October 13, 2023

Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Wake Up?

Starting your day off with stomach pain can leave you not only uncomfortable but confused. If you’ve wondered, “Why does my stomach hurt when I wake up early?” you may have found yourself concerned. Luckily, most of the common causes of stomach pain when waking up are not serious.

However, it’s important to understand these causes and keep a watchful eye for more serious stomach pains that require medical attention. Below, this guide will help break down five of the most common causes of stomach pain in the morning, prevention tips, and how to know when it’s time to seek medical help.


Symptoms Associated with Stomach Pain

Stomach pain can affect every person differently, causing a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms. You may experience throbbing, stabbing, twisting, or aching pains in your stomach upon waking up. For others, the pain may be described more as a dull or cramping pain.

While these symptoms can certainly be uncomfortable, it’s important to remain calm and avoid panicking. Most of these symptoms are not serious and will likely resolve on their own. As you experience stomach pain, remind yourself that the severity of your stomach pain does not always correlate to the seriousness of the medical condition.

5 Common Causes of Stomach Pain When Waking Up

Before becoming alarmed, consider these five common causes of stomach pain upon waking up.

1. Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are small sores that can form in a person’s small intestine. Many people do not know they have peptic ulcers, as they do not cause symptoms in everyone. For those who do experience symptoms, a dull or burning stomach pain may be experienced upon waking up in the morning.

You might experience other symptoms that accompany stomach pain if you have peptic ulcers, such as nausea, vomiting, or excessive burping. Peptic ulcers can be diagnosed by a healthcare professional by utilizing appropriate testing.

2. Constipation

Constipation can put pressure on your abdomen, making it one of the most common causes of stomach pain. If you’re experiencing difficulty passing stools, feelings of incomplete bowel movements, or lumpy, hard stools alongside your stomach pain, you may be suffering from constipation. Seeking appropriate treatment to manage your constipation can help alleviate recurring stomach pain.

3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a condition that causes a person’s GI tract to become inflamed. There are three types of IBD, all of which may cause stomach pain upon waking up in the morning.

Typically, a person with an inflammatory bowel disease will also experience other uncomfortable GI symptoms alongside stomach pain, such as weight loss, fatigue, or blood in the stool. If you suspect you may have IBD, make an appointment to speak with your Healthcare Associates of Texas provider.


4. Indigestion

Indigestion can cause stomach pain, accompanied by other digestive symptoms such as bloating or gas. Although uncomfortable, this common cause of stomach pain is not serious and will resolve on its own. Specific foods can cause indigestion or also result from specific lifestyle factors, such as smoking or high stress levels.

5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a common digestive disorder that can cause recurring abdominal pain. This condition causes changes in bowel movements, alongside diarrhea or constipation. This GI condition cannot be cured. However, it can be managed with lifestyle modifications and supportive medical treatments.

Other Causes of Stomach Pain

Common viral illnesses, such as the flu, can also cause temporary stomach pain.

Ways to Treat Stomach Pain in the Morning

Waking up to find your stomach aches can make it difficult to get up and continue about your day’s events. For mild stomach aches and pains, taking over-the-counter medications may help provide relief.

Stomach pains that are associated with specific conditions, such as irritable bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may require targeted interventions and medications prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Regardless of the reason for your stomach pain, it’s important to remain hydrated to help ease your pain. When eating, opt for bland, easy-to-digest foods and avoid drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages. Applying heat (such as a hot water bottle, heating pad, or heated blanket) to the area that hurts may also provide temporary relief.


Ways to Prevent Stomach Pain in the Morning

While it’s not always possible to prevent stomach pain, supporting your gastrointestinal health can help reduce your chances of experiencing stomach pain in the morning. Consider the following components of good gut health:

  • Staying hydrated throughout the day
  • Eating a well-rounded, nutritious diet
  • Limiting excessive alcohol intake or caffeine intake
  • Consuming enough fiber
  • Eating lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising daily
  • Avoiding foods that are known to cause GI symptoms
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Avoiding overeating
  • Avoiding processed foods

If you have been diagnosed with a specific gastrointestinal condition, adhering to your doctor’s recommendations can help you to manage your symptoms.

When to See a Clinician

Most cases of stomach pains and aches are not harmful and will go away on their own in time. However, it’s important to take severe stomach pain that is not resolving seriously. If you awake in the middle of the night with stomach pain, you may need to seek medical care.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms in conjunction with stomach pain, seek medical help right away:

  • Vomiting blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sharp or sudden pain in the abdomen
  • Can’t pass stools and are vomiting
  • Tender stomach
  • Stomach that is hard or rigid to the touch
  • Pain between shoulder blades

These symptoms may indicate a more serious abdominal condition that requires prompt medical attention. Individuals who are undergoing cancer treatment or pregnant women should also seek medical help when experiencing stomach pain upon waking. Although less severe, pay close attention to other symptoms alongside stomach pain, such as a high fever, ongoing diarrhea, loss of appetite, or excessive urination. These symptoms should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Tired of wondering, “Why does my stomach hurt when I wake up?” The doctors at Healthcare Associates of Texas are here to help! We can help you identify and manage the cause of your stomach pain in the morning. Contact us to make an appointment at your nearest clinic location.




  1. https://www.verywellhealth.com/waking-up-with-stomach-pain-5215940#toc-when-to-see-a-healthcare-provider
  2. https://www.verywellhealth.com/severe-stomach-pain-when-to-go-to-the-er-1945282

The information featured in this site is general in nature. The site provides health information designed to complement your personal health management. It does not provide medical advice or health services and is not meant to replace professional advice or imply coverage of specific clinical services or products. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on such websites.

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Posted in: Gastroenterology