Why Do I Keep Getting Waves of Pain in My Stomach?

Reviewed on 4/13/2022
A man's bulging stomach
Common causes of stomach pain include appendicitis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, bowel blockage, cancer, celiac disease, cholecystitis, constipation, diverticulitis/diverticulosis, food poisoning, gallstones, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and others.

Stomach pain, or abdominal pain, can range from bloating and indigestion to severe and sharp, stabbing pain. 

There are many possible causes of waves of pain in your stomach. Common conditions that can cause stomach pain include:

What Are Symptoms of Stomach Pains?

Symptoms of waves of pain in your stomach depend on the cause.

Pain may be dull or sharp, intermittent or constant, mild or severe. Pain may be felt in any part of the abdomen, and can also radiate to other areas such as the back, flank, or shoulder.

Symptoms that may accompany waves of stomach pain may include: 

  • Nausea
  • Feeling unwell (malaise)
  • Abdominal distention/bloating
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Sweating
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Urinary problems
  • Altered bowel habits
  • Pelvic pain

If you experience any of the following symptoms when you have waves of stomach pain, see a doctor as these may be a sign of a more serious condition:

  • Pain is severe and lasts more than an hour or comes and goes for more than 24 hours
  • Pain starts suddenly
  • Bloody bowel movements
  • Black, tarry stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting (may include vomiting blood)
  • Inability to eat or drink for several hours
  • Fever greater than 102°f (39°c)
  • Weight loss without trying 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling a lump in the abdomen


Super Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More See Slideshow

What Is the Treatment for Stomach Pain?

There is no single treatment for waves of stomach pain. Treatment varies widely and depends on the specific cause.

Most of the time, waves of stomach pain can be treated at home by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids so urine is a pale yellow or clear color
  • Consuming clear liquids in frequent, small amounts
  • If vomiting occurs, start with small sips of water or sucking on ice chips and if these are well tolerated, try:
    • Diluted juices such as apple, grape, cherry, or cranberry (avoid citrus juices)
    • Sports drinks
    • Clear, non-caffeinated sodas such as ginger ale, 7-Up, or Sprite 
    • Clear soup broth or bouillon
    • Popsicles
    • Decaffeinated tea
  • If fluids are tolerated, bland solid foods may be slowly added, such as the BRAT diet
    • Bananas
    • Rice, white
    • Applesauce
    • Toast, plain or with only jelly or honey if desired
  • Avoid:
    • Spicy foods
    • Fatty or greasy foods
    • Dairy products
    • Whole grains 
    • Raw vegetables
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help relieve certain symptoms associated with waves of stomach pain. Talk to your doctor to determine which medication might be best for your situation. 

If waves of pain in your stomach is caused by a specific medical problem, such as an ulcer, treatments for that problem can help relieve symptoms. 

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Reviewed on 4/13/2022
Image Source: iStock Images