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Abdominal pain that occurs only at night
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Abdominal pain that occurs only at night

I have never experienced this problem before until a couple of months ago.  I work nights and sleep during the day.  This problem never occurs while sleeping during the day.  Every 2 weeks or so, on a night that I am not working, I will awaken with an upper abdominal pain just below the breast bone.  It feels like a gnawing and cramping and griping sensation.  I am not nauseated with this pain, although if I do make myself vomit, the pain subsides and doesn't occur again for another 2 or 3 weeks.  My physician has put me on Zantac 150 and so far I have not had any problems.  It has been almost 2 weeks.  I had an endoscopy done when I was 18, now 33, and it showed that I do have an acid build up around the base of my esophagus.  I have been stressed the past year.  Do you think this is acid reflux or a stomach ulcer, or what?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  There is not any pain except for in my upper abdominal region, and sometimes burning in my stomach does take place when this happens.
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You may want to consider the various causes of dyspepsia - including ulcers, inflammation of the upper digestive tract, as well as GERD.  A repeat endoscopy or an upper GI series would be reasonable tests at this point.

I would also consider a test for H Pylori - which is a bacteria associated with ulcers or inflammation.

If those tests (i.e. upper endoscopy and H Pylori) are negative, I would consider an ultrasound to ensure there are no gallbladder problems.  Other tests to consider would be a 24-hr pH study looking for GERD as well as an esophageal motility test.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
10 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS -why does it happen at nite??
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Avatar_n_tn
maybe your eating habits change on the night you dont work
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same condition.  I have always had heartburn and usually take rolaids etc. to control it.  One day after lunch I was doubled over with pain below the sternum and rolaids did not help.  Symptoms subsided after several hours and did not return until a month later.  Went to ER thought it was a heart attack.  After a complete Cardio workup, Echo, Stress, EKG, blood work they told me I was fine and to take protonix for the stomach.  After 3 months problem would come and go, had an EGD and was told they found nothing except a hiatal hernia and some acid reflux.  1 month later symptoms persist, no doctor has answers.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also forgot to mention that most days the pain and discomfort are minimal, however as soon as I try to go to sleep the problem intinsifies.  I am relegated to sleeping in the recliner but I still wake up most nights in pain that antacids or OTC pain releivers don't control.
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Avatar_n_tn
This sounds all to familar to me. For years, I went thru this dull ache that would intensify at night time, sometimes so strongly that I would fall alseep holding my stomach. I went thru 3 endoscopy's, numerous ultra sounds and too many years of discomfort. They even did a ultra sound on my gallbladder that came out negative. Any way, after suffering thru the nite time pain attacks that would show up once a month or so...for ten years......finally they got so bad that i could take them no more. And just two years ago, the doc sent me in again for another ultra sound on my gallbladder. And that was the culprit. I cant tell you how much better I have felt since having it taken out. From what I understand, the first time the ultra sound was done on my gallbladder, the stones were just too tiny to show up, yet large enough to cause the painful attacks. However after ten years, I had allowed it to get to a dangerous point. They ended up doing an emergency gallbladder removal. The surgery was easy , I was out the same day and eating dinner that night at the table with my family. I hate myself for not forcing them to find the problem sooner. 10 years of my life i went with that pain , and it was so unnecessary.  And just so you know, everyone does not have text book symptons with gallbladder trouble. I never did throw up, and it never did radiate thru my shoulder and spine.
I wish you luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Did you ever find out what was causing your pain?  I too am suffering from abdominal pain that primarily wakes me up in the middle of the night.  It leads to nausea and then severe vomiting.  And, like you said, once I get sick, I feel fine.  Until the next time.  So far my doctor did an upper GI and a two blood tests.  One blood test was for H. Pylori which was negative.  The second was for gastrin levels which was normal.  The upper GI found one ulcer between the duodenam and the pylorus.  They also found a hiatel hernia.  I have been taking Protonix, twice a day for 2 weeks.  Then he wants me to reduce to one a day for four weeks.  I guess he thinks that this will cure it.  However, I am still vomiting once a week.  (Which is a lot better than before.  Before it was either every night or every other night.)  Please post if you hear anything.  I posted my condition under some title like Abdominal Pain and Severe Vomiting.  dide2482
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I just thought I would share. . . . I had a sudden onset of vomiting that lasted from December 03' until this month when an upper endoscopy finally found the problem.  I too, would have severe abdominal pain, relieved only by vomiting.  First I had an upper GI which showed a hiatel hernia and an ulcer on my pylorus.  They put me on Protonix, twice a day, however the vomiting continued.  It normally happened in the middle of the night. The upper endoscopy revealed that my pylorus was completely closed off, due to scaring from my ulcer.  They did a balloon and stretched it open.  I was in pain for two weeks following this procedure.  I am happy to say that for the last two days I have had no pain and I haven't had vomiting since the procedure two weeks ago.  Best of luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi, I have been having abdominal pain every night for 1 1/2 years, been to all kinds of drs but their tests didn't find anything it seems to be gas because it passes after standing for alittle while, any ideas on how to prevent this?
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Avatar_n_tn
I would also like to share. I am 27 year old female and I have had some extra stress this past year. The first attack was 3 months and I have had 4 attacks almost a month apart.
Here are my symptoms:
First a hard knot feeling in my upper abdominal area, always starts in the middle of the night. This get worse and grows into an intense pain. The only thing that helps is taking a hot shower and letting the hot water hit my back (don't know why, but this works, hope it helps). I usually just sit right down in the bottom of the shower. Sometimes I get a mini fever with it. Then as the pain gets worse I will taste a little vomit in my mouth but not really feel nauseated or dry heave. Also a lot of small burbs like my body is filling with gas that is trapped. I make myself vomit and it's usually not that much so I do this several times until I know there is nothing left in my stomach. I feel more "in-pain" than nauseated, if that makes sense, so the vomiting is purely for relief from pain.  The vomit is slightly acidic and mostly water. I guess this could be normal, but I wouldn't know, because before these attacks I threw up only maybe once every 5 years. After my stomach is empty I rinse/sip a little water to get rid of the taste, but not to much because anything in my stomach will make it worse. The pain is still slightly there after I vomit (like someone was punched me in the upper abs) but it gradually goes away and I can finally sleep.

These are my suspected cause of the attacks:

Maybe stress, I have has some extra this past year.

Binge eating before lying down to sleep. I have been trying an experiment were I don't eat anything 5 hours before sleep (stop eating at 6PM -7PM), although it seems to happen at the same time no matter when I go to sleep. Not sure what causes this. Can your body know the time? I not sure if this was the cause, but on the nights I am able to control myself, I have not had an attach.

Also I suspect intense abdominal exercises during the following day may contribute.

Please please please if you have any information on this or can help in any way or just want to share and talk about it email me at ***@****. No doctor seems to know what causes this as far as web research goes. I also don't have insurance and cant afford a bunch of tests to try to find the cause. And this all really scares me.

On last thing, I started to feel that little hard knot that starts at the beginning the other night and right away, I ate 4 peppermint Tums and drank a little bit of FRESH gingerale (not flat soda, thats just sugar water). I had some good burbs and felt a little good gurgle in my stomach and didn't get sick. But I would like to say that it could have been my fear that an attack was coming that made my stomach hurt. I am constantly over analyzing every little feeling in that area at night now.
I am tired of these sleepless miserable nights in pain.

Once again, please reach out and share, > ***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
that sucks, my email didnt post....

hello99lemon @  gmail . com
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So  I'm a 34 years old  and I too have the same problem at night I'm get a pain right over my Stomach .. I don't know what to do u see I'm a health over all I workout 5 days a week raw vigen .. I'm up 1:26 pm and I'm in so much pain I can't take anymore if anyone can help please get back to me at  lupy.***@****
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A related discussion, Sever Upper Abdominal Pain at night was started.
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Hi I'm a 13 year old male and I've been haveing the abdominal pain for a few days now and it's like hell for me.
What can I do?????
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