Stomach issues are the worst—and they can sometimes be embarrassing (we’ve all had unexpected diarrhea before, right?). But there are different kinds of pain, and each one can offer insight into what’s really going on in your gut. Here are some of the most common stomach symptoms and what they might be telling you about your health:
1. Burning in Your Chest
What it could be: Acid reflux
When you have acid reflux, stomach acid is literally washing back up into your chest
2. Pain Around Your Belly Button
What it could be: Appendicitis
If you’re experiencing an appendix issue, it’ll usually start with a dull pain right around your belly button. As it worsens, the intense discomfort will move towards your right hip bone.
3. Sharp Pain Under Your Ribs
What it could be: Gallstones
Gallstones are little lumps of cholesterol and bile that can be as small as a pea or as big as a golf ball. No matter the size, an obstruction in your gallbladder causes a sharp pain that might worsen after eating.
4. Burning in Your Stomach
What it could be: Peptic ulcer
If you have chronic pain every day and it’s typically worse after eating, that’s a classic symptom of an ulcer. Unlike heartburn, which occurs in the chest, you’ll feel this burn right in your gut.
5. Whole Belly Discomfort and the Urge to Run to the Bathroom
What it could be: Lactose intolerance
If a person cannot eat lactose, it’s not going to centralize to a specific area. Your whole belly is going to feel discomfort, because it’s really a small intestine problem. And unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it. That discomfort is caused by a mix of gas and diarrhea, which means—you guessed it—an explosive trip to the bathroom.
6. Intestinal Cramps and Chronic Diarrhea
What it could be: Gluten sensitivity
If you’re allergic to gluten or have celiac disease, you’ll notice bloating, gas, and cramps in your gut after eating foods containing gluten.
7. Bloody Diarrhea, Pain, and Fever
What it could be: Colitis or Crohn’s disease
Along with gas, cramps, and bloating, you also might see blood in your poop, accompanied by nausea and fever. Not fun.
What to do: Talk to your doctor, tell them about your symptoms and they would take it from there.