Burning sensations in the stomach often stem from indigestion, also known as dyspepsia. However, this symptom can also indicate a food sensitivity or more serious gastrointestinal conditions.

A burning sensation in the stomach is usually just one symptom of an underlying condition, such as an intolerance to certain foods.

Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can prevent and treat indigestion, and some home remedies can help relieve symptoms.

Anyone who regularly experiences stomach burning and similar symptoms should see a doctor to understand the underlying cause and to receive treatment.

This article explains the potential causes for a burning feeling in the stomach, treatment options, including home remedies, and when to call a doctor.

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A feeling that the stomach is fiery or very acidic can be very painful. The pain may worsen after eating or during times of stress.

People may feel heartburn along with burning in the stomach. Heartburn occurs when the burning sensation comes up from the stomach and into the chest.

There are a few different potential causes of stomach burning, including:


A one-off bout of indigestion can cause symptoms such as stomach burning, along with:

Infrequent indigestion is common and not necessarily a sign of an underlying condition. A person may simply have eaten too much, something too spicy, or food that was no longer good.

Functional dyspepsia

Many cases of indigestion do not have a direct cause. Doctors call this functional dyspepsia.

Over 1 in 5 people may experience functional dyspepsia. Symptoms include pain or a burning feeling in the upper abdomen and a feeling of fullness.

Functional dyspepsia is typically harmless, but symptoms can be bothersome, and a doctor will want to rule out other possible causes before making this diagnosis.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition that causes frequent acid reflux. This reflux occurs when acid from the stomach moves up into the esophagus, causing burning sensations in the stomach and chest.

Other symptoms can include:

GERD can also lead to complications. For instance, stomach acid may start to wear away the esophagus, increasing the risk of conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus, which involves potentially harmful changes in the esophageal lining.

Reactions to certain foods

Some people have strong reactions to certain foods, leading to GERD-like symptoms, including burning in the stomach.

Foods that may cause gastrointestinal problems include:

Alcohol can irritate the digestive tract, stomach, and intestines, causing stomach burning and other issues.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition affecting approximately 10–15% of people.

Doctors do not know the exact cause of IBS. Symptoms can include stomach burning, as well as:

IBS is a long lasting condition, though many treatments can help manage symptoms.

Peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers are sores that wear through the stomach lining. A burning pain in the stomach and abdomen is the most common symptom. These ulcers can also cause:

  • a feeling of fullness, even before eating
  • bloating
  • burping
  • heartburn
  • nausea

Many people with peptic ulcers also experience reactions to certain foods. For example, spicy foods can make symptoms worse.

Stomach infections

Helicobacter pylori can cause a bacterial infection of the stomach.

Some people with H. pylori infections experience stomach burning, along with symptoms such as:


Certain medications that affect the gastrointestinal system can also cause a burning sensation in the stomach. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as:

Anyone who regularly takes NSAIDs and experiences stomach pain should talk with a doctor, who may recommend changing the dosage or medication.

Stomach cancer

In rare cases, burning in the stomach can be a symptom of stomach cancer.

Other signs of stomach cancer include:

However, many of these symptoms may have other, more likely causes than stomach cancer. People can speak with a doctor for a diagnosis.

Diagnosis may begin with a physical exam. A doctor may ask questions about a person’s symptoms, diet, lifestyle, and any medications they take.

The doctor may use tools to help diagnose the underlying issue, such as ultrasounds or endoscopy, a minimally invasive process that involves inserting a long, thin tube into the body and allows them to observe internal organs.

They may also order tests, such as a breath test to check for H. pylori. Once they find the underlying cause of the burning sensation in the stomach, they can recommend treatment.

Some OTC and prescription medications can ease symptoms of acid reflux and indigestion. Medications may include:

Some of these medications may also have different brand names. A person with an H. pylori infection will need antibiotics.

When NSAID use is causing the burning sensation, the doctor may recommend a change of medication.

Taking the following steps may help reduce and prevent a feeling of burning in the stomach:

Eliminate trigger foods

In people with food intolerances, GERD, or less frequent acid reflux, certain foods may trigger or worsen symptoms. A food journal can help someone identify trigger foods. Make a note of every meal and snack, and record when symptoms appear.

Trigger foods may include:

Lifestyle changes

Doctors may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as:

  • reducing alcohol intake
  • finding ways to reduce stress, such as meditation or yoga
  • avoiding meals late at night before bed
  • eating smaller meals
  • raising the head with extra pillows at night
  • maintaining a healthy weight

A single bout of indigestion is typically not a cause for concern. However, anyone who experiences persistent symptoms — such as stomach burning that lasts for a long time or comes back throughout the day — should see a doctor.

If other concerning systems occur, such as unexplained weight loss, feelings of fullness, or a loss of appetite, people should speak with a doctor.

Here are some frequently asked questions about stomach burning.

How do I stop the burning in my stomach?

Depending on the cause, some home remedies may help a person reduce or prevent stomach burning. These include avoiding trigger foods, reducing alcohol intake, eating smaller meals, and avoiding eating meals right before bed.

What medication is good for stomach burning?

OTC medications such as antacids may help reduce stomach burning. However, it is best to contact a doctor for an accurate diagnosis, as a person may require other medication, such as antibiotics for an infection.

When is a burning stomach an emergency?

An infrequent burning sensation in the stomach may be due to a common condition such as indigestion. However, constant or severe burning may indicate a more serious underlying condition, such as a stomach ulcer. In rare cases, it can indicate stomach cancer.

A person should seek medical advice if they experience frequent stomach burning, or burning alongside symptoms such as vomiting blood, blood in stool, severe heartburn, and unexplained weight loss.

An occasional feeling of burning in the stomach does not often signal a cause for concern. It may simply result from an unsettled stomach. Finding and eliminating problematic foods from the diet may prevent this symptom from returning.

However, this burning sensation can sometimes result from a chronic condition or a reaction to medication. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause.

Anyone uncertain about the cause of the symptom should speak with a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

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