Feels Like Someone Punched Me In The Stomach (5 Possible Reasons)

This feeling can be associated with various conditions ranging from acid reflux to diseases like appendicitis which is the most common abdominal disease. Stress can most definitely create a stomach ache and can even worsen your aches if it reaches a chronic stage. This complexity can be simplified by understanding the left, right, upper and lower parts of your abdomen and which diseases are associated with each as will be presented to you. 

To treat your stomach pains, ginger and peppermint would be rather helpful, or you could even stick to diets like the BRAT diet. While mild abdominal pains will automatically fade away, if you are going through severe long-term pain, you should visit a hospital.

The stomach used to be known as a hollow muscular sac that starts up the second phase of digestion. But in reality, this organ is the most sophisticated endocrine organ in your body.

Literally, everything you ingest including nutrition has to first negotiate with this organ, which makes it more prone to disease and complications, which is why that feeling of being punched in the stomach could mean various possibilities and conditions.

Why do you feel like someone punched you in the stomach? Can stress cause a stomach ache? How to locate and realize what stomach pain means? What home remedies can be used to fight off your stomach ache? At what point should you visit your local doctor?

Why does it feel like someone punched you in the stomach?

The following list contains the most common causes of your out-of-the-blue stomach ache.

  1. Acid Reflux – This happens when the sphincter muscle at your lower part of the esophagus starts relaxing at an unusual time, which allows the acid in your stomach to shoot up into your esophagus. You may also feel other symptoms like a burning sensation below your breastbone specifically when you eat or when you lie down. If this symptom keeps on coming back it could mean that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, which would need medical assistance.
  2. Gallstones – These are tiny or bigger stones made out of cholesterol that can come to exist in your gallbladder. This is usually a result of a high-fat diet or when your bladder doesn’t properly empty itself. It has been found by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, that this is a more common disease among women than men. You may also feel a sudden sharp pain in the middle of your abdomen and back pain. Nausea or vomiting are also symptoms. 
  3. Appendicitis – This is the inflammation of your appendix on the lower right side of your abdomen. The cause may be due to various infections from a virus, bacteria, or even parasites within your digestive tract. Another possibility is that your large intestine is blocked by your stool. The National Institute of Digestive and Kidney Diseases has stated that over 5% of individuals would undergo this disease at some point in their lives.
  4. Stomach Ulcers – These are comparatively uncommon sores on the lining of your stomach but they can be very dangerous to your life. Especially if internal bleeding is caused at the place of your ulcer. You will need immediate medical assistance in this case. The most common symptom would be a burning sensation in your stomach which goes and comes back when you’re hungry. 
  5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome – This is a common disease that occurs in your digestive system. You may feel symptoms like stomach cramps which would explain you feeling punched in your stomach, diarrhea, and constipation. This problem can be an on and off thing lasting for days, weeks, months even. You will need to buy an antispasmodic drug as advised by your doctor to soothe the discomfort. 

Other related diseases apart from the above-mentioned ones could be lactose intolerance, Colitis, and Thyroid diseases which you might want to look out for as well. 

Can the stomach ache be from stress?

Your punch-in-the-stomach pain can also be connected to your emotional status, especially if you’re undergoing a stressful time. But how exactly does stress affect your bodily functions? 

Well, when you’re stressed, your adrenal glands release the cortisol hormone into your bloodstream. And high cortisol levels will cause relocating fat and storage depots to your internal abdominal area; ergo the sharp stomach pains. It can also trigger abdominal discomfort, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea.

The problem worsens if you’re experiencing chronic stress, as it would give you an impulse to eat junk food, smoke, drink liquor, or over-eat and over drink coffee. These unhealthy habits can intensify your stomach ache and overall physical discomfort. 

The UChicago clinical trials show that you can always watch out for warning signs like bloody or black stools and weight loss. Lab results that indicate abnormalities can also be a red flag.

The best way to overcome this would be to treat your stress first if you’ve not reached a chronic stress condition yet. 

What could different abdominal pains mean?

A man is sitting on the sofa clenching his stomach, which is in pain and feels as if someone punched him in the stomach.

The condition could differ according to the exact location of your pain in the abdomen. To understand and easily identify the precise reason for your sudden stomach pain, the following table will help you. 

Location of the PainPossible Condition
General pain throughout the abdomenAppendicitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Urinary tract infection.
Pain in the lower abdomenAppendicitis, Ectopic pregnancy which means that your pregnancy occurs outside the womb. 
Pain in the middle of the abdomenAppendicitis, Uremia, Gastroenteritis.
Pain in the upper abdomenHepatitis, Gallstones, and even heart attack.
Pain in the upper-left abdomenKidney infection, enlarged spleen, heart attack and could even be cancer.
Pain in the lower-left abdomenAppendicitis, ovarian cysts in women, Chron’s disease, and cancer.
Pain in the upper-right abdomenPneumonia, Appendicitis, and Hepatitis.
Pain in the lower-right abdomenHernia, kidney infection, Appendicitis and could even be the flu.

Home remedies to fight your stomach ache

If your sudden punch-in-the-stomach ache doesn’t have serious symptoms and is simply very uncomfortable for you, you could always try a few home remedies to soothe this pain.

  1. Ginger – A 2000 study has revealed that ginger is an all-time cure for specific stomach aches ranging from stomach pains, cramps to nausea. Especially if your stomach pain is associated with acid reflux, this simple ingredient will be very helpful. Ginger can increase gastric emptying, which will, in turn, relieve the symptoms of your abdominal pain and reduce bloating.
  2. Peppermint – The menthol in the leaves of peppermint is a natural analgesic, which will help relieve your pain almost instantly. This ingredient can be taken by you in many ways, be it a cup of peppermint tea, sniffing a peppermint extract, mint candy or you could even try munching on the leaves themselves. All your annoying stomach pangs would be kept at bay. 
  3. Warm bath or heating pads – You could even use a hot water bottle for this purpose. The way it works is that the unexpected warmth in your stomach would distract you from any cramping or pain since the heat allows your muscles to relax. 
  4. The BRAT diet – The American Academy of Family Physicians has said that this diet is mainly useful if diarrhea is the main symptom of abdominal pains. BRAT is basically bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. The starchiness of this food helps to make your stools firmer and prevent diarrhea. 

Apart from ginger and peppermint, there are other ingredients that you could work with like cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and basil. All have the same nurturing effect of pain-relieving. 

When should you see a doctor?

The best way to test yourself to know if you need immediate medical treatment would be if the pain is too difficult to withstand that you can’t even sit still. If you have the urge to curl up into a ball to feel better, you will surely need to pay a visit to your doctor.

Another situation to look out for is if your abdominal pain has resulted from some kind of physical injury or an accident. In such instances, you won’t be able to predict exactly what’s wrong with you and you would need medical assistance and a body evaluation. If you also have any kind of pressure or pain in your chest seeing a doctor would be highly recommended.

Certain symptoms should also be taken very seriously, like bloody stools, blood in your vomit, swelling of the abdominal area, difficulty in breathing, unexpected weight loss, high fever, relentless vomiting, and the yellowing of skin and eyes.

Of course, if your pain is stress-related, and is reaching a chronic state, then a doctor should be consulted.

FAQs

What does tightness in your stomach mean?

A tightness in your stomach most commonly means that there’s a digestive or hormonal issue in you. While this feeling does go away after a while, it can also be a symptom of an underlying disease like food poisoning, indigestion, gastritis, constipation, and even pregnancy.

What does it mean when the doctor pushes your stomach and it hurts? 

The reason for this pushing is for determining the tenderness of your stomach. If you feel pain, it means that the membrane of your stomach cavity is inflamed, and this is often associated with appendix-related diseases.

How do I know if my stomach pain is from stress?

While stress-related stomach aches may have similar symptoms to disease-related stomach aches like diarrhea, you can distinguish it by symptoms like loss of appetite and unnatural hunger.

Conclusion

Feeling like you’ve been punched in the stomach can be quite painful and even nauseating at times. If you haven’t been punched in the stomach recently, there are a few reasons which could lead to this feeling. It could be something serious like appendicitis or something a little less physical, like stress.

Regardless, isolating the area of the stomach where you feel the pain can help find the problem. And you can always try our home remedies to try to reduce the pain. But if you do note any physical symptoms or if the pain seems to be getting worse, it’s always best to get a doctor’s diagnosis.