6 Things That Can Cause Your Stomach to Be More Sensitive

Dealing with stomachaches on a daily basis can often be very inconvenient. It can affect your life and activities in numerous ways, most of which aren’t positive. If stomach pains have become a part of your everyday life, you’ve probably been wondering what’s causing them. Many things can cause your stomach to be more sensitive. Of course, everyone is different, so the things that irritate one person can be completely fine for someone else. That being said, some of the causes are more common than others. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequent causes of a sensitive gut.

Food intolerance

A big part of taking care of your gut health is listening to what your body is telling you. If you repeatedly have stomach issues after eating certain foods, it might be time to check your food intolerances. These are probably at the top of the list of things that can cause your stomach to be more sensitive.

Lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance are the most common in the US nowadays. You can easily get tested for those at almost any clinic, as well as for a variety of other foods. Another thing you can try is excluding certain foods from your diet and keeping track of what’s going on. It’s important to note that food intolerances and allergies aren’t the same. Apart from stomach sensitivity, allergies can cause an array of other symptoms and can be life-threatening. While food intolerances aren’t that dangerous, they can cause severe discomfort, so it’s best to avoid dealing with them.

Diet and general food habits

Food intake that causes gut sensitivity isn’t necessarily limited to intolerances and allergies. It’s also your general diet that has a considerable effect on your gut health. For your digestion to function normally, you need to have a healthy, balanced diet. Your diet should also have variety, as limiting yourself to only a few foods can slow digestion down.

Some people find that having a diet that focuses on specific nutrients, such as a high-fiber diet, benefits them. Still, that’s something you need to try out and see if it works for you, as it’s very individual. Also, be careful of the spices you consume. Spicy food can irritate your stomach, whether it’s the food you’ve cooked or are eating out. This can often lead to diarrhea, stomach aches, and many other issues.

A woman holding a tomato in the kitchen with lots of different vegetables on the counter.

A balanced diet is necessary for a healthy gut microbiome.


Your stomach doesn’t react solely to the food and drinks you consume. If you’ve noticed that stress and anxiety alter how your digestive system works, you’re not alone. For some people, it manifests through slowed-down digestion, which can cause constipation and gassiness. On the other hand, it can also be very rushed. As a result, your body doesn’t have time to absorb all the nutrients. If you’ve already been diagnosed with a digestive condition, stress can worsen and cause flare-ups.

The best thing you can do to alleviate stomach issues caused by stress is to – reduce stress. Yes, we know it’s much easier said than done. Still, trying your best is often necessary to feel better. If you’re going through a specific stressful situation, for example, moving to a new apartment, try looking for ways to simplify things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! However, if the source of your stress is continuous, for example, a job, you need a slightly different approach. Consider getting into therapy or even changing the circumstances that cause your anxiety.

Alcohol and coffee

Many people focus solely on foods when they consider the causes of stomach sensitivity. However, we can’t forget about the drinks either.

While it’s generally bad for health, substance abuse can also affect digestion. Alcohol is one of the most common stomach irritants, and this is because of the increased production of stomach acid. This can cause acid reflux, thinning of the stomach lining, gastritis, and many other conditions.

Coffee, the favorite morning drink of many people, can also cause stomach sensitivity. And both caffeine and acid from coffee can cause this discomfort. Also, drinking coffee on an empty stomach is often a recipe for disaster, so make sure you avoid doing that.

A cup of coffee sitting on a bunch of coffee beans.

Coffee is one of the main things that can cause your stomach to be more sensitive.


Underlying health conditions

A sensitive stomach is not always the cause of the problems but instead just a symptom. It is often a sign that a different gastrointestinal condition may be present. If you find yourself having stomach troubles, no matter how hard you control your diet and activities, it might be time to visit a doctor. Getting a diagnosis for diseases such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrom) or Crohn’s disease is often the start of a healing journey. Getting proper medical attention means keeping symptoms under control will be much easier. Also, having doctors keep track of your disease can be exceptionally comforting, as you know you’re not alone in this.

Lack of physical activity

Regularly moving your body benefits your health in many different ways. Apart from a healthy diet, proper exercise is one of the main factors in your gut’s well-being. Being physically active encourages the production of useful bacteria in your stomach, which help reduce irritation and maintain healthy gut functions. Also, exercising boosts your metabolism, which can help get things moving if you’re suffering from constipation.

Moving your body when you have a sensitive stomach can sometimes be tricky. You may want to always have a bathroom nearby in an emergency, which is not always possible. Luckily, there’s a way around this. You can start with some short home workouts that won’t be overwhelming. This way, you can be physically active with no stress and worries.

A silhouette of a woman running with the sun in the background.

Getting enough exercise is beneficial for both general health and stomach issues.


Taking good care of your gut health is absolutely necessary for staying healthy. However, that process is not always straightforward. Experiencing stomach sensitivity is a frequent issue for many people. Nowadays, various things can cause your stomach to be more sensitive. Your responsibility is to listen to your body and find the root of the problem. Of course, you don’t have to do it alone. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or health provider if you’re struggling with anything.

Ready to schedule your Colonoscopy in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati?  Tri-State Gastroenterology Associates is a physician-owned and independent practice founded in 1982. Our team of Top Doctors, nurses, and medical assistants live in this community and care for this community. We serve patients living in the Tri-State Area and are in the network with most insurance plans.

It is our mission “To provide compassionate, high quality, cost-effective care to patients with gastrointestinal related problems.”