Symptoms, Types and Treatments for Upper Stomach Pains

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Symptoms, Types and Treatments for Upper Stomach Pains

Woman suffering from abdominal pain / Photo by Getty Images


Abdominal pain does not mean a critical matter but sometimes it is a call for a medical attention. Luckily, abdominal pain is common and can be diagnosed earlier thru consideration of where the discomfort or pain is present and what type and intensity it has.

What happens when someone’s stomach hurts?

Abdominal discomfort is obviously located in the abdomen which is an anatomical area that is surrounded by the lower margin of the ribs and diaphragm above, composed of the pelvic bone below and flanks side by side. Generally, the indication of abdominal pain is used to define discomfort originating from the abdominal organs. The organs present in the abdomen are the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas. Meanwhile, its undermost part is the pelvis which is composed of urinary bladder and rectum, prostate gland in men, and the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries in women. At most, knowing whether the discomfort is coming from the lower abdomen or pelvis is difficult.

Even though the pain is coming from the organs, discomfort may be felt in the belly. Some cases include conditions of the lower lungs, the kidneys, and the uterus or ovaries. However, some pain coming from the organs can be felt on the outside like the pain caused by the inflammation of the pancreas.


Man caressing his painful abdomen / Photo by Getty Images


What causes upper stomach pains?

A mass in the liver, infection or an inflammation can cause chronic pain beneath your right ribs. Sometimes, it is an early indication of having a gallbladder disease if the pain is intense and recurrent in that portion. Specifically, if it begins an hour or two after every meal, getting worse after few minutes and stays for several hours before the ache fades. Left upper abdominal pain can be felt if you have constipation or known as diverticulosis which refers to the bubble-like protrusions along the wall of your colon. However, it can be appeased thru a bowel movement or passing gas.


Gallstones in the liver / Photo by Getty Images


What are the types of upper stomach pains?

There are several types of upper stomach pains which can be distinguished by knowing where the pain or discomfort is coming from.

If the pain typically starts in the middle of the abdomen and then moves to the right lower part of the abdomen, which is the usual location of the appendix, then the discomfort is possibly caused by Appendicitis.

Meanwhile, diverticulitis is a condition in which pain is felt in the left lower abdomen where most colonic diverticula are located.

On the other hand, if the pain is felt in the middle, upper abdomen, it can be caused by the discomfort coming from the gallbladder (biliary colic or cholecystitis).


An illustration showing how the Cholecystitis form in the liver / Photo by Shutterstock


What caused middle upper stomach pains?

Peptic ulcer disease, acid reflux and gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining are the possible reasons of experiencing pain in the middle of your stomach lining. If you feel pain when your stomach is empty, then you may have an ulcer which is caused by Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that infects the stomach lining and causes inflammation.

Consumption of coffee  or other irritants, smoking, alcohol, and anti-inflammatory drugs can cause gastritis which is more like the feeling of having an ulcer. Defined as the chronic pain in the upper middle of the abdomen that could represent damage to your esophagus.

Pancreatitis can be one of the most common causes of middle upper stomach pains.


Comparison of having a healthy and suffering from gastritis / Photo by

What is Pancreatitis and its types?

An inflammation of the pancreas is called Pancreatitis. It is gland located behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. Its main function is to secrete hormones and enzymes that help with digestion and regulate metabolism.

There are two types of pancreatitis. (1) Acute pancreatitis which develop as time goes by, it is mostly a short-term (a few days to weeks) illness that can be treated with a relevant medical remedy. (2) Chronic pancreatitis which develops after series of acute pancreatitis, this one is a long-term condition that can last for months or several years.


A detailed illustration of Pancreatitis / Photo by


Is there a treatment of upper stomach pains?

Upper stomach pains treatments depend on what causes the pain or discomforts. Treatment comprises of avoiding foods that may trigger pain, a remedy for heartburn, a remedy for gallstones or liver problems, and necessary remedy for whatever is the root of your pain.

There are general alternative precautionary recommendations that may help lower the risk of experiencing upper abdomen pain such as engaging in a healthy diet, drinking water regularly, exercising regularly and eating smaller meals. It is also advisable to follow your treatment plan if you have abdominal pain caused by the inflammation of bowel disease. Also, to reduce the chances of having heartburn and ingestion, avoid lying down immediately after a meal.


Regular exercise can prevent abdominal pain / Photo by Getty Images