Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Cough?

Published on: August 14, 2022 (Last modified on: September 8, 2023)
Coughing Afro-American man feeling pain in abdomen.

If you have pain in your stomach or abdomen area when you cough, it could be a sign of other health issues. It may be as simple as a strained abdominal muscle, but the coughing may be irritating a vital organ that needs medical attention. Here are possible answers to “Why does my stomach hurt when I cough?”

Pain on Right Side When Coughing

If you have pain on the right side of your abdomen when coughing, it could be a few different organs that are in that area. While it still could be a pulled muscle or tissue pain, if it continues for more than a few days, it may be a sign of other health issues. Pain on right side when coughing is a symptom of these conditions.


The appendix is located at the end of the colon on the right, lower abdomen. If you are experiencing pain on right side when coughing along with other symptoms, you may have appendicitis, which can be a serious medical condition. Accompanying symptoms of appendicitis include:

  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation and/or bloating
  • Diarrhea

Appendicitis is an inflamed, infected appendix that can be dangerous, even deadly, if the organ is not removed.

Gall Bladder Issues

The gall bladder is located in the upper right abdomen next to your stomach and liver. Gall stones, bile duct obstructions, infection and other gall bladder conditions can cause intense pain that may worsen when coughing. Some of the other symptoms of gall stones or gall bladder issues include:

  • Sharp pain on right side of abdomen
  • Pain may be felt in the back or shoulder on the right side
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Gas, bloating or indigestion, especially after eating high-fat food
  • Jaundice

Gall bladder problems usually occur after eating and the discomfort can last for a half an hour or more. You should seek medical care to determine if you have gall stones or other gall bladder issues.

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Left Side Hurts When I Cough

If it is your left side that hurts when you cough, there are a few different organs on that side of the body. While the heart is on the right side of the chest, it is unlikely that it would only hurt when coughing. There are some other organs that may be more likely to cause pain when coughing.


If the spleen is enlarged, it could be painful when you cough. The spleen is located in the upper right abdomen, right under the ribs. An enlarged spleen can be a sign of other health conditions and it can be at risk of injury when it is inflamed. Some other symptoms of an enlarged spleen include:

  • Jaundice
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling full quickly when eating
  • Fever
  • Bleeding or bruising issues

The spleen can be enlarged due to blood disorders, infections, cancers and many other conditions. It is important to seek medical care if you believe your spleen may be enlarged for further diagnosis.


If you are wondering, “Why does my stomach hurts when I cough?” and you also have a bulge that appears when you cough, it may be a hernia. A hernia is a weak area in an abdominal muscle that allows the intestines to push through. Coughing can put enough pressure to cause hernia pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain or bulging when lifting or straining
  • Constipation
  • Pain does not go away with rest
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting

Hernias can be deadly if the bowel is strangulated or blocked. If you have severe pain, bulging, fever or constipation with a suspected hernia, seek medical attention right away. Hernias can occur on the right, left or midsection of the abdomen, as well as in the groin.

Kidney Disorders

If you have pain on right side when coughing or on the left, it could be a kidney problem. The kidneys are on the backside of your torso on the right and left. Kidney stones, infections and other issues could impact the kidneys and coughing may irritate the organs.

Female Reproductive Organs

The ovaries and fallopian tubes are located in the lower abdomen on the right and left side. Cysts, endometriosis and other female reproductive conditions can be painful and may hurt worse when you cough. Some conditions may be worse during menstruation or in the week prior to your period.
A coughing girl feeling pain in stomach when coughing.
Most coughing pain in the stomach is muscular, but not always. If you are still wondering, “What does it mean when my side hurts when I cough?” you may want to see your doctor if it continues. If there are other accompanying symptoms, it could be a serious health concern that could need medical care.

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