Stomach pain and nausea often occur together. Typically, these two symptoms are a sign of indigestion or food poisoning, which should resolve with time. If nausea and stomach pain linger for more than 24 hours, talk with a healthcare professional.
Although there are still many conditions that can cause stomach pain and nausea at the same time, some are more common than others.
Most of these conditions aren’t an emergency, and will often go away on their own. But if your symptoms persist — especially if they return after you eat — or your stomach pain or nausea are severe, call a doctor.
Learn possible causes of concurrent stomach pain and nausea, and how the causes are treated.
Some conditions that cause stomach pain and nausea come on suddenly and may go away quickly, while others may be long-term. Some are also more severe than others. Your other symptoms may help you determine the underlying cause.
Indigestion is also called upset stomach. It can be caused by eating too fast or eating certain foods, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, or stress. Sometimes, indigestion is a sign of an underlying gastrointestinal condition, such as acid reflux.
In addition to nausea and stomach pain, you may have:
There are more than 250 types of food poisoning, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms of food poisoning usually include:
Symptoms can develop within hours or may take days, depending on which type of food poisoning you have. Most go away on their own within a few days.
Other potential physical symptoms of anxiety include constipation and diarrhea.
Viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as the “stomach flu,” is an infection in your intestines. You can pick up the virus by sharing food or eating utensils, touching contaminated surfaces and objects, or coming in contact with bodily fluids of someone who has it. Most cases will go away on their own within a few days.
Other symptoms include:
- watery diarrhea
- stomach cramps
You usually get norovirus either through contact with someone else who has it, or by consuming contaminated food or water. In fact, it’s the leading cause of foodborne illness.
Symptoms of norovirus usually develop 12 to 48 hours after you’re exposed. They usually go away on their own in 1 to 3 days.
Your gallbladder is an organ that makes bile. The substances in bile can stick together and form gallstones. These often don’t cause any issues, but they can get stuck in your bile duct. This blocks the outflow of bile, which causes your gallbladder to spasm and leads to symptoms.
Pain from a gallbladder attack is knife-like and often occurs after eating. Other symptoms include:
Many kidney stones pass out of your system with no trouble, while others get stuck and may cause nausea, stomach pain and other symptoms, such as:
When the appendix is blocked, it swells and blood flow stops. This causes the appendix to die. It can then burst, which is a medical emergency. Seek emergency treatment if you have the following symptoms:
Adhesions cause your internal tissue and organs to stick together, and are common after abdominal surgery. They often resolve themselves, but may block part of your intestine or pull the intestine out of place.
A complete intestinal blockage is a medical emergency. Go to the emergency room if you recently had abdominal surgery and have any of the following symptoms, in addition to nausea and stomach pain:
- inability to pass gas
Heart attacks happen when something blocks your heart from getting enough blood, which causes damage to the heart muscle.
Chest pain is the most well-known symptom of a heart attack, but some people also have stomach pain and nausea. These symptoms are more common in women.
Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you are experiencing stomach pain, nausea, and other symptoms like:
Recurring causes of stomach pain and nausea include:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal function disorder that affects how your gastrointestinal system works. It’s not life-threatening, but may affect the quality of life of those who have it.
The main symptom of IBS is off-and-on pain. Most people have either diarrhea or constipation, as well as bloating. Nausea is also a common symptom, especially in women. Sometimes symptoms may actually be caused by conditions that often overlap with IBS, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Gastritis is when your stomach lining becomes inflamed. It may go away quickly, but can also last for years. Common causes include:
Other symptoms of gastritis include:
- loss of appetite
- black stools, or stools different in color from usual bowel movements
Different types of cancer can cause stomach pain and nausea as a symptom. Additional symptoms of cancer include decreased appetite and sudden weight loss.
Stomach pain and nausea can happen at various times of day, in many situations. But some of the most common are after eating, at night, and in the morning. Here are some conditions that can cause stomach pains and nausea at those times:
Stomach pain and nausea after eating
- gallbladder attack
- food poisoning
Stomach pain and nausea at night
- food poisoning
- gallbladder attack
Stomach pain and nausea in the morning
- food poisoning
First, a doctor will take a full medical history. This includes asking you about:
- your symptoms
- when symptoms started
- what, if anything, makes symptoms better or worse
- when symptoms are at their worst
They’ll also do a physical exam, focusing on your abdominal area.
A medical history and physical exam are often enough to diagnose the cause of stomach pain and nausea. But if a doctor still isn’t sure what’s causing your symptoms, or they want confirmation, they might order one of the following tests:
Which tests they order will depend on your other symptoms.
Different causes of stomach pain and nausea will require different treatments. However, there are some treatments that can be used for multiple underlying conditions of these symptoms. In addition, some conditions may have multiple treatments, depending on their severity.
Some of the most common treatments include:
Some conditions that cause stomach pain and nausea will eventually go away on their own, including:
- food poisoning
- small kidney stones
- minor abdominal adhesions
What you eat and drink can have a big impact on how your stomach feels. For example, your doctor might recommend that you reduce the amount of fat or salt in your diet. Making changes to your diet can help relieve symptoms of:
Some conditions that cause stomach pain and nausea can be treated with medication, including:
Some conditions that cause stomach pain and nausea may require surgery, including:
If you have stomach pain and nausea at the same time, you should see a doctor if you:
- have been vomiting or have had diarrhea and have symptoms of severe dehydration (such as confusion, fainting, lack of urination, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing)
- aren’t passing any fluids, gas, or stool
- have chest pain, especially on the left side of your chest
- have other signs of a heart attack (see above)
- feel severe abdominal pain, especially if it comes on suddenly
- have pain that doesn’t go away after a few hours
- feel stomach pain and nausea after every meal
Although nausea and stomach pain are common, having both at the same time can help you narrow down what might be causing your symptoms. Many of these conditions will go away with time, but if you have severe pain or pain and nausea that last for a long time, you should see a doctor.