Stomach ache

Most stomach aches are not anything serious and will go away after a few days.

Common causes of stomach ache

These are some common types of stomach ache and what may be causing them. But see a GP if you're unsure and worried.

Types of stomach ache and possible common causes
Type of stomach ache Possible condition

Feeling bloated, farting a lot

Trapped wind (flatulence)

Feeling full and bloated after eating, heartburn, feeling sick


Cannot poo


Watery poo, feeling sick, vomiting

Stomach bug or food poisoning

A pharmacist can help with stomach ache

Speak to a pharmacist about:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • a stomach ache gets much worse quickly
  • stomach pain or bloating will not go away or keeps coming back
  • you have stomach pain and problems with swallowing food
  • you're losing weight without trying to
  • you suddenly pee more often or less often
  • peeing is suddenly painful
  • you bleed from your bottom or vagina, or have abnormal discharge from your vagina
  • you have diarrhoea that does not go away after a few days

Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E if:

  • a stomach ache came on very suddenly or is severe
  • it hurts when you touch your stomach
  • you're vomiting blood or your vomit looks like ground coffee
  • your poo is bloody or black and sticky and extremely smelly
  • you cannot pee
  • you cannot poo or fart
  • you cannot breathe
  • you have chest pain
  • you have diabetes and you're vomiting
  • someone has collapsed
What we mean by severe pain
Severe pain:
  • always there and so bad it's hard to think or talk
  • you cannot sleep
  • it's very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
Moderate pain:
  • always there
  • makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
  • you can manage to get up, wash or dress
Mild pain:
  • comes and goes
  • is annoying but does not stop you doing daily activities

Other causes of stomach ache

Do not self-diagnose. See a GP if you're worried.

Types of stomach ache and possible less common causes
Type of stomach ache Possible condition

Pain and cramps when you have your period

Period pain

Sudden pain in the lower right-hand side


Ongoing cramps, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Bad ongoing pain that can go down to your groin, nausea, pain when peeing

Kidney stones

Severe pain that lasts for hours in the centre of your tummy or just under the ribs on the right-hand side


Page last reviewed: 26 May 2023
Next review due: 26 May 2026