When Should I Call The Doctor
Sometimes, what seems like one problem food poisoning, for example can turn out to be something more serious, like appendicitis.
- the pain is very strong
- you’re vomiting a lot
- you already have another health condition
- the pain gets worse over time, doesn’t go away, or wakes you up from sleep
Also let the doctor know if you:
- have a fever
- have pain when you pee
- have trouble pooping or peeing
- have blood in your poop or pee
- think the belly pain is from an injury
- might be pregnant
Colon Damage From Impaired Blood Flow
Acute intestinal ischemia means that the blood flow to the large and/or small intestines has been cut off. It is also called acute mesenteric ischemia, or AMI.
The ischemia is caused by blockage in one of the arteries leading into the abdomen, usually due to atherosclerosis or a blood clot.
Most susceptible are those with very high or low blood pressure heart disease or using illegal drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine.
Symptoms include sudden, severe pain in one area of the abdomen nausea and vomiting and repeated, urgent bowel movements, often with blood.
Acute intestinal ischemia is a life-threatening medical emergency. If it is suspected, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.
Diagnosis is made through arteriogram, which involves injecting dye into the abdominal arteries under x-ray in order to find the exact location of the blockage.
Treatment involves “clot-busting” drugs to destroy a clot, or emergency surgery to remove whatever is causing the blockage and possibly some of the damaged intestine as well.
Top Symptoms: abdominal pain , nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, being severely ill
Urgency: Hospital emergency room
Why Does Your Stomach Hurt
Stomach cramps can range from mild achiness to severe, stabbing pain.
Common causes of stomach cramps include eating foods that can irritate your stomach, constipation, food poisoning, or a stomach infection. People who have anxiety may also develop stomach cramps.
Pregnant people may experience stomach cramps as the fetus grows. Menstrual cramps are also very common, though they actually take place in the uterus.
Sometimes stomach cramps are constant. In this case, a chronic digestive illness, such as irritable bowel disease, may be the cause.
Most stomach cramps go away on their own within a few hours or a couple of days. Changing what you eat and taking over-the-counter medication can help with symptoms while you recover.
Some stomach cramps may require medical attention. You should be concerned about stomach cramps if they last for a week or longer or are so severe that you cant function, or you also have symptoms like fever or blood in your vomit or stool.
Also Check: What Is An Ulcer In Your Stomach
You Might Have Eaten More Than Your Stomach Could Handle
Experts say this tends to be the most common cause for this specific type of discomfort. Im sure all of us have had that situation where weve eaten too much and we get stomach cramps, Suneeta Krishnareddy, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine in the faculty of digestive and liver diseases at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF. Its usually just caused by the stomach stretchingbecause it is a very stretchy organbecause theres too much food in there. This stomach stretching can also happen because of the bacteria in your G.I. tract trying to help you break down the food, which can cause gas and distension, Dr. Krishnareddy says. That stretch in some people causes pain or cramping, she explains.
To be super clear, were not saying theres anything inherently wrong with sometimes eating a lot . Eating past the point of fullness on some occasions can actually be part of having a normal relationship with food. And, of course, if you deal with a disordered eating issue like binge eating disorder, navigating how much you eat can be really complex and not feel entirely under your control right now. So, seriously, no judgment here. But if youre dealing with stomach cramps after eating often and think its because you have a hard time not eating past the point of fullness, talking to a doctor, therapist, or registered dietitian may help.
How Can I Prevent Abdominal Pain
- You can keep your gut healthy by eating lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as other foods high in fibre, such as whole grains and legumes. Find out more about healthy eating.
- You can reduce the chance of food poisoning and gut infections by following food safety practices and keeping your hands clean.
- Find out about preventing specific conditions by linking on the related topics and links in the list of causes above.
Also Check: How To Lose Weight In My Stomach And Sides
These 4 Underlying Conditions Might Explain Why Your Stomach Hurts After You Eat
It’s not always just indigestion.
The last thing you expect after enjoying a great meal is stomach pain, but it can and does happen.
One of the most common reasons for this might be dyspepsia, which is basically just a fancy word for indigestion. Dyspepsia causes abdominal pain, bloating, and feelings of fullness after you eat, and its actually pretty common, says Scott Gabbard, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, about one in every four people get dyspepsia at some point.
While indigestion is typically fleeting, your stomach might also hurt after you eat because of an underlying condition.
This can be caused by a long list of things, says Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Groups Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, Calif. Still, there are issues that are more commonly linked with post-meal stomach pain. Here are the biggies you should know about:
Find out what you MUST do the next time you go to the doctor:
IBS, an intestinal disorder that can cause pain in your stomach, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, can show up in a number of different ways, but it can definitely cause stomach pain after you eat, Farhadi says. If your stomach keeps hurting after you eat and youre struggling with constipation or diarrhea, its a good idea to check in with your doctor to get tested for IBS.
Sudden And Severe Onset Stomach Pain
When mid-abdominal pain occurs suddenly especially in people with a history of peptic ulcer disease or in those who take excessive amounts of aspirin or NSAIDs it may be a sign of a perforation that could require emergency surgery. A tear could leak air and gastric content which can lead to a condition called peritonitis, and eventually, septic shock. Surgery would be required to seal the perforation.
Read Also: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Stomach
When In Doubt About Your Abdominal Symptoms Physicians Say Its Best To Call Your Doctor Or Head To The Er
The egg salad didn’t taste quite right, but you were hungry. Or maybe your craving for cheesecake overrode the punishment you knew your lactose intolerance would inflict. You expect stomach distress in situations like these, but other times, abdominal pain can come out of nowhere. Sometimes it’s severe enough or lasts for so long that you know it’s not simply a matter of eating something that didn’t agree with you.
Digestive system issues account for 51 million visits to doctors’ offices and emergency departments yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The severity of the pain, its location within your abdominal area, and accompanying symptoms may provide clues to the origin of the pain and whether or not you should seek help immediately. Here are some of the most common signs your tummy troubles need more than an over-the-counter remedy.
Food Allergies Or Intolerances
Burning sensation in the stomach and chest can result from a food allergy or intolerance. This burning sensation can also occur after eating. When a person consumes food they cannot tolerate or are allergic to, they may also experience nausea and vomiting. Your doctor will then conduct an allergy test to narrow down which foods are your triggers.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Excess Gas In Stomach
Eat Plenty Of Roughage
Fibre is the part of food that is not digested. It is filling but has few calories. It helps your bowels to move regularly, which reduces constipation and other bowel problems. Fibre may also help to lower your cholesterol level.
Starchy foods, and fruit and vegetables contain the most fibre. So the tips above on starchy foods and fruit and vegetables will also increase fibre. If you switch to wholemeal rice and pasta and wholemeal bread, this can significantly increase your fibre intake. Pulses like lentils and beans are also full of fibre.
Have plenty to drink when you eat a high-fibre diet .
Further reading and references
Cartwright SL, Knudson MP Evaluation of acute abdominal pain in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2008 Apr 177:971-8.
Zgheib H, Wakil C, Shayya S, et al Retrospective cohort study on clinical predictors for acute abnormalities on CT scan in adult patients with abdominal pain. Eur J Radiol Open. 2020 Jan 277:100218. doi: 10.1016/j.ejro.2020.01.007. eCollection 2020.
Dysmenorrhoea NICE CKS, November 2018
Constipation NICE CKS, November 2020
Constipation in children NICE CKS, November 2020
Find The Cause Of Your Stomach Pain After Eating
Its important to remember that stomach pain after eating is a common problem that may stem from an underlying health condition such as pancreatitis or diverticulitis, or food sensitivity. Your pain can range from mild to severe, and depending on the cause, it may indicate damage to the lining of your gut.
The pain may occur within a few minutes to hours after eating, and the timing of the painful discomfort may help you to narrow down what food or disorder caused the agony. The location of the pain may also determine if the pain is caused by a serious event such as appendicitis.
Stomach pain after eating may be the result of an intolerance to foods like bananas, eggs, or peanuts and may be prevented by avoiding the culprits.
Pain may also be prevented by changing your overall eating habits. You can start by maintaining a regular eating routine of healthy foods and avoiding triggers that may be causing the pain.
You May Like: How To Relieve Stomach Pain Due To Constipation
Urinary Tract Infections As A Reason For Belly Button Pain
Sharp pain near the belly button and a burning sensation when urinating could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infections affect more women than men and are sometimes a reason for pain under the belly button in females. According to the National Kidney Foundation, pain around the belly button, painful sensation when peeing, and discolored urine that smells bad are all symptoms of a urinary tract infection.7
You can treat the first signs of a urinary tract infection naturally by drinking baking soda and water. Baking soda remedy helps to neutralize the acid in your urine and reduces the burning sensation when you use the bathroom.
When Should I Become Concerned About Stomach Pain
Any pain that is chronic in nature or atypical should be addressed as it could be a sign of something more serious. Visiting a specialist may help uncover the exact cause and need for further treatment. Some of the warning signs may include:
Vomiting with or without blood
Unable to eat or drink
Yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes
You May Like: Is Alka Seltzer Good For Upset Stomach
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
SIBO happens when theres an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine which causes the stomach to bloat. It can have similar symptoms to food intolerances, candida, or a leaky gut. However, SIBO tends to cause more bloating towards the end of the day. One of the symptoms of SIBO is stomach cramps after eating.
Holistic nutrition consultant, Mary Vance recommends the low FODMAP diet to reduce bloating and relieve the pain that you feel in your stomach. The low FODMAP diet eliminates certain type of foods which break down easily into sugars and continue to feed the bad bacteria in your small intestine. She has more information on the low FODMAP diet here.
How Is Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
As well as asking where the pain is, your doctor will ask you to describe your pain, so notice whether it’s sharp, stabbing, cramping or a dull ache. Also, notice whether the pain is there all the time or if it comes and goes in waves.
Your doctor will also ask if the pain came on suddenly , or whether you have had it for a while . They will also want to know if you have been sick or had diarrhoea .
Depending on what they think is causing your abdominal pain, they may want to do further tests.
Read Also: How To Calm An Anxiety Stomach
What Are The Potential Complications Of Abdominal Pain
Complications of abdominal pain depend on the underlying cause, but can range from missed school or work to malnutrition to life-threatening infections. Getting an accurate diagnosis and following your treatment plan will help you avoid complications. Over time, abdominal pain can lead to serious complications including:
- due to blood loss
- Dehydration due to loss of fluids
- Organ failure
Stomach Ache After Eating During Pregnancy
Among the numerous minor complications of pregnancy, you may also experience stomach pain after eating. This discomfort may be caused by more than just the type of food you have consumed.
During pregnancy, the digestive process slows down, and there is an increase in the production of stomach acid. This may stimulate gas, bloating, and constipation, all leading to stomach cramping.
Incidences of acid reflux may also occur, causing pain. This happens when the esophageal sphincter loosens, allowing the excess acid to enter the esophagus.
Stomach pain after eating may also be caused by the decreased amount of space in the stomach as the fetus continues to grow.
Each pregnancy is different, and by maintaining a food journal of products that cause pain after eating, you may narrow down the culprit.
You Might Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Its not clear exactly what causes IBS, but there are a few theories. People with IBS may have abnormalities in how their brains and guts interact that lead to digestive problems and pain, the NIDDK explains.
This can manifest in a few different ways. Dr. Chey says that people with IBS may have large intestines that contract more strongly and more frequently when they eat a meal than other peoples, which can then cause abdominal pain and other issues. Another theory is that people with IBS are extra sensitive to the stretch that is normal in the intestines from the breakdown of food products, Dr. Krishnareddy says.
If Your Abdominal Cramps Are Making Life Miserable Try To Talk To A Doctor
Treatments for the above issues can vary wildly. For instance, if you think the issue is that you have a hard time processing beans, which then leads to painful gas, over-the-counter medications like simethicone may help with the distension that causes your pain, Dr. Krishnareddy explains.
However, if youre experiencing cramps that are pretty severe, along with other symptoms that make you think you might have a chronic issue like IBS or IBD, its really important to try to consult with a doctorparticularly because taking over-the-counter medications wont treat the real issue at hand.
These medications can decrease the symptoms just enough that the person doesnt go to their doctor to get evaluated, Dr. Krishnareddy says. But its not actually the underlying problem.
Ultimately, if getting abdominal cramps after eating is affecting your life, its time to consult the professionals. If youre having symptoms that are occurring frequently enough to interfere with your ability to conduct your daily activities, you need to see a doctor, Dr. Chey confirms. This is especially true, he says, if youre having serious symptoms like vomiting , seeing blood in your stool , or inexplicably losing weight.
Trust your gut when it tells you somethings wrong. At the very least, your doctor should be able to ask you some questions that get you closer to figuring out whats going on.
Recommended Reading: Does Birth Control Make Your Stomach Hurt
Abdominal Muscles After Exercise
Abdominal muscle injury often leads to symptoms of pain, swelling, and a burning sensation. Injury is most likely to occur to beginners who perform far too much then their body is capable of handling, however, abdominally muscle injury can occur at any fitness level. Regardless of your level of fitness, it is recommended to begin any new exercise problem slowly.
How Can I Feel Better
Most bellyaches don’t have a serious cause. They can happen for many different reasons, but most are easy to treat.
If stress or anxiety seem to be behind the pain, the doctor may recommend that you talk to a counselor or therapist. They help people figure out what’s behind their stress and give advice on how to fix problems or handle them better.
Recommended Reading: Why My Stomach Gets Big After I Eat
Belly Pain In The Lower Left Side Thats Worse When You Move
Abdominal pain in the left lower area of the abdomen may signify diverticulitis, small pockets in the colon that can become obstructed and tear. Traditional treatment includes antibiotics and stool softeners to reduce the risk of abscess formation. Physicians say according to recent research, antibiotics may no longer be needed in this scenario, recommending acetaminophen instead.