Why Does My Stomach Hurt When Standing Up But Not Laying Down?

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Several reasons that cause pain in your stomach and stop you from lying down may include appendicitis, kidney and gall stones, constipation, indigestion, pregnancy-related complications, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and abdominal pain during periods, among many other possible reasons.

We all, at some point, have experienced abdominal pains. The stomach pains we may experience from time to time can be both uncomfortable and alarming.

The abdominal pains may vary in intensity, abdomen position, duration, and other accompanying symptoms. Accordingly, the said parameters create a variety of potential health complications, some serious and others normal and mild.

These abdominal pains may be intense when we are standing up and may subside when we lie down. The pain may subside because there happens to be a significant difference in pressure levels when we are standing up and when we are lying down.

The said pressure difference may affect the pain and its intensity at different postures, but the inherent problems that cause abdominal pains are particular. The causes of abdominal pain may be independent of the pose that makes the pain real or intense.

Therefore, we must be prepared to take the proper medical attention when we suffer any form of abdominal pain.

So, why does your stomach hurt when you are standing up but not when lying down?

1. Appendicitis

When the appendix becomes inflamed, it may cause appendicitis. The appendix exists in the human alimentary canal as a small finger-like structure attached to the colon.

The inflammation occurs when the appendix fills up with indigested and indigestible matter. The appendix should functionally store it.

When that happens, you may experience sharp pain in the lower right side of the abdomen. The pain comes very suddenly and may startle you.

The pain also increases when you are standing up because of pressure from other organs overlying the colon. The pressure gets evenly spread over a broader space when you lay down, and the pain reduces.

If not given immediate medical attention, including surgical removal, the appendix may rupture, causing intra-abdominal infections and even death.

2. Kidney stones and gall stones

A man is experiencing abdominal pain, possibly from kidney stones

The liver and kidney comprise some of the most vital visceral organs in the abdominal cavity. They may at times suffer from diseases that cause stones to obstruct their duct. When such happens, then we may experience severe abdominal pain.

The pain can be more pronounced when standing than when lying down. The difference may be because the sleeping posture helps reduce the obstruction in the ducts caused by the change in pressure difference within them.

Kidney stones and gall stones can be severe health conditions and may require emergency medical attention.

3. Constipation, gas and indigestion

The kind of foods we eat, together with the level of fluid intake, play a considerable role in helping us diagnose the cause of any abdominal pain we may be going through after any meal.

When our meals are made up of greasy foods and followed by minimal fluid intake, it becomes very likely to have indigestion and obstructions somewhere along the small intestines or colon.

With indigestion and obstruction comes a possible build-up of gases which may cause abdominal pain or constipation.

When you lie down, your posture affects the flow of fluid and gases within the abdomen, which may be instrumental in reducing the flatulence and alleviating stomach pain.

4. Pregnancy-related complications

A pregnant woman in her last trimester is on the phone with her OB-GYN, concerned because she feels a lot of pain when standing up but not sitting down

In the last trimester of pregnancy, the fetus may be lying or causing pressure on a particular internal organ inside the abdominal cavity, which may cause abdominal pain to the expecting woman.

Therefore a sleeping posture compared to a standing one changes the side of the abdomen the weight of the pregnancy is applied.

Abdominal pain comes across as one of the typical complications that accompany pregnancy.

This occurrence may vary among different people, and it may decrease with time depending on the nature and progress of the pregnancy.

5. Irritable bowel syndrome

The cause for irritable bowel syndrome, which is a common gut problem, remains unknown, and the cure for it. It causes inflammation of the gut.

The symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome come and go, which might be why you may feel it on a standing posture but may not feel it when lying down.

Although there may be no cure for irritable bowel syndrome disorder, the re-occurring symptoms may get managed by a professional. The management requires frequent and appropriate treatment.

6. Stomach and duodenal ulcers

The pain of an ulcer is very sharp and disturbing. Do you know, ulcers occur as sores on the wall of the stomach. They are of two main types, namely, gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers.

Gastric ulcers happen to be open sores that occur on the stomach wall lining due to damage. In contrast, duodenal ulcers may be caused in our stomach lining through infection by Helicobacter pylori.

The pain of an ulcer may come and go. The pain may also occur due to the presence or absence of food in the belly. Therefore a sleeping posture can prevent fluids irritating the sore while on a standing posture from reaching it.

7. Dysmenorrheal

Have you experienced pain during your periods? Some women may experience abdominal pain in the times during their period. The pain can vary from mild to severe and may sometimes get accompanied by muscle cramps.

The said abdominal pain could come and go during periods, probably because you may feel them when standing but fail to feel them when you lie down.

Ordinarily, most women ignore these pains since they decrease as soon as the periods subside and may not be essentially alarming.

Others, though, prefer to use anti-inflammatory painkillers to treat abdominal pains. The pains become less as age progresses in women.

Reasons for abdominal pain when standing that decreases when lying down
2Kidney stones and gall stones
3Constipation, gas, and indigestion
4Pregnancy-related complications
5Irritable Bowel Syndrome
6Gastric and Duodenal ulcers
7Dysmenorrheal/abdominal pains during periods


How do I know if my stomach pain is severe?

Abdominal pain may be mild and easy to ignore, but several kinds of abdominal pain might be a red flag for emergency medical attention.

Some abdominal pains may signify the onset of fatal situations such as appendicitis and heart attack. The only way to gauge the seriousness of abdominal pain is through its severity, suddenness, and duration.

You should also notice the point on the abdomen it gets located and any accompanying symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

What can mimic appendicitis?

Several abdominal conditions have pain that may appear to mimic or even be confused as appendicitis.

They include inflammatory bowel disease, infectious colitis, mesenteric adenitis, and diverticular disease, among others.

What is the best position to sleep in when you have a stomach ache?

When you have a stomach ache, you should sleep on your left side to avoid heartburn and allow gravity to help move substances through your colon.


As you may have noted, the causes for abdominal pain which subsides when you lie down are numerous. We have discussed the most relevant among them, yet the list of all possible complications remains long.

Mild and less abdominal severe pain can be ignored or treated domestically. Even so, we must be apt to recognize the severe abdominal pains and take appropriate medical attention when so needed.

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Nudrat Naheed
Hi, I am Nudrat, The Heart And Brain author, IR student, and painter. Writing about health fascinates me because it helps me to explore a new healthy routine and share it with others. I write primarily about general health, pregnancy, postpartum, and allergies here. If you don't find me writing, I'm busy painting or reading on global politics.

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