Nocturnal pains in the stomach

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

We all get some gripe or a dull ache in our stomachs in the night time when the whole world sleeps. It is annoying and disturbing and you may go through a sleepless night. So, let us discuss some of the causes, and your stomach ache should fit into one of them.

Eating too much close to bedtime in most people makes them sleep well, but others feel the discomfort of fullness. Especially, when you are lying down, the gastric juice containing acid can travel back (reflux) up the digestive tract. Sometimes, this could bring pressure on the diaphragm- the partition between the abdominal cavity and the chest wall, and give rise to a temporary hiccup.

Lord Buddha was on the spot when he directed the monks to keep away from a night meal and drink fluids instead.

Also, those who lie down immediately after heavy dinner also may get stomach pains in the night time.

Acid reflux is quite a common condition that afflicts both men and women. Obese people seem to be more prone to acid reflux, may be due to the widening of the hiatus (opening) in the diaphragm which weakens the valvular mechanism at the stomach- gullet junction. It comes on more in the night time when you sleep flat on your back and on your right side.

Acid reflux could occur when you have a condition called Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In this condition, the food pipe (esophagus) inflames (lower third commonly) in the area just behind the heart- hence referred to as ‘Heart-burn’. With it you could get stomach pains, nausea, and indigestion.
Gastritis is another condition you may get stomach discomfort in the night time especially after taking aspirin, non-steroid anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), long term steroids for arthritis and chronic alcoholism.

You should be aware that most sore throats are not due to bacterial and viral infections in the throat, but quite common in those who suffer from acid reflux due to acid refluxing back as far as the throat which causes an irritative cough.

Excess alcohol consumption is a sure condition to cause stomach pains and discomfort in the night time. Alcohol also causes excess acid secretion which boosts the situation. Stomach and duodenal ulcers can cause severe discomfort in the stomach especially after a heavy meal with acidic foods. The pain is worse after food due to the acid secreted which results in pain, and also you may get pains on an empty stomach during the early hours due to high acid juice content in the stomach waiting for your breaky.

These ulcers are caused by a germ called H. Pylori bacteria or long term use and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

You may suffer from gall stones. In most situations, these stones give no symptoms for a long time other than discomfort and bloating after food. With time you could have night pain, mostly colicky in type. An echogram or a plain x-ray of your tummy will detect the calcified stones in your gall bladder. Most of these stones are formed due to hardened cholesterol in your bile secreted in the liver.

Most people with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) gets night time stomach pains. Other symptoms are gas and bloating occurring, especially after large evening meals.

If you have an allergy to gluten in wheat, rye, and barley you may get inflammation of the inner lining of your gut. This condition is called Celiac disease. The symptoms are nausea, bloating, discomfort and night stomach pains. This is a serious condition and you need to see your doctor for further evaluation and dietetic control.

Crohn’s disease is a type of irritable bowel syndrome affecting the small and large gut. The inner lining becomes inflamed that causes the abdominal pains, especially in the night time.

These conditions are diagnosed through endoscopies and biopsies. Over 780,000 people in America suffer from Crohn's disease – cases ranging from the ages of 15 to 35. Women get mid-month pains during the time of ovulation. Endometriosis is another condition that gives rise tonight pain among women. That is a condition where the inner lining of the womb gets inflamed. Sometimes, similar tissues may be found in other areas of the lower abdominal cavity which worsened the night pain.

Another condition that gives colicky night pain is chronic constipation, and also due to certain foods which give severe bloating, in addition when you eat the crucifers like cauliflower, cabbage, and beans.

There are other ailments like appendicitis, kidney stones, food poisoning not mentioned here as they do not give pain specifically in the night time when you are asleep.

Conclusions: Most of these conditions mention why you get night pains are not serious situations, but this article exemplifies most of those conditions and decides when to see your doctor. Any situation when you have severe night pains for over a week, it is suggested that you see your medical practitioner to evaluate the condition. You need to see your doctor when over-the-counter medications don’t work.

Copyright © 2002 ~ 2016 Ozlanka®.
Ozlanka is not responsible for the contents of this article or for any external internet sites that may be linked through this website.
The views expressed above are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or concepts of the webmaster or the owners & operators of Ozlanka.

Ozlanka and Auslanka are registered trademarks