While it isn’t a hallmark symptom, stomach pain occurs in about 1 in 5 people with COVID-19. It might even appear before other, more common symptoms or instead of them.
The most common COVID-19 symptoms are respiratory, like cough, congestion, and breathing issues. But some people report abdominal pain. Because it’s not a common symptom, abdominal pain can sometimes make diagnosing COVID-19 difficult.
Keep reading to learn more about stomach pain as a symptom of COVID-19 and how you can treat it.
In case reports about COVID-19-related stomach pain, the symptoms are not usually different from a stomach virus or infection. The symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.
The pain could be cramping, as diarrhea is a common symptom. However, a
And while fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, people with stomach pain often
If pain was in the right upper part of the stomach, COVID-19 symptoms were usually more severe. Pain in this area could be related to liver inflammation, which can have more serious effects.
Digestive symptoms of COVID-19
While COVID-19 doesn’t usually cause digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms, these symptoms may include:
Researchers don’t know exactly why some people with COVID-19 have stomach pain while others do not. They do know that SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — binds to an enzyme in the body called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. This enzyme is present in several abdominal organs, which could cause symptoms when you have COVID-19.
Research from early in the pandemic identified cases of COVID-19 where stomach pain appeared
Still, you’re more likely to also experience symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Early research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that up to
Are some SARS-CoV-2 variants more likely to cause stomach pain?
SARS-CoV-2 has mutated over time, resulting in different variants. Each variant may cause different symptoms.
- Omicron BA.1
- Omicron BA.2
Still, it’s possible future SARS-CoV-2 variants could be more likely to cause stomach pain.
Most COVID-19 stomach pain is
- Stay hydrated by drinking water or an electrolyte-replacing beverage. If it’s tough to keep fluids down, you can try taking small sips or eating ice chips or popsicles.
- Eat foods less likely to upset your stomach, such as bananas, rice, applesauce, or plain toast.
- Get plenty of rest.
But if you start to experience bloody diarrhea, see a doctor.
Is stomach pain a symptom of long COVID?
Long COVID is when you experience new or long lasting symptoms after having COVID-19. There is still a lot to know about stomach pain and long COVID.
Research from 2022 estimates that stomach symptoms occur in
Although it’s not one of the hallmark symptoms, abdominal pain can be a result of COVID-19. The location of the pain may determine if the cause is related to the stomach or liver.
Most stomach pain-related COVID-19 symptoms should go away with time. Treatments to prevent dehydration and promote rest can help until you feel better.