Common Causes Of Sharp Abdominal Pain That Comes And Goes

August 25, 2022
Common Causes Of Sharp Abdominal Pain That Comes And Goes

Sharp abdominal pain can cause the individual to double over or be unable to move momentarily. While experiencing sharp abdominal pain can be a common occurrence and does not point toward a severe medical issue, it does sometimes cause anxiety to build up. Fortunately, with prompt treatment, the pain can easily be treated. In this article, we have gathered some of the common causes of sharp abdominal pain that come and go and also when a doctor’s visit is necessary.

It is hard to pinpoint the main cause of inconsistent and sharp pain based on the few symptoms the individual experiences. Some common causes of sharp and inconsistent abdominal pain are:

1. Flatulence

Flatulence and bloating are some of the most common causes of inconsistent, sharp abdominal pain. While they do not generally result in long-term damage, most experience mild and dull to severe and sharp pain that may be cyclical – the pain gradually worsens over a couple of minutes, then gets better, only to repeat in cycles.

Some issues that result in flatulence and bloating include:

  • Indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Swallowing too much air

Over-the-counter medications are available to help reduce the pain. Some individuals also find that heating pads help to relieve some of the pain. If you experience severe pain frequently, it is highly recommended to visit the doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

2. Stomach virus

Norovirus is an example of stomach viruses that results in the experiencing of inconsistent, intense abdominal cramps. The individual usually vomits after the cramps. Symptoms such as developing a fever and muscle aches usually occur for a couple of days. Stomach viruses, even without medical treatment, can clear in a couple of days. However, during the recovery process, it is vital to consume lots of water.

3. Gallbladder and liver issues

If you are experiencing pain in the upper right portion of your stomach, chances are it could be a sign of a gallbladder issue, such as gallstones.

A gallstone can block the gallbladder’s ducts, causing digestive disorders. It often results in pain after consuming high-in-fat meals. An individual diagnosed with gallstones may experience abdominal pain lasting for 4 to 6 hours after their meal.

While it is possible for gallstones to be passed out from the body naturally, it is also possible for it not to happen. When such a situation occurs, it usually spells a serious issue as the gallstones can block the biliary ducts, which results in problems with liver function as well as the pancreas. An individual requires emergency medical help as long as they experience pale stool, fever, or vomiting along with gallstone symptoms.

4. Ulcers

Stomach or intestinal ulcers can cause a sharp, burning pain in the stomach. Typically, this pain may spread to the surrounding region, such as the chest, mouth, and throat, which causes indigestion or heartburn. Some common causes of stomach and intestinal ulcers are:

  • Extended use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Noncancerous abdomen growth

Symptoms usually worsen after consuming either highly acidic meals or overeating. Antacids may be prescribed by the doctor to help ease the pain.

5. Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are more common than you think and are generally harmless. Most women are not even aware they have them. Most ovarian cysts develop after ovulation and disappear after a couple of months. Occasionally, ovarian cysts may result in inconsistent pain that is often in the lower portion of the abdomen. These experience of pain usually gets worse during menstruation.

A doctor’s visit is recommended if experiencing unknown pain. An imaging test is usually employed to diagnose an ovarian cyst. Over-the-counter pain medication, as well as heat pads, are typical treatments used to relieve any pain. There are, however, complications of ovarian cysts that may result in more sudden, intense pain in the pelvic region. This may be a sign of ovarian torsion, which is a medical emergency. Without proper treatment, it can lead to internal bleeding, infection, or ovarian damage.

When to see a doctor

Most inconsistent abdominal pain is caused by issues that might not require immediate treatment. Because it can be hard to determine if a doctor’s visit is necessary, it is crucial to observe any additional symptoms that develop along the way.

Visit a doctor if:

  • Unexplained abdominal pain gets worse gradually over time
  • Digestive symptoms get worse
  • Occasional, dull pain in the upper right region of your stomach

Symptoms that need immediate medical attention are:

  • Severe pain in the upper right stomach
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Dehydration symptoms, such as dry lips or sunken eyes and vomiting



Sharp, inconsistent abdominal pain can be hard to ignore, more so when other symptoms develop. While many common causes of such pain are not harmful, there are some there might result in serious complications. Hence, it is always important to speak to a medical health professional when in doubt. In most cases, prompt treatment can prevent complications and reduce pain. It is, nevertheless, better to be safe than sorry.

If you require a stomach pain specialist, then consider GUTCARE. We provide not only abdominal pain treatment but also other issues such as hepatitis b and haemorrhoids. Contact us to make an appointment today!