough sleep due to anxiety, pain, and unstable hormones related to menstruation. It becomes more bothersome, especially in the morning.

    However, using a hot water bottle or heating pad on the abdomen might relieve the muscles and reduce cramping. You could also choose pain relievers such as ibuprofen to ease menstrual cramps and pain.

  12. Gallstones

    Gallstones are small stones generally composed of cholesterol that can develop in the gallbladder. They may cause symptoms such as stomach pain, back or right shoulder pain, nausea, and vomiting.

    Gallstones form when there is an instability in the elements that make up bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver.

    Certain factors like sex, age, and having a medical history of gallstones could increase the possibility of forming gallstones.

    Gallstones’ symptoms may cause cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis, and Pancreatitis if they go unnoticed. However, lifestyle modifications such as a low-fat diet and regular exercise could help reduce the risk of gallstones.

  13. Food Allergies

    Food allergies could cause stomach pain and discomfort. Consuming allergenic foods such as dairy, shellfish, wheat, gluten, and soy could worsen this situation.

    When you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly recognizes certain proteins in the food as harmful, triggering an allergic reaction. It can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to stomach pain.

    Symptoms of food allergies include nausea, vomiting, hives, wheezing, tongue, lips, or eyes swelling, and diarrhea. These symptoms might vary in severity depending on the person and the specific allergen.

Symptoms Of Stomach Pain

Stomach pain symptoms may vary from person to person, ranging from throbbing, stabbing, twisting, or aching pains to dull or cramping sensations in the abdominal area. Each person may experience different types of pain, and the severity of pain can also vary.

If you are experiencing stomach pain, paying attention to any accompanying symptoms that may indicate a more severe infection is essential.

You must seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe stomach pain accompanied by unresolved vomiting blood, difficulty breathing, sudden or sharp pain, inability to pass stools, or pain between shoulder blades.

Symptoms like high fever, ongoing diarrhea, loss of appetite, excessive urination, or any other concerning symptoms may indicate a gastrointestinal issue and should not be ignored.

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Tips To Manage Morning Stomach Pain

To effectively manage your morning stomach pain, prioritize your gut health by implementing various lifestyle changes and following medical suggestions for specific gastrointestinal conditions.

Here are the useful ways to treat morning stomach pain:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking adequate fluid throughout the day may help maintain proper digestion and prevent constipation, which can contribute to morning stomach pain.
  • Choosing easy-to-digest foods and avoiding caffeine/alcohol: Consuming plain rice, bananas, and boiled potatoes that are gentle on the stomach could help alleviate morning stomach pain. It would help if you also avoided caffeine and alcohol, which might irritate the stomach lining.
  • Applying heat to the impacted area: A heating pad or a warm bath could relieve stomach pain by relaxing the abdominal muscles and improving blood flow.
  • Targeted interventions and medicines for your conditions: If morning stomach pain is caused by acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome, following medical recommendations and using medications prescribed by a doctor could help manage the symptoms effectively.

How To Fall Back To Sleep?

You may face difficulty falling back to sleep after experiencing stomach or abdominal pain due to the discomfort and potential symptoms caused by stomach pain. However, following practical strategies can help you fall back to sleep and alleviate the pain.

Here are ways to fall back to sleep when your stomach hurts:

  • Practice relaxation techniques: Deep breathing or meditation could help calm your mind and relax your body, making it easier to fall back asleep.
  • Drink herbal teas: Chamomile or lavender teas have calming properties that could help relax your nervous system and stomach to promote sleep. Avoid caffeine-containing teas, as they might stimulate your digestive system and make it harder to fall back to sleep.
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment: Build a relaxing sleep environment. Use dim lighting, maintain a cool temperature, and remove distractions that may hinder your sleep.

When To See A Doctor?

It is essential to seek medical support immediately if you are experiencing persistent stomach pain. You should not ignore your stomach pain if it shows additional symptoms like vomiting, difficulty breathing, and sharp abdomen pain, as it may indicate a severe concern.

People undergoing cancer treatment or pregnant women should also seek medical help when experiencing stomach pain upon waking.

Pay attention to symptoms accompanying the stomach pain, such as high fever, ongoing diarrhea, loss of appetite, or excessive urination, for early evaluation. The doctor can perform the test and provide appropriate treatment for your stomach ache.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are the Common Dietary Triggers for Morning Stomach Pain?
    Common dietary triggers for morning stomach pain include overeating, consuming fatty or spicy foods, and certain medications. However, limiting processed, spicy, or rich foods could help decrease indigestion and alleviate morning stomach pain.
  • Can Stress and Anxiety Contribute to Morning Stomach Pain?
    Stress and anxiety can contribute to morning stomach pain as they increase the production of stomach acid, muscle tension in the gastrointestinal tract, and changes in gut motility.
  • Are There Any Natural Remedies for Relieving Morning Stomach Pain?
    Several natural and home remedies can help relieve morning stomach pain, such as practicing relaxation techniques, drinking herbal teas, staying hydrated, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
  • How Does Sleep Position Affect Morning Stomach Pain?
    Sleep position can affect morning stomach pain by controlling acid reflux. Thus, sleeping on your stomach or right side can worsen acid reflux symptoms while sleeping on your left side can help alleviate them.
  • Can Certain Medications Cause Morning Stomach Pain?
    Certain medications like aspirin can cause morning stomach pain. These medications may irritate the gut lining or disrupt digestion, leading to discomfort upon waking up.

Conclusion

Morning stomach pain could be caused by various factors such as acid reflux, gastritis, anxiety, and poor diet. However, mild or temporary stomach pain can happen due to benign reasons like hunger and indigestion.

You could resolve occasional stomach pain by following a few home remedies like drinking herbal teas or increasing your fluid intake.

However, never ignore severe and consistent stomach pain. Persistent stomach pain may require prompt medical support, especially when experiencing fever or bloody stools with abdominal pain.

Thus, watch over how much spice you add to your diet, as it could also disrupt the gut lining.

Use a heating pad on the inflamed region and consume light food like rice or boiled potato to allow the stomach to heal on its own.

Sometimes, stomach pain in the morning could be caused by simple issues like constipation or bloating, but it could also be a sign of a medical condition that needs the assistance of a doctor or surgery.

Disclaimer
  • The data in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this review.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before trying any product or tips.
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