Stomach Pain: When to Worry About Stomach Ache

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Everyone gets a stomach ache — or abdominal pain — from time to time. Usually, stomach pains are harmless conditions caused by overeating, gas, or indigestion. Frequent or recurring stomach pain is often due to stress and worry, even in children. But can point to more serious medical problems like pancreatic diseases.

Sometimes a simple #stomachache can be a sign of something more serious. Learn more. Click To Tweet

Harmless abdominal pain usually subsides or goes away within two hours. If you have the stomach flu, your stomach may hurt before each episode of vomiting or diarrhea. In serious cases, the pain worsens or becomes constant.

This diagram illustrates the types of abdominal conditions you may have based on the location of the pain.


According to gastroenterologists at UPMC, you should call your primary care physician if mild pain lasts more than a couple of days, or if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms.

Get medical help immediately if:

  • You have abdominal pain that is very sharp, severe, and sudden.
  • You also have pain in the chest, neck,or shoulder.
  • You’re vomiting blood or have bloody diarrhea.
  • Your abdomen is stiff, hard, and tender to the touch.
  • You can’t move your bowels, especially if you’re also vomiting.

Bottom line: Trust your gut! Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about lingering or unusual stomach pain.

digestive disorders

Digestive Disorders

The Digestive Disorders Center (DDC) is a convenient point of access to the full range of digestive health care services available at UPMC. Our team has expertise in treatments for inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as swallowing disorders, gastrointestinal cancer, and liver, pancreatic, and biliary diseases. Read More