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Why Does My Stomach Feel Hot Inside At Night?

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • A burning stomach ache can make you feel hot at night, disrupting your ability to sleep and rest comfortably. 
  • Possible causes can be symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, or something more serious like an ulcer and infection. 
  • Identifying the root cause of your symptoms will help your healthcare team develop a personalized treatment plan to help you feel better.

A burning sensation in your stomach can make your abdomen feel hot, which might be more noticeable at night when trying to fall asleep. 

Several possibilities could be causing your symptoms, including indigestion and other digestive conditions. 

Keep reading to learn why your stomach might feel hot inside at night and what you can do to find relief. 

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Why Does My Stomach Feel Hot at Night?

Your stomach is lined with pain receptors that send signals to your brain to communicate that something in your digestive system is off.

When this occurs, you may experience several types of pain, such as cramping, stabbing, or burning in your abdomen. 

Burning sensations can make your stomach feel hot on the inside.

Possible explanations for burning stomach pain at night include indigestion (dyspepsia) and acid reflux. 

However, these are just a few examples—to understand your digestive health fully, you should consult a healthcare professional who can assess your symptoms thoroughly. 

Causes of Nighttime Stomach Burning 

Below are four common digestive issues that might trigger your symptoms at night. 

Acid Reflux or GERD 

Acid reflux is an acute condition sometimes called heartburn.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has similar symptoms, but it’s more severe because it’s a chronic health condition. 

In both cases, stomach acid slips into the esophagus, which causes painful burning.

These health conditions are often linked to altered esophageal sphincter (LES) function. 

LES is a muscular ring at the base of your esophagus that controls the entrance into your stomach.

It opens to allow food in and then squeezes shut to prevent backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. 

However, if your LES is weakened, the tight seal around the stomach may leak and cause painful burning sensations.

These symptoms can occur when lying in bed because gravity can’t pull stomach contents downward. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is one of the most common digestive disorders, and symptoms vary greatly per individual.

Symptoms like stomach burning may occur if your body can’t digest certain foods efficiently.

Specifically, foods high in FODMAPS (types of carbohydrates) can worsen IBS symptoms, such as bloating, gas, discomfort, and stomach burning linked to indigestion. 

Take our IBS quiz if you suspect you may be experiencing these symptoms. 

Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining (mucosa), which can be painful and cause bloating, nausea, and burning.

The condition could result from an H. Pylori infection, which must be treated through prescription medications. 

Choosing bland foods might ease the severity of your symptoms.

These include bananas, rice, apples or applesauce, and toast. 

You can also try out a free 7-day meal plan for gastritis for symptom relief. 

Ulcers

Gastric ulcers are a break in your stomach's mucosal lining, called a perforation or, in lay terms, a small hole.  

An ulcer further down, at the start of your small intestine, is called a peptic ulcer

Both types of ulcers can cause symptoms similar to indigestion, including a painful burning sensation at night. 

Any wound, like a hole, will be painful until healed.

Your doctor must complete a physical exam and other diagnostics to determine if an ulcer is responsible for your night-time pain. 

Other Possible Triggers for Nighttime Stomach Burning

Lifestyle factors and medications may trigger stomach burning. 

Stress

Stress can be a significant contributor to stomach pain for some people.

You may remember a time when you felt stressed, and your stomach felt like it was in knots. 

These sensations may worsen at night if your stress levels rise when you try to fall asleep.

Instead of resting, your brain may experience running thoughts, which can worsen symptoms of stress and delay falling asleep. 

Medications 

Some medications can have side effects, including stomach burning. 

Specifically, a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can increase your risk of indigestion, acid reflux, and ulcers.

Common examples of these painkillers are Advil (ibuprofen) and Bayer Aspirin. 

Always follow the dosage instructions when taking these medications. 

Treatment Options for Nighttime Stomach Burning

Here are changes you can make that may ease night-time stomach burning.

To get long-lasting results, you should meet with a dietitian and physician for more personalized recommendations. 

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Lifestyle Changes 

Quitting smoking is recommended for long-term health and digestion.

You can start by reducing the number of smoking incidences you have per day.

Reducing your alcohol intake may also be beneficial.

Drinking alcohol depletes the healthful microorganisms in your intestinal tract, which might increase your risk of symptoms. 

Increasing your level of physical activity is also recommended for overall health and vitality.

To stay consistent, choose activities that excite you to exercise, like dancing, swimming, or running. 

Diet Modifications

Some foods can worsen symptoms and should be avoided before lying down.

Here are some foods you might want to avoid: 

  • Acidic fruits and vegetables (oranges, lemons, limes, tomatoes, pineapple, etc.) 
  • High-fat foods, including dairy, meats, fried items, avocados, and liberal amounts of nuts or nut butter. 
  • Spicy foods and condiments, including peppers and hot sauce. 
  • Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and energy drinks. 
  • Mint products, including tea or jellies. 
  • Chocolate items, including chocolate bars or spreads. 

Your dietitian can recommend additional food modifitcations to help you feel your best. 

Stress Management

Stress will always exist, but learning how to manage stress levels can make life much easier.

You may feel less stressed by completing activities that distract you and bring you joy, such as being physically active or doing hobbies. 

If you’re feeling stuck, consider contacting a mental health specialist to learn evidence-based strategies to help you manage stress more efficiently. 

Sleep Hygiene

Longer and higher quality sleep can help your digestive system thrive.

Per the Centers for Disease Control, most adults need seven to nine hours each night. 

To fall asleep quickly, create a dark, restful environment that is quiet and calming. 

It might be helpful to complete physical activity during the day so you feel more tired at night. 

Medications

A comprehensive treatment plan should include lifestyle and dietary changes and leave space for pharmacological treatments (if needed.) 

Antacids

Antacids are available over the counter and can help reduce symptoms of GERD and heartburn.

They neutralize stomach acid, lessening painful burning in your abdomen and upper chest. 

They aren’t a long-term solution, but they can help you feel more comfortable at night so you can rest properly.  

Acid Reducers

Acid reducers decrease the amount of acid your stomach makes.

Popular options are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers. 

These medications may relieve heartburn symptoms but shouldn’t be used long-term.

PPIs specifically have been linked to an increased risk of gastric cancer. 

Only use them as directed by the prescriber. 

Alternative Therapy

Here’s a quick overview of acupuncture, an alternative therapy you might be interested in trying to reduce stomach-burning pain. 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a popular treatment technique in Chinese medicine.

The practitioner inserts thin needles into your body to elicit various health effects. 

A small randomized trial from 2023 demonstrated that people receiving acupuncture treatments felt temporary improvement in GERD symptoms after treatment.

It helps with esophageal motility and symptom relief. 

Be sure to visit a licensed acupuncturist to explore this type of treatment.

When to Seek Medical Attention

You should go to an emergency clinic if you experience a rapid onset of stomach pain that prevents you from comfortably resting, walking, or functioning. 

Additionally, if you have constant, low-grade pain that doesn’t improve after 24-48, you should book an appointment with your doctor. 

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these signs alongside stomach pain: 

  • Blood in stools or vomit. 
  • Fever. 
  • Fainting. 
  • Difficulty breathing. 

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Takeaway

If your stomach feels hot at night, you might be experiencing symptoms of indigestion or heartburn.

Other possible causes could be an ulcer or an infection.

Knowing what’s behind the uncomfortable sensations is impossible until a medical professional assesses you. 

You may find relief by avoiding dietary triggers (especially before bed), managing stress levels, and possibly starting medications. 

How a Dietitian Can Help

A registered dietitian is a nutrition expert and licensed healthcare professional.

They offer comprehensive nutrition counseling to help you achieve your health goals. 

You may not know what to expect if you’ve never met with a dietitian before. Here are questions to ask: 

Find a dietitian who accepts insurance through Nourish and start making dietary changes to ease burning symptoms after eating. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes the hotness of the stomach at night?

A hot, burning feeling in your stomach at night might indicate indigestion.

Stomach acid contents might flow back into your esophagus, which can cause heartburn symptoms. 

Other possible reasons may include an infection, an ulcer, or IBS.

What causes internal heat in the stomach?

Your stomach has receptors that signal pain, sometimes making your abdomen feel warm or hot.

A burning sensation may indicate something is off with your digestive system, and you should see your doctor for a complete assessment.

Should I be worried about a burning sensation in my stomach?

Any indication of pain should be taken seriously.

If the burning sensation intensifies or the dull ache continues longer than one day, you should seek medical attention. 

References

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