Stomach pain can appear in varying intensities and can be of different types. Stomach pain can be acute, cramping pain or long standing pain with burning sensation. Pain in the stomach may or may not be related to eating food or some particular food items. Sometimes, stomach pain may be associated with other complaints like overall discomfort, bowel disturbances, nausea, vomiting and pain or regurgitation in the throat.
Burning pain in stomach can occur due to various causes, commonly encountered in your daily lives or may be an expression of a serious concern. It may be an indication of something going wrong within your stomach, beginning from the throat to the bowels.
Some of the common causes of burning pain in stomach include:
Burning Pain in Stomach Caused due to Hyperacidity
Increased acid secretion due to various reasons can cause burning sensation or pain in the stomach. Inadequate food, skipping meals, untimely eating of food, indigestion can cause hyperacidity, which causes burning pain in the stomach. Certain conditions like reflux esophagitis (GERD) may have to be ruled out.
Over the counter medicines that relieve acidity, improve digestion and promote effective motility may be advised. Properly planned diet with bland food and resting in an upright position can help.
Burning Pain in Stomach Caused due to Gastritis
Gastric mucosa can get disrupted leading to soreness and ulcers due to certain causes. Gastritis causes burning pain when acid in the stomach comes in contact with them. Burning pain in stomach may be felt when the stomach is empty, at night or with changes in the dietary patterns. Sometimes, pain may also be felt while or after eating food, possibly due to irritation of the mucosa due to the food and gastric acid.
Proper diet and medications that help in relieving inflammation and healing of ulcers is recommended. Additional care and medicines to prevent formation of ulcers is also important.
Burning Pain in Stomach Caused due to H. Pylori Infection – Peptic Ulcers
Sometimes, peptic ulcers can be caused due to an attack of bacteria called H. Pylori. These bacteria tend to damage the protective lining of the gastric mucosa and cause ulcers in the stomach and duodenum. Burning sensation and pain is felt in the stomach or towards the right side of the navel.
This needs to be treated with appropriate antibiotics and medications to reduce acid secretion and to promote healing of ulcers.
Burning Pain in Stomach Caused due to Food Allergy
Sometimes, burning stomach pain may be experienced due to consumption of certain foods that do not suit the stomach well. If one is allergic to the food or has intolerance, it can result in abdominal discomfort and burning pain. It may also be associated with nausea, vomiting, loose stools and other signs of allergies.
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment to fight the allergic response and soothe the stomach would be prescribed.
Burning Pain in Stomach Caused due to Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis or any stomach infection, can damage the stomach lining causing burning pain in stomach. In case, the food eaten was contaminated or infected with bacteria, virus or others, it results in a gastric infection. This may be associated with vomiting, loose motions and painful burning sensation in the stomach. Pain or discomfort may be more when passing stools.
Infections often need to be treated with antibiotics and other medicines to relieve burning stomach pain.
Treatment Induced Burning Pain in Stomach
Some medications like pain-killers or other drugs can damage the inner lining of the stomach mucosa and increase the chances of gastritis. Certain treatment procedures, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also affect the gastric tissues and cause burning pain.
It is better to avoid medications unless necessary and any such pain should be reported immediately.
Lifestyle as a Cause of Burning Pain in Stomach
Lifestyle factors like reduced sleep, increased stress or certain dietary choices may cause increased acid secretion, leading to burning pain in the stomach. Stress and lack of adequate sleep are believed to be involved in causing gastric disturbances, digestion problems and can cause burning sensation due to indigestion and increased acid release in the stomach. Lifestyle preferences like smoking, alcohol, excessively spiced or fried foods too can contribute to burning pain in stomach.
Planning a healthy lifestyle, making healthier dietary choices, timely meals, quitting smoking and controlling the intake of alcohol is essential. Yoga, meditation and exercises can help in managing stress and should be followed under expert’s guidance.
Other Causes of Burning Pain in Stomach
Some other causes like certain types of hernia or other esophageal and gastric conditions, too can cause burning pain in stomach and should be appropriately evaluated.
Managing Burning Pain in Stomach
Certain conditions can be serious and should be evaluated in time. Ulcers can perforate and create a medical emergency. Other causes, too, can worsen, if not treated properly.
Your physician may order investigations like imaging studies, barium studies and endoscopies to find the exact cause of burning pain in stomach. Appropriate treatment may be decided accordingly.
A diet, which includes bland foods like rice, crackers, water and eliminates spicy foods, stimulants, fermented and citrus foods may be advised.
- Mayo Clinic. (2020, September 17). Peptic Ulcer. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peptic-ulcer/symptoms-causes/syc-20354223
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2018, November). Gastritis. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gastritis
- Food Allergy. (2021, January). American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. https://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies
- Teranishi, K. S., Fass, R., & Harada, T. (2016). Review: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Beyond Acid Suppression. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 22(1), 25-30. doi:10.5056/jnm15117
- Ahmad, S., & Wilson, I. D. (2013). Role of Physical Exercise and Stress Management in the Control of Gastrointestinal Function. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, 27(3), 363-371. doi:10.1016/j.bpg.2013.05.010