Stomach ache

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

Common causes of stomach ache

Talk to your GP if you're worried about your stomach ache.

Common causes of stomach ache include:

  • farting (flatulence) - feeling bloated or farting a lot
  • indigestion - feeling full and bloated after eating, heartburn or feeling sick
  • constipation - cannot poo
  • diarrhoea or food poisoning - watery poo, feeling sick or vomiting

When to see a pharmacist

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • what might be causing your stomach ache
  • treatments that might help
  • medicines for constipation and indigestion

When to see your GP

Talk to your GP if you have a stomach ache and:

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

When to go to the emergency department (ED)

You should go to your nearest ED if:

  • your 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, sticky and extremely smelly
  • you cannot pee
  • you cannot poo or fart
  • you cannot breathe
  • you have chest pain
  • you're diabetic and vomiting

If you see someone collapse with a stomach ache, call 999 or 112, or take them to the nearest ED.

Other causes of stomach ache

Do not self-diagnose, talk to your GP if you're worried about your stomach ache.

Stomach ache could also be caused by:

  • period pain - pain and cramps when you have your period
  • appendicitis - sudden pain in the centre or lower right-hand side of your tummy
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - continuing cramps, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation
  • kidney stones - bad continuing pain that can go down to your groin, nausea or pain when peeing
  • gallstones - severe pain that lasts for hours in the centre of your tummy or just under the ribs on the right-hand side


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

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