Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Cough: 10 Reasons

Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Cough

Experiencing stomach pain when you cough can be a perplexing and uncomfortable sensation. While it might be tempting to dismiss it as a temporary inconvenience, understanding the underlying reasons can help you address the issue more effectively.

In this article, we will explore 10 common reasons why your stomach might hurt when you cough, providing insights into each cause and offering some practical tips for relief.

Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Cough?

While stomach pain during coughing may seem like a minor inconvenience, its underlying causes can vary widely, impacting your overall well-being. Ignoring persistent discomfort can lead to prolonged suffering and potential complications if an underlying condition goes untreated. Recognizing the reasons behind stomach pain when coughing is the first step towards finding relief and promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Whether it’s a common issue like muscle strain or a more serious concern like appendicitis, understanding the root cause empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health. In the following sections, we will delve into ten common reasons for this discomfort, shedding light on each condition and offering insights into how to manage or alleviate the associated symptoms

  • Muscle Strain

One of the most common reasons for stomach pain during coughing is muscle strain. When you cough, your abdominal muscles contract, and if they are overused or weakened, it can result in discomfort. This is particularly common in individuals who have recently engaged in intense physical activity or those with weakened core muscles.

  • Coughing Fits

Intense and prolonged coughing fits can put significant stress on your abdominal muscles. This strain may lead to discomfort or pain in the stomach area. If you are experiencing frequent or severe coughing, it is essential to identify the underlying cause, such as respiratory infections or allergies.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort. Coughing can exacerbate this condition, leading to stomach pain. Lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and medications can help manage GERD and alleviate associated symptoms.

  • Hernia

A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Coughing can increase intra-abdominal pressure, potentially causing a hernia to become more noticeable and painful. If you suspect a hernia, seeking medical attention is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Abdominal Strain During Pregnancy

Pregnant women may experience stomach pain while coughing due to the strain on abdominal muscles. The growing uterus can put pressure on surrounding organs, and coughing may exacerbate this discomfort. Proper prenatal care and posture adjustments can help alleviate these symptoms.

  • Constipation

Chronic constipation can lead to a buildup of stool in the intestines, causing abdominal distension and pain. Coughing can intensify this discomfort by further straining the abdominal muscles. Adequate hydration, dietary fiber, and regular exercise can help prevent constipation.

  • Inflammation of the Abdominal Organs

Inflammation of the organs in the abdominal cavity, such as the liver, gallbladder, or spleen, can cause pain during coughing. Underlying conditions like infections or diseases may contribute to this inflammation. Seeking medical advice is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Appendicitis

Although less common, appendicitis can cause stomach pain during coughing. This condition occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed, and coughing can aggravate the pain. Appendicitis requires immediate medical attention, as it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

  • Ovarian Issues

Women may experience stomach pain during coughing due to issues related to the ovaries, such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis. Hormonal imbalances and inflammation can contribute to these conditions, and consultation with a healthcare professional is necessary for proper diagnosis and management.

  • Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, small and hard deposits that form in the kidneys, can cause abdominal pain that may be exacerbated by coughing. Adequate hydration and dietary changes may help prevent kidney stones, but medical intervention is required for their treatment.


Stomach pain during coughing can result from various factors, ranging from mild muscle strain to more serious medical conditions. If you consistently experience such discomfort, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle, maintaining proper posture, and addressing any underlying health issues can contribute to overall well-being and help reduce stomach pain associated with coughing.

Written by Amy Fischer

Amy, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Nutrition Lab, brings a wealth of expertise to nutrition, health content, and product testing. With a journalism degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master's in clinical nutrition from NYU, she's a versatile expert. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping, Amy worked as a cardiac transplant dietitian at a prominent NYC hospital and contributed to clinical nutrition textbooks. Her background also includes PR and marketing work with food startups.

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