Why does my stomach hurt?

Stomach aches are very common and are usually nothing serious. However, that doesn’t stop it from causing you discomfort that is difficult to ignore. Understanding what is causing your stomach aches means that you can take steps to prevent them and if needed, get the right treatment.


A common cause of stomach ache is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This is a condition that affects your digestive system and can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, cramps, diarrhoea or constipation. There is no specific cause of IBS but you may suffer from it if it runs in your family. There may be certain foods that trigger your symptoms or they may feel worse when you are stressed. Keeping a food and symptoms diary and speaking to a dietitian is a good way to manage this condition.

Food intolerance

Having a food intolerance can cause bad stomach pain as well as, diarrhoea, gas or nausea. It could be any food causing this discomfort but if you have a specific intolerance you will notice these specific symptoms after eating that specific food. If you think you have an intolerance then there are tests that you can take to find out what is causing your symptoms. Then you can work on finding what works best for you and altering your diet.


Not being able to go to the toilet can be very painful! Constipation can be caused by a lack of fibre in your diet, a change in your lifestyle or a side effect of medication. Often constipation will pass on its own but if you are having ongoing constipation then speaking to a doctor can help you.

Period pain

Anyone that has periods will know the monthly pain that often comes with them. Cramping in the stomach can usually be resolved with painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol and a hot water bottle goes a long way. If your period pain is severe and feels debilitating during your time of the month then speaking to a GP can help you with managing that pain.

Diverticular disease or Diverticulitis

This is a digestive condition that affects the large intestine. Most people will not experience any symptoms and will find out about the condition during a scan. However in more severe cases, the diverticula can become inflamed or infected and this is diverticulitis, causing more severe symptoms. You may experience constant severe tummy pain and if this is the case you should contact a GP immediately. There is not an exact known cause of diverticulitis but age, diet and lifestyle and genetics can be a cause. If you are worried in any way then speaking to a GP can help put your mind at rest.

These are just a few things that may be causing your stomach pain but there are many more reasons that you may be experiencing pain. Our doctors can conduct many tests to help get to the bottom of your symptoms. When it comes to managing digestive problems or food intolerances, our specialist dietitian can help you develop a diet that works for you.

NOTE: If you are experiencing severe, debilitating pain you should contact emergency services immediately.