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Pain in the pit of the stomach is the popular name for epigastric pain or epigastralgia, which is pain that arises in the upper abdomen immediately below the chest, the region that corresponds to the place where the stomach begins.

Most of the time this pain is not of concern and can indicate some alteration in the stomach, esophagus, or in the beginning of the intestine such as reflux, gastritis, or indigestion, appearing associated with other symptoms such as heartburn, dizziness, vomiting, gas, bloating or diarrhea.

However, it is important to remember that in some rarer cases the pain in the pit of the stomach can also indicate other more serious diseases. Such as inflammation in the gallbladder, pancreatitis, or even myocardial infarction. whenever this pain appears and that is of strong intensity, does not improve after an hour. And accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, feeling of tightness in the chest, or fainting. It is important to go to the medical emergency for a medical evaluation.

The main causes of pain in the pit of the stomach are:


Gastritis is the inflammation of the mucosa that lines the inner part of the stomach, which usually causes pain in the pit of the stomach that varies in intensity and can be mild, moderate and even intense, causing a burning or tight sensation that arises especially after to eat.

In addition to pain, gastritis causes other symptoms such as nausea, a feeling of fullness after eating, belching, and excess gas. This disease can be triggered by eating an unbalanced diet due to excessive consumption of fried foods, caffeine, or alcohol; by stress; the use of drugs that attack the stomach lining such as anti-inflammatories; by an infection such as that caused by the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria or by viral or bacterial gastroenteritis.

In some cases gastritis can reach the deeper layers of the tissue, causing a peptic ulcer. In these cases, the pain is usually more intense and usually appears on an empty stomach or after eating, there is also a risk of bleeding or perforation, which can cause serious abdominal inflammation.

What to do:  the gastroenterologist is the most appropriate doctor to make the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that can vary according to the symptoms presented. In milder cases, for example, dietary alterations can be made, and in more severe cases. The doctor may prescribe medications that decrease stomach acid and even the use of antibiotics.


Esophagitis is the inflammation of the tissue of the esophagus generally. It is caused by gastroesophageal reflux or by a hiatal hernia. This disease usually causes pain in the pit of the stomach and burning in the chest region. That worsens after meals and with certain types of food such as caffeine, alcohol, and fried foods. Also, the pain is more frequent at night and does not improve with rest. See more about hiatal hernia 胃酸倒流 喉嚨痛.

What to do:  Treatment is recommended by the gastroenterologist and includes the use of medications to decrease heartburn, medications to improve gastrointestinal motility, as well as changes in eating habits. Learn more about treating esophagitis.

Poor digestion

Eating excessively or ingesting foods that the body does not tolerate well. That is contaminated with microorganisms, or that contain lactose. Like it can cause difficult digestion with irritation of the stomach lining, excessive gas production, reflux, and increased motility intestinal.

The result of this is pain, which can arise in the pit of the stomach or anywhere else in the abdomen, and may be accompanied by gas, diarrhea, or constipation.

What to do:  in these cases, the pain usually passes after a few hours, so it is recommended to take medications to relieve discomforts such as antacids and pain relievers, drink plenty of fluids, and eat light foods. The doctor should also be consulted to identify the causes and indicate the most indicated treatment.


The presence of stones in the gallbladder can cause colicky abdominal pain. Most of the time it arises in the upper right part of the abdomen. It can also radiate towards the pit of the stomach and towards the back, being associated with symptoms such as dizziness and vomiting.

What to do:  The gastroenterologist may indicate the use of medications to relieve symptoms such as pain relievers and antiemetics, however, they may consider the need to perform surgery to remove the gallbladder. See how the treatment is done.

Acute pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ located in the center of the abdomen. The primary function is the digestion of food and the production of hormones. In this case, the pain almost always arises suddenly and very intensely being able to radiate towards the upper part of the abdomen. The pain can even be associated with vomiting, bloating, and constipation.

What to do:  Acute pancreatitis is a medical emergency and its treatment should be started as quickly as possible, preventing the disease from worsening and causing widespread inflammation in the body. The first steps include fasting, intravenous hydration, and the use of pain relievers.

Heart problems

Pain in the pit of the stomach can arise due to a cardiac disorder such as a myocardial infarction, as opposed to typical chest pain. Pain in the stomach due to a heart attack is usually burning or tightened and is associated with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, or shortness of breath.

Cardiac alterations are usually suspected in people who already have a risk factor for heart attacks, such as the elderly, obese, diabetic, hypertensive, smokers, or people with heart disease.

What to do:  if a heart attack is suspected, it is necessary to go immediately to the hospital emergency, where the doctor will carry out the first evaluations to identify the cause of the pain through an electrocardiogram, initiating the most appropriate treatment. 

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