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Abdominal Pain Worse When Sitting Down? Here’s Why!

A bad posture and prolonged sitting are gateways to many health issues, your grandma must have told you that. Many people suffer from abdominal pain but if your pain intensifies while sitting, then you must be thinking, “Why is abdominal pain worse when sitting down?”

Since the covid19 pandemic has started, we are all confined to our rooms and screens as working from home was the new trend. However, with things coming back to routine life many institutes permanently switched to online dealings. In such cases, prolonged sitting can’t be avoided.

If you’re experiencing intensified pain in the abdomen and back when sitting down, then there could be several reasons.

In this write-up, I’ll share why is the abdominal pain worse when sitting down and what possible measures could be taken to prevent it. Read on.

A sitting position affects the rate of digestion and slows it down. This is because of the abdominal compression worsening the stomach pain when sitting but not standing usually.

Table of Content

Why Abdominal Pain Worsens With Movement

If your abdominal pain exacerbates with the movement then it can be more than just pain. Probably it can be a symptom of any abdominal disorder such as ulcer, inflammation of the intestine, and appendicitis. Nearly 5% of the ER is occupied by patients complaining about abdominal pain.

Well, abdominal pain isn’t of one type only. You can experience cramps, pinching, bloating, a sudden onset of severe pain, and sharp pain in the lower abdomen. All of them are signs of different abdominal disorders. Following are some disorders which might lead to worsening abdominal pain with movement.

Most of the time stomach aches are spontaneously resolved without even going to the doctor. However, in any of the above cases, you must not rely on home remedies and immediately seek a piece of professional advice.

Why Is the Abdominal Pain Worse When Sitting or Lying Down?

You’ve no idea of how bad the effects of prolonged sitting can be! When you’re sitting, your body’s energy expenditure is significantly reduced. Hence, your calorie intake supersedes its burning leading to weight gain. Other than this, it might increase the risk of cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and several other disorders.

Is your upper stomach pain worse when sitting down? If yes, then most probably it can be gas. The expulsion of this gas takes place through the mouth known as belching or eructation. Other than this, poor posture is also responsible for why the stomach hurts while sitting.

A sitting position affects the rate of digestion and slows it down. This is because of the abdominal compression worsening the stomach pain when sitting but not standing usually. The muscular tension might adversely affect your GIT. Hence, the outcome leads to several abdominal disorders such as diarrhea and constipation.

However, if you’re experiencing lower abdominal pain when bending over, then you must consult a doctor. This would reveal the abdominal disorders hiding behind a simple stomach ache.

Upper Abdominal Pain Worse When Sitting Down: Why?

If you’re one of those patients who complain, “When I sit down my upper stomach hurts” then your posture and prolonged sitting might be the culprit! The upper stomach area is surrounded by some vital organs such as the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

The lower abdominal region or pelvic region in females might hurt because of several reasons such as menstrual cramps, endometriosis, and urinary tract infections.

Patients often deal with pain in the upper abdominal region. However, severe and intolerable pain might be an indication of a serious health risk. Following are some of the factors responsible for upper abdominal pain.

  • Heartburn – Sitting can lead to GIT compression which adversely affects the rate of digestion. The slower it is, the greater the chances of abdominal problems including heartburn are.
  • GERD – Sometimes pain (mostly heartburn) originates from the region of the cardiac sphincter which indicates gastroesophageal reflux diseases. It is the condition in which acidic contents of the stomach are refluxed into the esophagus producing a burning sensation.
  • Gas – accumulation of gas causes severe pressure to develop in the GIT. Hence, it leads to a feeling of fullness. If the pain is in the form of waves, then it can be gas accumulation. This pain even increases when you sit because of the enhanced pressure. Hence, a good posture might be helpful in controlling it.

What Causes Lower Abdominal Pain When Sitting Down?

Is your lower left abdominal pain worse when sitting or lying down? Well, there are many causes of lower abdominal pain in general such as bacterial infections, inflammation, and intestinal disorders. Prolonged sitting can slow down the digestion process which can lead to a disturbed abdomen. However, other disorders that lead to pain in the lower abdomen are listed below.

Appendicitis – The inflammation of the appendix can cause sudden pain in the lower right side of the stomach. The pain originates near the navel region and then spreads out. Treatment of appendicitis is the surgical excision of the finger-like projection called the appendix. 

Constipation – Is the lower right abdominal pain worse when sitting down? Well, if yes, then it might be constipation. Constipation is the difficulty experienced in the passage of stool. To treat it you can use laxatives and foods high in fiber content. 

Indigestion – Prolonged sitting slows down the metabolism and decreases the energy expenditure. One of the temporary problems is indigestion which can lead to pain in the lower stomach. When we’re sitting, the bowel functioning is also reduced in comparison to the standing position. 

Other than these problems gas and inflammatory bowel disease can also lead to pain in the lower abdominal region. Moreover, blockage of the small or large intestine also contributes to abdominal pain. 

What Causes Lower Abdominal Pain In Females?

Whenever we hear of lower abdominal pain in women, the first thing that comes to our mind is menstrual pain. It can also be a sign of any infection in the reproductive system. However, the lower abdominal region or pelvic region in females might hurt because of several reasons such as menstrual cramps, endometriosis, and urinary tract infections. 

Following are some of the common causes of lower abdominal pain in females,

  1. Menstrual Pain 

The foremost reason for pelvic pain can be the menstrual cycle. Most of the females experience painful abdominal cramps within the first 36 hours of the onset of bleeding. However, if these pains persist for a longer duration, then you must seek a bit of professional advice. 

  1. Endometriosis 

In this condition, tissues similar to the ones in the uterus’s lining start growing in the places they are not supposed to be such as ovaries or outside the uterus. It is accompanied by dysmenorrhea, painful sex, and rare chances of pregnancy. Severe pain during periods can be a sign of endometriosis so make sure to consult a doctor. 

  1. STDs

Those who are physically involved in a relationship might encounter sexually transmitted diseases (STD). A prominent change in the vaginal discharge along with pain on both sides of the lower abdomen might be an indication of an STD. Most of the time it is gonorrhea in both males and females. 

  1. PID  

It’s an infection in the reproductive organs of females. So, if you’re experiencing pain in the lower abdomen, high body temperature, and a vaginal discharge having a bad odor, then it might be pelvic inflammatory disease. For treatment, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. 

  1. IBS  

Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive disorder associated with abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. There is no proper treatment so diet changes can work well in this case.

  1. Pregnancy

Abdominal pain can also be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, in which the embryo is implanted anywhere other than the uterus. So, if you’re experiencing lower abdominal pain along with vaginal bleeding then it could be an ectopic pregnancy. 

Such pains might be an indication of serious problems too. Sometimes the pain becomes too severe and intolerable. In that case, consulting a doctor is very important.  

Tips That Can Help You Prevent Abdominal Pain! 

According to a survey, 1 in 10 people suffer from abdominal pain after consuming meals. Hence, there could hardly be a person on earth who would’ve never experienced it. Getting rid of abdominal pain won’t be a problem anymore if you follow these tips: 

  • A proper posture is key to preventing stomach pain when sitting for long periods of time. Sit with a straight back and with relaxed shoulders. 
  • If it’s gas pain, then you can opt for over-the-counter medicines such as Pepto-Bismol. Moreover, if you develop such conditions frequently, then avoid food items that cause gas. 
  • Make sure you take breaks while working. This is important because prolonged sitting leads to a disturbed abdomen as it decreases the rate of digestion. Hence, try to stand once an hour when working in a sitting position. Setting up an alarm might work well as a reminder in this case. 
  • If the abdominal pain is because of constipation, then you should use laxatives. Moreover, you should add foods that are rich sources of fiber to your diet. 
  • If you’re experiencing abdominal cramps, then diarrhea can be the culprit. So, try to keep yourself hydrated and drink diluted fruit juices. 

Sitting up all day in a weird posture will badly affect your abdomen. Hence, it’s better to avoid prolonged sitting. Try to keep alternating between the positions and walking within an hour or two can also help.  

Last Words 

Prolonged sitting and a bad posture are both responsible for abdominal pain. Sitting often reduces the speed of digestion which leads to digestive problems such as gas, bloating, belching, heartburn, constipation, and indigestion. Hence, standing up once an hour while working in a sitting position is important. In general, there are many abdominal problems such as infections and inflammation which cause pain. 

The aforementioned explanation must be helpful enough to answer the question, “Why do I have abdominal pain when I sit down?” Abdominal pain is experienced by almost every person in their daily life. However, if the pain exacerbates and the limit of tolerance ends, then consulting a doctor is important. This is because severe pain might be a sign of any dangerous disease. 


  1. What causes lower abdominal pain when sitting?

If your lower abdomen hurts while sitting, then it might be due to disturbed bowel movement. While sitting, the abdominal compression might lead to a disturbed stomach leading to constipation, indigestion, and gas. However, lower abdominal pain in women can be due to menstrual cycle, endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, and STDs. 

  1. Does sitting down make stomach pain worse?

When you sit, the stomach is compressed and sometimes it is bent. This compression reduces the rate of digestion which directly affects the abdomen. Hence, prolonged sitting can lead to abdominal disorders such as heartburn, gas, and constipation. So, the worsening of abdominal pain can be an effect of prolonged sitting. 

  1. How do you know when abdominal pain is serious?

Abdominal discomfort isn’t always simple pain. In fact, it can be in the form of waves, sharp stabbing, bloating, cramps, and darting pain. To determine the seriousness, you must check out whether the pain is constant or periodic. Moreover, if the pain becomes severe and intolerable within 24 hours then you must see a doctor because it can be a serious problem. 

  1. Why does my upper stomach hurt when I sit down?

The foremost reason for pain in the upper stomach can be gas accumulation. Moreover, it can also be GERD. However, the type of pain might help in distinguishing them both. Gas accumulation causes pain in the form of waves while acid reflux causes heartburn.

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