What are the Causes of Stomach Tightness?

  • Several things can cause stomach tightness, like diet or hormones.
  • Some cases of stomach tightness may be caused by an underlying condition, like IBS, gastritis, and hiatal hernia.
  • Stress can also cause stomach tightness.

Several things may cause stomach tightness, like diet or hormones, and each one may feel it differently. Some may feel a contraction or pressure in their abdominal muscles, stomach wall lining, or organs near the stomach, causing temporary discomfort. In some cases, stomach tightness may be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Causes and Treatments

Chronic stress may cause stomach tightness, but it is more often caused by physical factors, such as the following:

1. Constipation

Stomach tightness can occur due to abnormal bowel movements. A normal bowel movement in adults is one to three times per day and at least twice a week. A poor diet can cause constipation. Eating a high-fiber diet and staying hydrated can relieve constipation.

2. Indigestion

When stomach acid irritates the food pipe or stomach lining, it can lead to indigestion. Other causes include overeating, eating too fast, smoking, stress, alcohol, and certain medications.

Home remedies for indigestion include:

  • avoiding alcohol, caffeine, fatty, or spicy foods
  • quitting smoking
  • losing weight
  • elevating the head and shoulders when lying down

3. Food poisoning

Food poisoning can result from consuming contaminated foods. You can manage food poisoning at home by eating dry, bland food, drinking plenty of fluids, and resting. Consult a doctor if food poisoning is severe.

4. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

This chronic condition affects the digestive system. Medication and lifestyle changes, like dietary adjustments, can help manage this condition.

5. Hiatal hernia

This condition occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes into the diaphragm. The condition can be treated with dietary changes, antacids, and surgery, for severe cases.

6. Gastritis

Gastritis occurs when the stomach lining is inflamed, causing tightness in the upper part of the stomach. The condition can be treated with medications, like histamine blockers, antacids, and proton-pump inhibitors.

7. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Women usually experience premenstrual syndrome within 2 weeks of their menstrual period. PMS symptoms can be managed by:

  • eating small, regular meals
  • avoiding salty foods
  • eating fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables
  • doing physical activities
  • taking painkillers

8. Pregnancy

The early stages of pregnancy may also cause tightness in the stomach due to the womb stretching. Severe pain, especially in the first 20 weeks, maybe a sign of miscarriage and needs immediate medical attention.

Labor contractions or Braxton-Hicks contractions may cause stomach tightness in the second or third trimester. However, these contractions usually occur in the third trimester. Persistent Braxton-Hicks contractions that do not pass may indicate that labor is starting. You can relieve stomach tightness during pregnancy by changing sitting or lying positions, stretching, or walking.


Stress reduction may be recommended to help prevent stomach tightness., but it also depends on the cause. Stomach tightness may be hard to prevent when it’s caused by food poisoning or pregnancy. But in some cases, you can reduce the chance of developing a tight stomach by:

  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • drinking lots of clear fluids
  • exercising regularly
  • managing stress

Source: Medical News Today