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9 Reasons Your Stomach Hurts In The Morning

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9 Reasons Your Stomach Hurts In The Morning

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • There are numerous potential reasons your stomach hurts in the morning. They can include indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, stress, IBS, IBD, gastritis, ulcers, and gastroparesis. 
  • If you’re struggling with morning stomach pain, consider avoiding spicy or greasy foods in the evening and eating smaller meals for dinner. You may also need to reduce your consumption of alcohol and coffee.
  • If you’re experiencing severe abdominal pain, blood in your stool or vomit, vomiting for more than an hour, have a fever, or have lost weight unintentionally, seek medical attention, as these symptoms could indicate a serious underlying condition.

Everyone wants to start their day off on the right foot, so if your stomach hurts in the morning, you’re likely frustrated and want to find a solution.

There are many different causes of morning stomach pain, from indigestion to IBS to constipation.

By getting these underlying conditions under control, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your morning stomach pain.

Read on to learn nine reasons your stomach hurts in the morning, potential remedies and tips for preventing stomach pain in the morning, and when to see a doctor. 

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9 Reasons Your Stomach Hurts in the Morning

Here are nine possible reasons why your stoamch may hurt in the morning.

1. Indigestion (Dyspepsia)

While indigestion is often used interchangeably with heartburn or acid reflux, they are different conditions. 

Indigestion is a general term describing various digestive issues, such as pain, discomfort in your stomach, a burning sensation, feeling too full when eating, or feeling uncomfortably full after a meal. 

There are many potential causes of indigestion, including:

  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Drinking too much coffee or caffeinated drinks.
  • Drinking too many fizzy beverages.
  • Eating too quickly.
  • Eating spicy, greasy, or fatty foods.
  • Eating acidic foods like tomatoes and oranges.
  • Stress.
  • Smoking.

2. Constipation or Diarrhea

Both constipation and diarrhea can cause stomach pain in the morning. 

If you’re constipated, this can put pressure on your abdomen, which could result in stomach pain.

You may have constipation if you have fewer than three bowel movements per week, have hard or lumpy stools that are difficult to pass, or have a feeling that your bowels are not fully empty.

If you have constipation, resolving the constipation may help relieve your stomach pain.

Diarrhea can also cause morning stomach pain, with cramping and nausea being two of its most common symptoms.

In most cases, you can treat diarrhea with over-the-counter medications.

However, if it lasts longer than two days or there is blood in your stool, see a doctor immediately. 

3. Acid Reflux (Heartburn)

Heartburn, or acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid escapes from your stomach and ends up in your esophagus.

It's called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) when this happens chronically.

Symptoms include a painful, burning sensation in the middle of your chest, nausea, problems swallowing, and coughing or hoarseness. 

There are several risk factors for developing acid reflux.

It may develop if the sphincter between your lower esophagus and stomach relaxes when it shouldn’t or becomes weak.

Factors such as carrying excess weight, being pregnant, having a hiatal hernia, taking certain medications, and smoking can increase the likelihood of lower esophageal sphincter dysfunction.

If you have acid reflux, treating it may help reduce your morning stomach pain.

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4. Stress

While it may seem unrelated, stress can be a major cause of digestive distress, including stomach pain in the morning.

It’s thought that long-term stress makes the pain pathways in the body more sensitive, especially in conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Stress can cause stomach pain through the gut-brain axis.

This is how the gut and the brain “talk” to one another.

Stress can alter this communication, leading to the activation of the immune system.

This can cause visceral hypersensitivity, which makes the gut more sensitive. 

If you think stress is causing your morning stomach pain, consider stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or journaling. 

5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common digestive problem and includes symptoms such as ongoing abdominal pain and changes to your bowel movements (such as diarrhea or constipation).

It may also include symptoms like bloating, feeling like you haven’t completed a bowel movement, or mucus in your stool. 

Experts are still investigating what causes IBS.

Some potential causes include:

  • Stressful events early in life.
  • Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
  • Infections in your gastrointestinal tract.
  • Overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine.
  • Food intolerances or sensitivities, such as FODMAP intolerance.

If IBS is causing your morning stomach pain, treating the underlying condition may help relieve it.

6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, may also provoke digestive distress in the morning.

While Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, ulcerative colitis only affects the inner lining of your large intestine.

Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and weight loss. 

Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include diarrhea, passing blood in your stool, cramping and abdominal pain, passing pus or mucus with your stool, constantly having the urge to have a bowel movement, even if your bowel is empty, and bowel movement urgency. 

People whose IBD is not well-managed could experience morning stomach pain as a result of their underlying condition.

7. Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining.

It can develop quickly and have a short duration or slowly and last a long time.

Common causes of gastritis include Helicobacter pylori infection, autoimmunity (where the body attacks healthy cells in the stomach), or acute stress that reduces blood flow to the stomach, such as critical illness. 

Symptoms of gastritis are similar to the symptoms of indigestion and include:

  • Stomach pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Early meal fullness.
  • Feeling overly full after a meal.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Weight loss.

Nourish has a free seven day meal plan for gastritis you can try today. 

8. Ulcers

An ulcer is a sore on your stomach lining. You may also develop ulcers on your duodenum, the upper part of the small intestine.

Symptoms include pain between your belly button and breast bone, feeling full quickly when you eat, feeling too full after a meal, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and belching.

Of all the symptoms of ulcers, abdominal pain is the most common.

You may have an ulcer if you have persistent stomach pain that doesn’t go away.

If this is the case, you will need medication to heal the ulcer, which may help relieve your morning stomach pain.

9. Delayed Gastric Emptying (Gastroparesis)

Gastroparesis is a condition where food movement from your stomach to your small intestines is delayed due to your stomach muscles not working properly.

Symptoms include feeling too full when eating, feeling full for a long time after eating, nausea, vomiting, bloating, pain in your stomach, and poor appetite. 

Remedies for Morning Stomach Pain

There are many simple remedies for morning stomach pain. They include:

  • Sipping water or clear fluids.
  • Avoiding solid food for the first few hours of the day.
  • Eating small amounts of bland foods, like rice, crackers, or applesauce.
  • Using antacids if you suspect your stomach pain is due to acid reflux.
  • Avoiding acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
  • Avoiding greasy, fried, high-fat foods.
  • Minimizing alcohol and caffeine intake.

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Preventing Stomach Pain in the Morning

In addition to simple remedies for morning stomach pain, there are also steps you can take to prevent morning stomach pain.

They include:

  • Eating small, frequent meals.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Drinking water regularly to help prevent constipation.
  • Limiting foods that produce gas, such as cruciferous vegetables.
  • Avoiding large meals immediately before bed.
  • Avoiding spicy, greasy, or acidic foods immediately before bed.
  • Practicing stress management techniques, such as meditation or yoga.

When to See a Medical Provider

Speaking with a medical provider is important if your stomach hurts in the morning and you haven’t identified why.

In addition, if you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s worth a trip to the doctor’s office:

  • Severe pain or cramping in your stomach.
  • Blood sugar levels that are too high or too low.
  • Red blood in your stool or vomit.
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
  • Vomiting for an hour or more.
  • Fainting.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Fever.
  • Signs of dehydration, such as extreme thirst, urinating less than usual, or having dark-colored urine.
  • Signs of malnutrition, such as feeling tired and weak, unexplained weight loss, dizziness, loss of appetite, and abnormal skin paleness.

Takeaway

When your stomach hurts in the morning, it could be due to numerous factors, including indigestion, acid reflux, IBS, IBD, gastritis, stress, and more.

To prevent stomach pain in the morning, you may need to avoid spicy, greasy, or acidic meals, particularly in the evening.

You may also find relief by only eating a small meal for dinner.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like blood in your stool or vomit, unexplained weight loss, or severe pain and cramping in your abdomen, seek medical attention.

These could be symptoms of a serious underlying condition that needs to be treated.

How a Dietitian Can Help

Dietary adjustments can help prevent or relieve an upset stomach or other digestive problems for many people.

When you work with a gut health dietitian can help you uncover which foods trigger your symptoms and which foods to include more of in your diet.

Find a dietitian that accepts insurance through Nourish. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my stomach hurt every morning?

There are many common causes of an upset stomach in the morning.

They include:

  • Indigestion. 
  • Constipation. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Acid reflux. 
  • Stress. 
  • IBS. 
  • IBD. 
  • Gastritis. 
  • Ulcers. 
  • Gastroparesis. 

 

You may also have an upset stomach in the morning if you ate greasy, spicy, or fatty foods the evening before, if you consumed alcohol or smoked cigarettes the evening before, or if you ate a large meal before going to bed.

Why does my stomach hurt after breakfast?

There are several reasons your stomach may hurt after breakfast.

First, if you drink coffee with breakfast, the coffee may have triggered indigestion.

Second, if you have IBS and are sensitive to FODMAPs, eating breakfast with a high FODMAP content could cause your stomach to hurt.

How do I know if my stomach pain is serious?

If your stomach pain is severe or accompanied by blood sugar alterations, red blood in your stool or vomit, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, fainting, difficulty breathing, fever, signs of dehydration, or signs of malnutrition (such as unexplained weight loss), you should seek medical attention immediately, as these could be symptoms of a serious underlying condition.

References

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