ZocdocAnswersAre hunger pains real?

Question

Are hunger pains real?

Are hunger pains real? I have been having stomach pain and my friend says it is just because I don't eat enough and that they are hunger pains. I never heard of anything like that. Could she be right?

Answer

Individual persons respond to being hungry in different ways. For some people, in addition to just 'feeling hungry', there may also be an actual sensation of cramping or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Alternatively, there may be some nausea prior to eating. These symptoms together are frequently called "hunger pains" and they should go away completely with eating a nutritious meal. However, there are several other causes of stomach pain. Therefore any case of persistent stomach pains does need to be evaluated by a doctor to make sure there is not a treatable medical cause. I suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor to have this evaluation completed. As just one example, gastritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach lining, or acid reflux (heartburn) are both treatable conditions that can cause stomach pains. In severe cases, these can both lead to a stomach ulcer, which can cause intestinal bleeding. While you are waiting to see your doctor, you should avoid anything that could potentially irritate your stomach and make your symptoms worse. These things include alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, smoking, and over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen or naproxen. Your doctor will help your figure out what exactly is going on!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.