Published On By Rachel Nall


Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Wake Up?

Some people may experience a slight to moderate sensation of stomach pain upon waking up. Fortunately, most cases of stomach pain post-waking are not a cause for serious concern.

However, understanding the underlying causes and knowing when to seek medical attention is essential for managing and alleviating such discomfort.

A common cause is indigestion, which may cause discomfort in the upper abdomen. Certain digestive health concerns like constipation, acid reflux, or peptic (stomach) ulcers might also contribute to stomach pain upon waking up.

This article will discuss the potential causes why your stomach hurts when you wake up. It will also provide evidence-based strategies, preventive tips, and guidelines to manage morning stomach pain.

Stomach Pain Symptoms

Some people may experience a dull, achy pain in their stomach upon waking up. It is often described as abdominal discomfort or feeling full in the stomach area.

Common signs of stomach pain may include a bloating or distended belly, chest pain, dark or bloody stools, persistent fever, or unexplained weight loss.

In many instances, post-waking stomach pain might resolve independently without any specific treatment.

12 Causes of Stomach Pain When Waking Up

  1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic digestive condition characterized by gastrointestinal tract inflammation, often leading to morning stomach pain.

    Along with morning stomach pain, people with IBD may experience diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and urgent bowel movements. These symptoms could vary in severity and may fluctuate in periods of flareups and remission.

    Although there is no cure for IBD, it might be managed with a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery. Medications like immune system suppressors, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory drugs are employed to help manage it.

    If left untreated, IBD might lead to complications such as bowel obstructions, malnutrition, fistulas (abnormal connections between organs), and an increased risk of colon cancer. It could also affect other body parts, including the joints, skin, and eyes.

  2. Indigestion

    Indigestion (or dyspepsia) is a prevalent digestive disorder that may cause discomfort in the upper abdomen, often accompanied by signs like a feeling of fullness, bloating, or gas.

    Factors like overeating, certain medications, and consuming fatty or spicy foods may contribute to indigestion onset. These factors may lead to excessive production of stomach acid, which irritates the stomach lining and causes indigestion symptoms like stomach pain.

    Decreasing the consumption of processed foods, increasing the intake of fibrous foods, and limiting spicy or fat-rich foods could help alleviate indigestion symptoms.

    Consult a doctor if the indigestion symptoms persist or deteriorate. Also, refer to your healthcare provider if other concerning symptoms, such as unintended weight loss or difficulty swallowing, accompany indigestion.

  3. Peptic Ulcers

    Peptic ulcers are small sores that could form in a person’s small intestine. You may experience a dull or burning stomach pain upon waking up in the morning.

    The Helicobacter pylori bacteria may cause an infestation, leading to peptic ulcers. Overusing anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin might also lead to peptic ulcers.

    Peptic ulcers may cause nausea, excessive burping, or vomiting, which could vary in severity and frequency.

  4. Constipation

    Constipation is a prevalent digestive condition that may cause abdominal discomfort. It occurs when bowel movements tend to become infrequent or difficult to pass.

    During constipation, the stool becomes hard and dry, making it difficult to pass through the intestines. The increased pressure in the abdomen might lead to discomfort and pain. It may cause bloating and a feeling of fullness, contributing to morning stomach pain.

    Treatment for constipation may include over-the-counter laxatives that help soften the stool and support regular bowel movements. In some instances, prescription medicines could be required to manage constipation.

  5. Food Allergies

    Allergies to specific food(s) could be unpleasant and might lead to symptoms like nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, or wheezing.

    An intolerance or allergy to dairy, wheat, soy, shellfish, gluten, or nuts might cause stomach pain. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder aggravated by gluten, could also lead to stomach pain.

    Managing food allergies requires avoiding trigger foods and finding suitable substitutes. It is also important to read food labels carefully and inform restaurants or food establishments about your allergies.

    Consult a doctor if you experience severe or chronic stomach pain upon waking up. They could help diagnose the underlying cause of the pain and provide appropriate treatment options.

  6. Pancreatitis

    Pancreatitis is a digestive condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas, which might cause severe stomach pain, particularly after eating.

    When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it may lead to symptoms, including sharp pain in the stomach or back, nausea, fever, vomiting, and a swollen or tender belly.

  7. Period Pain

    Period pain, also called menstrual cramps, could be a source of morning stomach pain and may significantly impact daily activities. It typically manifests as stomach cramps.

    The uterus contractions may cause these cramps as the uterus sheds its lining during menstruation. The severity of the cramps might vary from mild to severe, and they could be accompanied by bloating.

    Doing gentle exercises, like yoga or brisk walking, may help improve blood circulation and reduce discomfort. Abdominal massage techniques could provide relief by relaxing tense muscles.

  8. Acid Reflux

    Acid reflux, or GERD, causes a backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It often results in a burning sensation in the chest and stomach pain, which may occur after waking up.

    Signs of acid reflux could vary but commonly include stomach pain, a bad taste in the mouth, heartburn, nausea, and bloating.

    A small study found that almost half of GERD patients (who participated in the study) had an acid reflux flareup within the first 20 minutes of waking up.

    Eating smaller and more frequent meals, avoiding overeating, and reducing anxiety may help minimize GERD symptoms.

  9. Food Poisoning

    Food poisoning could occur after consuming contaminated food, inducing symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. Such contamination may occur during food preparation, processing, or storage.

    The signs of food poisoning usually appear within a few hours to a few days after consuming contaminated food.

    Along with stomach pain, cramps, and vomiting, people may experience nausea, fever, and fatigue. Staying hydrated by drinking water and resting properly may help reduce food poisoning symptoms.

  10. Gastritis

    Gastritis is a digestive disorder characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. Factors such as infections, excessive use of certain pain relievers, or alcohol overconsumption might induce gastritis.

    When the stomach lining becomes inflamed, it may lead to stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, and feelings of fullness in the upper abdomen. Gastritis may worsen after eating, so you may experience more pronounced stomach pain after breakfast.

    A gastrointestinal bacterial infestation might also cause gastritis. H. pylori is a common bacterial strain that could damage the stomach lining and lead to gastritis symptoms. These symptoms may induce stomach pain upon waking up (in the morning).

  11. Diverticulitis

    Diverticulitis is characterized by the inflammation and infection of small sacs that develop in the wall of the large intestine. It may cause significant discomfort and pain.

    One of the primary signs of diverticulitis is stomach pain, typically near the lower left side of the abdomen. The pain might range from mild to intense and could be accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, fever, constipation, and vomiting.

  12. Gallstones

    Gallstones, small formations primarily composed of cholesterol, may develop in the gallbladder and cause various symptoms and complications.

    The presence of gallstones could lead to symptoms, including stomach pain in the center or upper right of the abdomen, nausea, shoulder pain, and vomiting. These symptoms typically occur when a gallstone is trapped in a duct in the gallbladder, causing a blockage and inflammation.

    In some instances, gallstones might lead to more severe complications, such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), cholangitis (infection of the bile ducts), or cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder).

Strategies To Treat Morning Stomach Pain

  • Adopting healthy lifestyle changes that could promote good gut health and help manage and subside morning stomach pain.
  • Supporting your gastrointestinal health might help reduce the chances of experiencing stomach pain in the morning.
  • Staying hydrated is a prerequisite for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
  • Eating a well-rounded, nutritious diet with plenty of fiber, vegetables, and fruits is also essential.
  • Eat smaller meals and avoid overeating, which could strain the digestive system.
  • Avoiding trigger foods that usually cause gastrointestinal symptoms, like processed and spicy foods, could help alleviate morning stomach pain.
  • Limiting excessive alcohol and caffeine intake is recommended, as these substances may irritate the stomach lining.
  • Regular exercise may stimulate regular bowel movements and aid healthy digestion.

Also Check:

Is Morning Stomach Pain Harmless?

Morning stomach pain is usually harmless and temporary. It is often caused by hunger or occasional indigestion, which could be easily resolved.

However, it could be accompanied by concerning symptoms such as vomiting blood, sudden or sharp pain, difficulty breathing, tender or rigid stomach, or ongoing diarrhea. Such cases might require immediate medical attention.

Persistent stomach pain may indicate underlying conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, or pelvic inflammatory disease. These conditions are manageable, but getting a doctor’s consultation is essential if the pain persists.

However, if the pain is severe or frequent, or the symptoms worsen over time, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation.

How To Fall Back To Sleep?

Falling back to sleep after experiencing stomach or abdominal pain might be challenging due to the discomfort and potential accompanying symptoms. However, specific strategies could help you find relief and promote restful sleep.

  1. Use antacids: Antacids can neutralize stomach acid and prevent acid buildup at night. These medications may help settle the stomach acidity and subside pain before going back to sleep.
  2. Switch to a different sleep position: Trying different sleep positions may help reduce muscle contractions and promote normal digestive movement. Switching from sleeping on the stomach to sleeping on your left side might ease GERD discomfort.
  3. Use heat therapy: Placing a warm water bottle or heating pad over the pain-stricken area could help relieve abdominal pain and promote relaxation.
  4. Employ relaxation techniques: Practicing deep breathing, meditation, or other relaxation techniques may help calm the mind and relax the body, reducing discomfort and promoting a sense of calmness.
  5. Create a conducive sleep environment: Excessive light during bedtime may reduce melatonin levels, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Therefore, dim the lights in your bedroom to avoid the chances of waking up at night.

When To See A Doctor?

If you experience severe or persistent morning stomach pain, it is necessary to seek medical attention as it might be indicative of a more severe abdominal condition.

Most cases of stomach pain in the morning are harmless and resolve independently. However, specific symptoms should not be ignored. Here are four signs that indicate it’s time to see a doctor:

  • Vomiting blood: If you observe blood in your vomit, it could be a sign of internal bleeding or a stomach ulcer, requiring immediate medical attention.
  • Difficulty breathing: Stomach pain accompanied by difficulty breathing may indicate a more severe issue, such as a heart or lung problem. Seeking medical help is crucial in this situation.
  • Sharp or sudden pain in the abdomen: If you experience intense and sudden pain near the abdominal area, it might be a sign of a medical emergency, like appendicitis or a ruptured organ. Prompt medical attention is necessary.
  • Can’t pass stool and vomiting: The inability to pass stool and vomiting could indicate a bowel obstruction. It requires medical intervention to prevent further complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can Stress or Anxiety Cause Stomach Pain in the Morning?
    Stress and anxiety could contribute to stomach pain in the morning. The body’s stress response might increase stomach acid production and muscle tension, which may cause discomfort.
  2. Is There a Link Between Poor Sleep Quality and Morning Stomach Pain?
    There is a potential link between impaired sleep quality and morning stomach pain. Factors such as disrupted sleep patterns, anxiety, and stress could contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms upon waking.
  3. Can Certain Medications Contribute to Stomach Pain Upon Waking Up?
    Certain medications, like antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and some antidepressants, may contribute to stomach pain post-waking. Consult a doctor before taking any medicines to minimize the risk of medical interactions.
  4. What Are Some Home Remedies That Can Help Alleviate Morning Stomach Pain?
    Some home remedies that might help reduce morning stomach pain include reducing alcohol intake, spicy/fatty foods, and caffeine. Eating smaller meals, managing stress levels, and trying ginger ale or peppermint tea could also help subside morning stomach pain.


Various factors, including peptic ulcers, IBS, gastrointestinal disorders, or food poisoning, may induce conclusion stomach pain upon waking up.

Mild or occasional morning stomach pain may subside on its own. However, persistent or severe episodes may require medical intervention.

Identifying the symptoms associated with morning stomach pain is vital in determining the severity of the condition. Some treatment strategies may include over-the-counter medications, dietary adjustments, or targeted interventions.

Increasing your water intake, consuming a fiber-rich diet, exercising regularly, and adhering to a consistent sleep schedule could minimize morning stomach pain.

  • The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as 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.
  • Consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before using the product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *