How to Differ the Stomach Ache and Abdominal Pain?

A stomach ache is a term often used to refer to cramps or a dull ache in the tummy (abdomen). It’s usually short-lived and is often not serious.

Severe abdominal pain is a greater cause for concern. If it starts suddenly and unexpectedly, it should be regarded as a medical emergency, especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area.

Serious causes of sudden severe abdominal pain include:

appendicitis – the swelling of the appendix (a finger-like pouch connected to the large intestine), which causes agonising pain in the lower right-hand side of your abdomen, and means your appendix will need to be removed.

a bleeding or perforated stomach ulcer – a bleeding, open sore in the lining of your stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).

acute cholecystitis – inflammation of the gallbladder, which is often caused by gallstones, in many cases, your gallbladder will need to be removed.

kidney stones – small stones may be passed out in your urine, but larger stones may block the kidney tubes, and you’ll need to go to hospital to have them broken up.

diverticulitis – inflammation of the small pouches in the bowel that sometimes requires treatment with antibiotics in hospital.

If this is the case phone your GP as soon as possible, or the 111 service if your GP is closed.

If you feel pain in the area around your ribs, read about chest pain for information and advice.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.