First Up: Is It Actually Your Stomach That Hurts
Before we get into the most common causes of a crampy middle after eating, lets clear up something many of us have been unknowingly getting wrong since we were kids. When you say your stomach hurts, chances are youre talking about the part of your torso between your chest and your hips. This part of your body is technically your abdomen. Your stomach starts a bit under your chest on your left side and extends down into the middle of your torso.
Its no surprise, then, that figuring out exactly what hurts in this general area can be tricky. There are organs that overlap, Nitin Ahuja, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of clinical medicine in the gastroenterology department in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, tells SELF. The small intestine occupies a lot of space, and the colon sort of drapes around the entire abdomen and overlaps of the stomach as well.
Also, depending on what is going on, the nerves in the abdomen may not be as good at localizing pain, Dr. Ahuja says, so it might be hard to tell where the pain is coming from. Keep all of this in mind as you try to figure out what might be causing your post-eating cramps. Now, for the next bit of background information you need to know, since high school biology was a long time ago for some of us
Left Side Of The Abdomen
This part of the abdomen contains a portion of the body of your stomach, the tail of the pancreas, and your spleen.
The spleen is an organ that filters blood and supports the immune system.
Center left and center middle:
The transverse colon and the small intestine make up the center left and center middle of the abdomen. The small intestine is where most food digestion occurs.
The transverse colon is the upper part of the large intestine, where unabsorbed food is carried after going through the ascending colon. The small intestine is the organ that takes up most of the abdomen.
The descending and sigmoid colon portions are the part of the digestive system that stores unabsorbed food remains and waste before they leave your body.
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.
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Upper Middle Stomach Pain After Eating: 5 Causes Gastroenterologist Explains
Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.
Often, upper stomach pain after eating arises from your stomach. Chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and functional dyspepsia are the most common causes of such pain.;
Summary of the causes of upper-middle stomach pain after eating:
- Gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.
- Functional dyspepsia.
- Pancreatic diseases, especially chronic pancreatitis.
- GERD and hiatal hernia.
- Other less frequent causes such as gastric cancer, liver diseases, and others.
Causes Of Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea In Children
As in adults, abdominal pain and diarrhea in children are commonly caused by the stomach flu, infections, food allergies, lactose intolerance, and stress. But eating too much can also cause these symptoms. Some children may have trouble telling the difference between when theyre hungry and when theyre full. This can cause them to overeat. Overeating places stress on the digestive system, which can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.
- swelling of the genitals
- external bleeding
Diarrhea can be more dangerous for infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. In these cases, discuss symptoms with a medical professional.
If you dont already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
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Food Allergy Or Intolerance
Some people may be allergic to certain foods. These can irritate the stomach and may cause pain after eating.
An intolerance is a milder form of an allergy. Both allergies and intolerances can be caused by many different foods.
Common intolerances include gluten, wheat, and lactose.
People can keep a food diary if they think they might have an allergy.
A food diary is a written record of what they have consumed at each meal, including drinks and snacks. They should also include a note of when their stomach hurts.
Keeping a diary can help determine the foods causing an issue. People can then cut this food out of their diet.
Common Causes Of Stomach Pain
Harmless abdominal pain usually subsides or goes away within two hours.
- Gas: Formed in the stomach and intestines as your body breaks down food, this can cause general stomach pain and cramps. This often can be indicated by belching or flatulence.
- Bloating: Related to gas, this occurs when excessive gas builds up in your digestive tract. Your stomach will usually feel full, and you may experience cramps.
- Constipation: This occurs when you are having difficulty making bowel movements. If you are having two or fewer bowel movements a week, constipation is the likely cause. In addition to feeling bloated and nauseous, you may experience cramping and pain in your rectum.
- Indigestion: You typically experience this as an upset stomach, burning, or belly pain after eating.
- Stomach flu: Your stomach may hurt before each episode of vomiting or diarrhea.
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Causes Of Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea
Most people occasionally experience abdominal pain and diarrhea for short periods. Dietary changes, consuming too much alcohol, and indigestion may cause these symptoms.
Frequent, constant, or severe abdominal pain and diarrhea may indicate a disease or a more serious medical issue. Diarrhea that gets progressively worse and is bloody can be also be a sign of a more serious issue. Possible causes of abdominal pain and diarrhea include:
Diarrhea and abdominal pain that last for more than a week or that frequently reoccur may be a sign of an intestinal disease or disorder. You should talk to your doctor if youve experienced these symptoms for more than a week or on a reoccurring basis.
The above conditions and disorders can cause swelling of various parts of the digestive tract, such as the stomach and intestines. Inflammation of the digestive system can cause cramps and disrupt normal digestive processes. This usually results in abdominal pain and diarrhea.ADVERTISING
What Is Discomfort After Food
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Middle Of The Abdomen
The upper middle part of the abdomen contains the liver, the cardiac region of the stomach, part of the body of the stomach, the pyloric region of the stomach, and the pancreas.
The liver filters blood and creates bile, which is a substance that helps in the breakdown and absorption of fat in the foods you eat.
The cardiac region of the stomach is where food enters from the esophagus.
The pyloric region of the stomach is the last part of the stomach before food enters into the duodenum of the small intestine.
The pancreas is a large glandular organ that releases digestive enzymes and hormones.
The lower middle part of the abdomen contains the urinary bladder, rectum, and anus.
The urinary bladder is the organ that collects urine for excretion out of the body through the urethra.
The rectum goes into the anus, the final section of the large intestine that carries stool for excretion from the body.
Home Remedies For Stomach Pain
Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.
Stabbing, throbbing, pulsing, or burning abdominal pains may be the sign of either minor or serious health conditions.
In most cases, relief can be found with all-natural home remedies for stomach pain.
The powerful yet nontoxic properties of many common kitchen products may help to alleviate the pain and other symptoms caused by gas, constipation, irritating foods, indigestion, food allergies, or viral infections.
Identifying the cause is the first step in knowing how to get relief from stomach pain.
In this article:
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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.
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.
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Inflammatory And Autoimmune Conditions
Autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease are recognized causes of chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Crohns disease can affect the GI tract from the mouth to the rectum, while UC primarily impacts the large bowel. Abdominal pain and diarrhea can result .
In celiac disease,;another autoimmune condition, gut inflammation occurs from an immune response against gluten, a protein found in some grains.
The bodys immune cells not only attack the invading protein but also the small intestine. This can lead to an inflamed bowel that cant properly absorb nutrients, as well as abdominal pain and diarrhea .
Chronic pancreatitis, often caused by alcohol abuse, can also lead to recurrent and severe abdominal pain and malabsorption-related diarrhea .
Summary: ;Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohns and ulcerative colitis, often cause chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain. Inflammation of the pancreas can also result in similar symptoms.
Home Remedies For Abdominal Pain
Getting an accurate medical diagnosis is the first and safest step to relieve abdominal pain, because a doctor or other healthcare provider can perform an exam and order tests to rule out serious causes. However, if you have generalized abdominal pain and suspect it is due to minor gastrointestinal issues, consider these home remedies:
- Baking soda for heartburn
- Ginger to aid digestion and reduce nausea
- Heated compress on your belly for cramp-like pain
- Liquid diet of broth and watered-down, non-caffeinated sports drinks
- Lying reclined on your left side, which can help you pass gas
- Modifying your diet to exclude problem foods, such as dairy products, beans, broccoli, and potential allergens
- Blackstrap molasses for constipation
- Tylenol for pain or fever
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When Should You See A Doctor
Is stomach pain after eating a regular occurrence for you?
It may be time to visit a medical professional, naturopathic doctor, or holistic nutritionist. A stomachache after eating should go away after a few hours, but if your pain has lasted for more than a week or if a stomachache occurs after every meal, speak with your doctor.
How Is The Cause Of The Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
Physical examination will include a careful examination of the patients abdomen, heart, and lungs in order to pinpoint the source of the pain.
- The doctor will touch different parts of the abdomen to check for tenderness or other signs that indicate the source of the pain.
- The doctor may do a rectal exam to check for small amounts of blood in the stool or other problems, such as a mass or internal hemorrhoids.
- If the patient is a man, the doctor may check the penis and testicles.
- If the patient is a woman, the doctor may do a pelvic exam to check for problems in the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
- The doctor also may look at the patients eyes for yellow discoloration and in the mouth to be sure the patient is not dehydrated.
Laboratory tests may or may not help to determine the cause of the abdominal pain. Combined with the information gained from the questions the patient was asked and the physical examination performed by the doctor, certain blood or urine tests may be ordered and could assist in determining the diagnosis.
Radiology studies of the patients abdomen can be useful, but are not always necessary or helpful.
- Occasionally, an X-ray will show air outside of the bowel, meaning that something has ruptured or perforated.
- An X-ray also can help diagnose bowel obstruction.
- Sometimes X-rays can show a kidney stone.
Ultrasound is a painless procedure useful in finding some causes of abdominal pain.
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.
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.
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What Causes Abdominal Pain
Common causes of abdominal pain often involve the digestive system. Relatively harmless gastrointestinal conditions include indigestion, gas and constipation. Stress and anxiety can also cause general abdominal pain. Sometimes children say they have a because they are trying to avoid a stressful or frightening situation, such as, trying to miss school to avoid issues with peers or friends.
However, it is always important to consider and rule out the possibility of physical causes, as abdominal pain can be from infection, malignancy, inflammation, trauma, obstruction, and other abnormal processes.
Life-threatening conditions, such as trauma, , and a bleeding peptic ulcer can cause abdominal pain and should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Conditions involving other body systems, such as the endocrine, nervous, reproductive, and urinary systems, can also cause abdominal pain.
Treatment For Stomach Ulcers
If you think you have a stomach ulcer, you should see a doctor, as they may prescribe treatment.
If you take NSAIDs, they will review this, and may recommend an alternative painkiller but you shouldnt stop taking any prescribed medication without talking to your doctor first.
You should get medical help urgently if you:
- vomit blood
- feel a sharp pain in your tummy that gets worse
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Right Or Left Lower Abdominal Pain In Women
Sudden onset of right lower abdominal pain or left lower abdominal pain can indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst in a woman who is mid-cycle. This kind of pain could also be a sign of ovarian torsion, which is the rotation of the ovary and part of the fallopian tube, or possibly a twisting of the ovary due to compromised blood supply. Seek treatment immediately at the nearest emergency department. Surgery to remove the ovary may be required.