Stomach pain and dizziness have a wide range of potential causes, including dehydration, anxiety, and food poisoning. In some cases, they may indicate a more serious condition.

This article will examine the many causes of stomach pain and dizziness and briefly outline the symptoms and treatments for each condition.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Stomach pain and dizziness can have the following causes:


People experience hangovers as a result of drinking a lot of alcohol. Some common hangover symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • thirst
  • a headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • stomach pain
  • vertigo, or dizziness
  • sensitivity to light and sound

Treatment involves drinking plenty of fluids and getting some rest. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help reduce headaches. Most people with hangovers feel better after 24 hours or more.

Learn about hangover cures.


A lack of fluids in the body can cause dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration include:

Treatment for mild dehydration involves drinking fluids, electrolyte replacements, or oral rehydration solutions. If someone has severe symptoms of dehydration — such as confusion, lethargy, or loss of consciousness — they need emergency help.

Stomach flu

Stomach flu is the common name for gastroenteritis, an infection in the intestines. Gastroenteritis can develop due to viruses, bacteria, or parasites. The most common cause of viral gastroenteritis is norovirus. Norovirus is highly contagious.

The symptoms include:

Vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, which leads to dizziness and lightheadedness. Eating contaminated food may also lead to food poisoning, which causes very similar symptoms.

Norovirus typically improves within 1–3 days. Staying hydrated can prevent dehydration. However, if a person struggles to keep fluids down or does not get better, they should see a doctor.


A person may feel dizzy if they bleed heavily during their period. “Menorrhagia” is the term for heavy menstrual bleeding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that if a person has to change their tampon or pad after less than 2 hours or passes clots the size of a quarter or bigger, they have heavy menstrual bleeding and should talk with a doctor.

Some females with menorrhagia also experience constant pain in the lower part of the abdomen during their periods.

Learn more about dizziness and lightheadedness during menstruation.


Females going through menopause may experience dizziness and other related symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, or feeling out of control.

Abdominal pain is common in females going through menopause. According to a 2019 article, abdominal pain decreases as females get older and transition to postmenopause.

Typically, menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 58.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. In some cases, it helps people respond to danger. However, people with anxiety disorders feel anxiety in situations that are not truly dangerous, such as social gatherings.

Anxiety can cause a range of physical symptoms, including but not limited to:

Anxiety treatments include talk therapy and stress management techniques such as mindfulness. Medications can also help reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

Learn more about anxiety.

Dumping syndrome

Dumping syndrome occurs when food in the stomach empties into the small intestine too quickly. It is a common side effect of gastrectomy, which is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the stomach.

Some symptoms of the condition include:

  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • cold sweats

A person can manage dumping syndrome by making certain dietary changes and, sometimes, by taking medications that slow stomach emptying.

In rare cases, doctors will recommend surgery as a last resort.

Acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis occurs due to sudden inflammation of the pancreas. This could be due to gallstones, alcohol misuse, infections, or certain genetic disorders.

The symptoms include:

  • pain in the upper abdomen that may spread to the back
  • fever
  • nausea or vomiting
  • a fast heartbeat
  • a swollen or tender abdomen

If a person with pancreatitis becomes dehydrated, they may also feel dizzy.

People with pancreatitis need medical treatment right away. Typically, acute pancreatitis will improve after several days of treatment. However, some people may develop more severe symptoms that require admission to an intensive care unit and a longer hospital stay.

Learn more about acute pancreatitis.

Gastrointestinal bleeding

Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is a serious condition with various potential causes, including peptic ulcers.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding include:

People who are experiencing GI bleeding should see a doctor. If the bleeding is sudden, it is an emergency.

Learn more about GI bleeding.

Heart attack

Some people have stomach pain when they are experiencing a heart attack. In this case, the pain may travel from the chest to the upper stomach region.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women are more likely than men to experience symptoms other than chest pain during a heart attack.

Someone should call the emergency services immediately if a person experiences:

  • a sensation of pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the center of the chest
  • pain in the chest, one or both arms, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • shortness of breath
  • cold sweats
  • nausea or vomiting
  • lightheadedness

Learn more about heart attacks.

Rare causes

  • Cancer: Some forms of cancer may cause dizziness, stomach pain, or both. People with lymphoma, for example, may experience dizziness and pain behind the ribs.
  • Acute adrenal insufficiency: This occurs when the adrenal glands stop working, causing a shortage of cortisol. Symptoms include fatigue, low blood pressure, dizziness, and muscle spasms in the legs or back.
  • Toxic megacolon: This condition causes the large intestine to dilate. It is a complication of infectious colitis, which may occur due to inflammatory bowel disease or infection. Symptoms include fever, a fast heart rate, dehydration, and an enlarged colon.

These conditions can be very serious and require immediate treatment.

Certain symptoms could indicate a serious cause of stomach pain.

Anyone with persistent or severe stomach pain must see a doctor. A person should seek immediate medical help if they experience the following symptoms:

  • sudden, severe abdominal pain that lasts 30 minutes or more
  • fever
  • persistent nausea or vomiting
  • swollen and tender abdomen
  • rapid pulse

If stomach pain lasts more than a few days or is intermittent over several weeks, a person should schedule an appointment with a doctor. It can help to note down any other symptoms as they may help a doctor reach a diagnosis.

If stomach pain happens suddenly, and the pain is severe for 30 minutes or more, a person should visit the emergency department or call 911.

To diagnose the cause of stomach pain and dizziness, a doctor will perform a physical examination and take a person’s medical history. They may also request medical imaging or blood tests.

Because there are so many potential causes of these symptoms, it is a good idea to describe the symptoms to the doctor in as much detail as possible.

If the cause of stomach pain and dizziness is not serious, a person can get symptom relief by trying some home remedies.

For example, people can try:

  • getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids
  • applying heat to the stomach
  • taking a warm bath
  • avoiding foods and beverages that may irritate the stomach, such as coffee, alcohol, and spices

It is worth noting that these remedies are not substitutes for medical treatment.

Learn more about home remedies for stomach aches.

Stomach pain and dizziness have a wide range of potential causes. Many, such as hangovers and mild dehydration, are treatable at home. Staying hydrated, resting, and using heat therapy can help ease symptoms.

However, if a person experiences persistent or severe symptoms, they should seek advice from a doctor.