Can Coughing Cause Stomach Pain?

Yes, coughing can cause stomach pain, though it’s usually not the direct cause. Instead, coughing can exacerbate existing conditions or symptoms that lead to stomach discomfort. Here’s how:

  • Muscle Strain: Forceful coughing can strain the muscles in the abdomen, including those around the stomach area. This strain can lead to temporary discomfort or pain in the stomach region.
  • Acid Reflux: Coughing can trigger acid reflux or aggravate existing acid reflux symptoms. When you cough, it increases pressure in the abdominal cavity, which can push stomach acid up into the esophagus, causing heartburn or stomach discomfort.
  • Hernia: In some cases, coughing can worsen the symptoms of a hernia, such as a hiatal hernia or umbilical hernia. The increased pressure from coughing can cause protrusion of abdominal contents through a weakened area in the abdominal wall, leading to pain or discomfort.
  • Digestive Disorders: If you have an underlying digestive disorder, such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), coughing may exacerbate symptoms like abdominal pain or discomfort.
  • Referred Pain: Sometimes, pain from the chest or diaphragm due to coughing can be perceived as stomach pain. This is known as referred pain and occurs when pain is felt in an area of the body other than where the actual problem exists.

If coughing is causing persistent or severe stomach pain, or if it’s accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as vomiting, fever, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to seek medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.