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Learn about your sharp abdominal pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your sharp abdominal pain from our A.I. Symptom Checker. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Your Sharp Abdominal Pain May Also be Known as:
Sharp abdomen pain
Sharp belly pain
Sharp stomach pain
Stabbing abdomen pain
Stabbing belly pain
Stabbing stomach pain

Top 10 Sharp Abdominal Pain Causes

  1. 1.Viral (Norovirus) Infection

    Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. These viruses cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    You can safely treat this condition at home. Make sure you drink plenty of water and fluids (Gatorade, Pediatlyte) to replace what is lost with diarrhea. If symptoms of dehydration occur or you are unable to keep down any liquids, seek care at your primary care physician or an urgent care.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, headache, stomach bloating
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    hidden: gastroenteritis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    severe abdominal pain, throbbing headache, severe headache, tarry stool
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Viral (Rotavirus) Infection

    Rotavirus is a virus that causes an infection of the gut, known as gastroenteritis. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and fever. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    You can safely treat this condition at home. Make sure you drink plenty of water and fluids to replace what is lost with diarrhea. Eat as normally as possible. If symptoms of dehydration occur, or you are unable to keep down any liquids, seek care at your primary care physician or an urgent care.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache, loss of appetite
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    hidden: gastroenteritis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    constipation, tarry stool
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Gall Bladder Infection (Cholecystitis)

    Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder holds bile (a digestive juice). Gallstones can form when the bile gets thick, and these stones can block up the gallbladder and cause inflammation.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where an ultrasound of your abdomen and blood tests would confirm a diagnosis. Not seeking care may lead to the gallbladder bursting and causing a deadly infection in the abdomen.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation
    Symptoms that always occur with gall bladder infection (cholecystitis):
    abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Symptoms that never occur with gall bladder infection (cholecystitis):
    pain in the upper left abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  4. 4.Normal Variation of Constipation

    Constipation is a very common condition affecting the large intestine. It is characterized by difficulty passing stool, or passing stool less often. Commonly it is linked to not eating enough dietary fiber, not drinking enough fluids, or not getting enough exercise. Some medications can cause constipation as well.

    For the short term, an over-the-counter laxative can help with your constipation. You can try to make changes at home to help prevent these symptoms. Dietary changes are typically effective: drink more fluids and eat more fiber (found in bran, root vegetables, nuts, and whole-grain flour). There are also over-the-counter fiber tablets that can help increase your dietary fiber.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that always occur with normal variation of constipation:
    constipation
    Symptoms that never occur with normal variation of constipation:
    vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Indigestion (Dyspepsia)

    Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a condition that causes pain or discomfort in the stomach after eating. In some cases, indigestion also causes heartburn, burping, and nausea. Indigestion or dyspepsia is a very common complaint. Every year, about 1 in every 4 people will experience an episode of dyspepsia, of which most cases do not have a serious underlying cause.

    You can treat this at home with antacids. Many people find simple dietary changes to be beneficial such as avoiding spicy or fatty foods and drinking less tea or coffee.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, stomach bloating, bloating after meals, vomiting, pain below the ribs
    Symptoms that always occur with indigestion (dyspepsia):
    hidden: dyspeptic symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with indigestion (dyspepsia):
    hidden: signs of upper gi bleeding, rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

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  6. 6.Normal Abdominal Pain

    The abdomen extends from below the chest to the groin. Often it is referred to as the stomach; however, the abdomen includes more organs than just the stomach like the pancreas & liver. Abdominal pain is not stomach-specific and may be radiating from another organ.

    Your abdominal pain appears to be a standard variation of pain, which doesn't require any treatment right now. You can try over the counter pain medication like Tylenol. If the pain becomes severe, see a physician.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), vaginal discharge, fever, nausea
    Symptoms that always occur with normal abdominal pain:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Symptoms that never occur with normal abdominal pain:
    fever, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, severe abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss, vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Gallstones

    Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver.

    You should visit your primary care physician to speak about your pain. Your doctor would perform an ultrasound to recognize something going on in your gallbladder.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, pain in the upper right abdomen
    Symptoms that always occur with gallstones:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Symptoms that never occur with gallstones:
    abdominal pain that improves after passing stools
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Ovarian Torsion

    The twisting, or torsion, of the ovary around its surroundings. This may result in loss of blood to both the ovary and the fallopian tube. When diagnosed, this condition is considered an emergency and requires immediate surgery.

    You should go to the emergency room immediately. Diagnosis is made by ultrasound and surgery is required if the diagnosis is confirmed.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, nausea, moderate abdominal pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that never occur with ovarian torsion:
    diarrhea, pain below the ribs, mild abdominal pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Acute Gastritis

    Acute gastritis is the sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, and/or upper abdominal pain that's caused by inflammation of your stomach lining. If it doesn't go away, this can become an ulcer. Causes include taking a medication that affects the stomach, an infection by a bug called, "H. Pylori", or your immune system reacting to yourself.

    You should see your doctor within a few days. There, they would assess whether you require a breath test for the bug, H. Pylori, and/or a test where they put a camera down the throat to look at the stomach wall. Treatment is dependent on the outcomes of the doctor's visit. If it's just because of a medication, the first treatment would be to stop it. If it's an infection, antibiotics would be appropriate. An autoimmune reaction might require supplements with Vitamin B12. Taking an antacid may be necessary for more than one of these scenarios.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, nausea, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, mild abdominal pain
    Symptoms that never occur with acute gastritis:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Endometriosis

    Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the uterine walls grows outside the uterus.

    You should visit your physician. The physician will likely do a pelvic exam or ultrasound of the pelvis.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, abdominal pain (stomach ache), vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, painful periods
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Sharp Abdominal Pain

  • Q.How long has your abdominal pain been going on?
  • Q.How severe is your abdominal pain?
  • Q.Where is your abdominal pain?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our sharp abdominal pain symptom checker.

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Sharp Abdominal Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced sharp abdominal pain have also experienced:

    • 9% Nausea
    • 8% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 5% Diarrhea
  • People who have experienced sharp abdominal pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 39% Less Than a Day
    • 35% Less Than a Week
    • 10% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced sharp abdominal pain were most often matched with:

    • 27% Viral (Norovirus) Infection
    • 17% Viral (Rotavirus) Infection
    • 12% Gall Bladder Infection (Cholecystitis)

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