Unexplained abdominal pain can be a scary occurrence because it can be attributed to everything from heartburn to heart attack. Most of the time it's nothing serious, but watch your symptoms carefully and monitor how long the pain lasts. Anything that seems out-of-the-ordinary should be checked out by a doctor, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, if your abdominal pain gets worse when you lie down, it is most likely due a form of heartburn or indigestion.
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Heartburn is characterized by a burning sensation or discomfort after eating and it typically gets worse when you lie down or bend over, according to Cedars-Sinai.edu. It also leaves a sour taste in the back of your mouth and throat. It occurs when stomach contents occasionally back up into the esophagus.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition where stomach contents leak backward from the stomach to the esophagus, causing frequent heartburn, according to the National Institutes of Health. This condition can lead to esophageal damage if left untreated. Other symptoms of GERD are nausea after eating, difficulty swallowing and sore throat, among others, according to the NIH.
Indigestion is a vague feeling of discomfort in the upper abdomen during or right after eating, according to the NIH. It can be caused by overeating, eating too fast, drinking too much alcohol, eating spicy or greasy foods and stress, among other things.
While most causes of abdominal pain are minor, some can be life-threatening. If the pain is severe or the symptoms are persistent, seek medical help right away. Possible dangerous causes of the pain can be appendicitis, bowel obstruction, ulcers or a heart attack.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.