Epigastralgia: That Annoying Pain in the Pit of Your Stomach

· November 6, 2018
Epigastralgia can be a warning of other complications. That's why you should never let this continuous pain in the area of the abdomen and belly button get worse.

Epigastralgia is not just common stomach pain. After all, this condition affects multiple areas of the abdomen. 

Patients that experience this type of digestive pathology have pain in the epigastrio. The person feels as if a rope is if pulling on their entire abdomen, an oppressive burning that results in nausea and a lot of discomfort.

The suffering is so intense that it’s common for people to be afraid and go to the emergency room because they don’t know what’s happening.

This, in reality, can be the symptom of an underlying illness.

Although in the majority of cases the cause of this pain is simply indigestion, epigastralgia can be associated with another series of disorders or diseases that require an accurate diagnosis.

As we continue, we’ll learn more about this topic.

What is epigastralgia?


Epigastralgia is basically pain located in the epigstrio, a zone that goes from the upper part of the abdomen to the belly button.

As we already know, there are many organs and structures in this area. That makes it difficult to know what is causing this pain right away .

Also, the patient can suffer continuous pain day to day or the pain can show up suddenly. The symptoms are as follows:

  • Intense pain in the epigastrio
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Burning in the stomach
  • Feeling of fullness when eating very little
  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Cold sweats
  • Gas
  • Episodes of diarrhea or constipation

What causes epigastralgia?

What causes epigastralgia?

Epigastralgia caused by esophagus problems

  • Esophagitis and a hiatal hernia are usually two of the most common causes of it, after indigestion.

Esophagitis comes from esophageal reflux, something that should be treated as soon as possible.

A hiatal hernia is common after the age of 50. It causes heart burn and problems with swallowing, digestion, bad breath, etc.

Problems in the stomach

Epigastralgia can originate exclusively in the stomach.

One of the possible causes is a peptic ulcer. The pain shows up in the fall and winter, becomes more intense at night and we usually feel relief when we’re eating.

On the other hand, as we’ve pointed out, in a good number of cases the epigastralgia is due to acute gastritis. This can be infectious, toxic or alimentary.

In this case, the pain is very intense and is usually accompanied with vomiting and elevated discomfort.

Epigastralgia caused by intestinal problems

This fact is important. On occasion, this pain in the upper abdomen originates as appendicitis.

Because of this, if we feel strong pain the upper stomach, it is important that we do not hesitate to consult a doctor or go to the emergency room if the suffering is intense.

Also, Crohn’s disease, in its first stages, usually is accompanied by this pain in the epigastrio area.

When the epigastralgia gets to the left side of the abdomen, it could be a colon problem. (For example, diverticula, volvulation, neoplasms, etc.)

Also, an irritated colon is also one of the origins of epigastralgia. In this case, it’s common to experience pain in the form of colic and gas.

Problems in the pancreas

Acute pancreatitis usually starts with epigastric pain.

It’s important to be aware of these types of symptoms located in the upper stomach, especially if it is accompanied by vomiting, or abdominal distention.

Careful, it can be warning of a cardiac problem

Careful, it can be warning us of a cardiac problem

This information also important.

An acute myocardial heart attack can produce epigastralgia, meaning you’ll experience pain in the upper abdomen.

Also, this type of symptom is very common in diabetic patients right before they suffer a heart attack.

The pain may be sudden, oppressive and accompanied by vomiting. In whatever case and to dismiss any other thoughts, it never hurts to go to the emergency room to get a diagnosis as soon as you notice any discomfort.

What can I do to prevent problems associated with epigastralgia?

As you’ve seen, epigastralgia is only one of the symptoms associated with some kind of medical condition.

Regardless of all of the different ones (indigestion, ulcers, irritated colon, cardiac problems…), they have an element in common that can help us to reduce the probability of suffering from these types of illnesses.

The factor that they have in common is our diet. If we watch our diets, we will reduce the probability of suffering or worsening these illnesses. 

So, take note of the following advice:

  • Reduce your consumption of fats.
  • Choose alkaline foods.
  • Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. That way your digestive system will not be overworked.
  •  Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid foods with conservatives or foods that have a lot of chemicals.
  • Reduce sugar and salt consumption.
  • Be careful with drugs such as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti inflammatories.
What can I do to prevent this type of problem associated with epigastralgia?

In conclusion, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor with any problem, pain or change in relation to your digestive system.

Prevention and taking care of yourself are synonymous with health and well-being. 

  • Latarjet, Michel (2013). «Músculos, fascias y aponeurosis del abdomen». Anatomía humana. Buenos Aires: Médica Panamericana. p. 1328. ISBN 978-950-06-1369-9.
  • Rodríguez-Lago, I., & Cabriada, J. L. (2016). Protocolo diagnóstico de la epigastralgia aguda. Medicine (Spain). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.med.2016.01.014
  • Boscá, A. (2014). Epigastralgia. Medicina Interna.