5 Types of Abdominal Pain & Relief for Each

February 22, 2022


Get to the bottom of abdominal bloating, cramping, aching or burning.

Stomachaches can affect your ability to sit, sleep or walk comfortably. But the stomach isn’t always the real problem, says Tegpal Atwal, MD, a gastroenterologist at Adventist Health St. Helena.

Pinpointing the source of abdominal discomfort can be key to understanding the cause and treating the issue. “It helps to know the general location of the pain,” says Irina Jovel, a nurse practitioner at Adventist Health St. Helena. “That can help your provider determine a diagnosis.”


Burning or pain in the stomach, in the upper left abdomen, could indicate food poisoning, indigestion or inflammation of the stomach lining, known as gastritis. “If stomach pain is accompanied by nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Atwal says, “see your provider or visit an emergency department for immediate treatment.”


A burning sensation in the chest may stem from stomach acid backing up into the esophagus, a condition known as acid reflux. “Avoid eating for at least an hour before you lie down to give stomach acids time to settle,” Dr. Atwal recommends. If you experience this symptom regularly, you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Belly button

Pain near the belly button could be caused by gas, or it could indicate inflammation of the appendix, or appendicitis, Jovel says. Appendicitis can be treated with antibiotics, but surgery to remove the appendix may be needed in severe cases. Seek immediate help if your symptoms are accompanied by a fever, vomiting or chest pain.


Bloating, swelling or abdominal cramps might result from dietary changes, food sensitivity or constipation. If these symptoms persist long term or happen frequently, talk to your provider to rule out possible causes such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.

Relief for your discomfort

Adventist Health’s gastroenterology specialists in St. Helena and Napa can identify the cause of your abdominal pain and help you feel better.

Adventist Health Physicians Network – Gastroenterology
6 Woodland Road, Suite 101, St. Helena; 707-963-7028

Adventist Health Physicians Network – Napa
1100 Trancas St., Suite 250, Napa; 707-253-1135