What Causes Sudden Stomach Pain At Night?

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You can book an appointment with a top Gastroenterologist in Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad through oladoc.com or call our helpline at 042 38900939

Nobody likes waking up to stomach pain in the night. But it is a common occurrence that usually indicates a harmless digestive issue that is easily corrected with minor lifestyle changes or OTC medication.

For some however, this sudden stomach pain at night might indicate a more serious condition. Read on for some of the possible reasons, from common to less frequent, for your nighttime stomach pain:

1-Menstrual Cramps or Endometriosis:

Shedding of the uterine lining during menstruation might explain the sudden nightly cramps during your period. However, while period cramps aren’t usually a cause for concern, long-lasting menstrual cramps may also indicate endometriosis.

In this condition, the internal uterine tissue starts growing outside the uterus, resulting in heavy periods, and even infertility, if left untreated.


Perhaps the most common cause of sudden abdominal night pain, it is usually identified by sharp, stabbing sensations in the stomach and upper abdomen. Late night eating is a major contributor towards nighttime gas, as digestion slows down at night, leaving the food partially or improperly digested.


The second most common cause of nightly, and even regular stomach pain, constipation results from a buildup of waste products in the colon. This puts excess pressure on the colon and causes it to stretch, resulting in abdomen-wide pain.

4-Pulled or Strained Tissue/Muscle:

If you have a previous muscular, joint, or bone injury, lying down can put pressure on the injured parts, which further intensifies and often spreads the pain to the abdomen. Even the pain of sore muscles, such as after continuous, intense abdominal exercise, can change blood flow and be amplified.

5-Food Intolerance:

Your food allergies can also force you to wake up during the night. Intolerance of, or allergies to certain foods, like gluten and lactose, can result in constipation, gas, diarrhea, bloating, and cramps; all of which cause stomach pain.

6-Food Poisoning:

Your stomach pain may also be a result of eating contaminated or spoiled food. Such foods cause reactions in the gut, triggering vomiting, nausea, fever, chills, and/or diarrhea, which contribute towards stomach pain. However, consider food poisoning only if these symptoms occur within a few hours of eating and last longer than 24 hours despite OTC and home care.

7-Kidney Stones:

If you experience sharp stabbing pain that starts from the mid-back and spreads towards the stomach and abdomen, then kidney stones may be the culprit. This usually happens when the stone shifts from the kidney to the ureter, resulting in severe and intense pain.

Also look out for blood in urine if you suspect a kidney stone.

8-Cardiac Event:

Albeit rare, sudden stomach pain may also indicate a heart attack or other cardiac event, especially if you have myocardial ischemia (blood flow obstruction due to blocked arteries). In such cases, stomach pain is accompanied by increased heart rate, sweating, difficulty breathing, nausea or vomiting, jaw and neck pain, and/or tingling in arms or chest.

9-Hiatal Hernia:

This phenomenon occurs when a portion of the stomach passes into the chest cavity due to excess coughing or straining for a bowel movement, among other causes. Lying flat can increase stomach pain associated with a hiatal hernia.


Defined by small, bulging pouches of tissue over the entire digestive system’s lining, diverticulitis can also result in sudden stomach pain at night. Other symptoms include upset stomach, changes in bowel habits, nausea, and fever.

While most causes of sudden stomach pain at night are generally unalarming and can easily be treated through lifestyle adjustments and OTC medication, persistent pain along with some or all of the above symptoms may indicate stomach cancer.

Consult with your doctor, or book an appointment with a top Gastroenterologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your gastric concerns

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.