How To Avoid An Upset Stomach
Youve just enjoyed a delicious meal and are clearing the dishes from the table when it startsan upset stomach. Getting an upset stomach after eating is something that most of us have experienced at one time or anotherand when it happens, it can be debilitating. So why do we experience stomach discomfort after eating? And how can we get rid of the uncomfortable symptoms? Read on to learn more about whats happening to your body and how to get relief.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
Indigestion can be a sign of a serious health problem. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have indigestion and any of these symptoms:
- Frequent vomiting
- Weight loss or not feeling hungry
- Bloody, black, or tarry stools
- Sudden sharp pain in your belly or abdomen
- Trouble breathing
- Pain that spreads to your jaw, neck, or arm
- Difficult, painful swallowing
- Yellow coloring of your eyes or skin
Also call your healthcare provider if you have indigestion that lasts longer than 2 weeks.
How To Relieve Bloating After Eating
The best way to relieve bloating is to prevent its occurrence. As dietary triggers are often the cause of bloating, knowing which triggers you are most sensitive to is vital to avoid bloating. Keeping an eye on your intake of fiber, salt, and carbonated beverages can also play a big part in preventing stomach bloating. Also, make sure you are not consuming a high-fat diet, as fatty foods are a major culprit in stomach bloating after eating. There also may be a difference between trans fats, saturated fats, and unsaturated fats for your digestion as well, so try and keep track of which ones make you feel the worst.
Although it is a dairy product, eating yogurt can help to fill your stomach with healthy bacteria in the form of probiotics, which boost digestion and gut health. When eating, try not to drink too many liquids. Beverages dilute stomach acids and cause the digestion process to become prolonged. Wait until after eating to finish your drink. Finally, take your time and eat slowly while sitting up straight. Allowing your digestive tract time to begin the digestive process will help to decrease the risk of bloating after eating.
How Common Is Stomach Bloating
Between 10% and 25% of otherwise healthy people complain of occasional abdominal bloating. As many as 75% describe their symptoms as moderate to severe. About 10% say they experience it regularly. Among those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome , it may be as much as 90%. Up to 75% of women experience bloating before and during their period. Only 50% of people who experience bloating also report a distended abdomen.
What Medications Help Indigestion
Indigestion caused by another health condition might improve with medication. Common medications for relief include:
- Antacids: These over-the-counter medications provide quick relief for acid reflux. They neutralize stomach acid.
- Antibiotics:Antibiotics treat bacterial infections like H. pylori.
- H2 blockers: These medications decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces. H2 blockers may help peptic ulcers.
- Proton pump inhibitors : PPIs decrease the acid in your stomach, but are usually only for people with heartburn.
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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.
What It Really Means If Salads Upset Your Stomach
Salads seem like a solid option when you’re trying to be healthy. There’s also so many delicious types to choose from like a creamy Caesar salad, a classic Cobb salad or a feta cheese-filled Greek salad. The options are truly endless. But sometimes eating this healthy meal can lead to us not feeling so great after. So what gives? Apparently, stomach pain after eating salads can be caused by numerous things.
Dr. Niket Sonpal, an internist and gastroenterologist in New York City, explained to LiveStrong that salads have a ton of fiber. “Eating salads and lettuce puts a heavy fiber ‘load’ on the intestines, and, if you are slightly backed up, your bowels will work a bit overtime to get it all out,” he told the outlet. However, Sonpal said while it may seem like you should cut out the greens, he said the exact opposite is true and you should continue to help yourself to greens.
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Causes For Stomach Pain After Eating
1. Food Allergy or Intolerance. Many people experience food allergies and intolerances that result in persistent gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Common allergens include eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, milk, soy, wheat, and more. If symptoms are minor, these conditions can go undiagnosed for years!
2. IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common disorder that affects the large intestine . IBS can cause bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and other negative gastrointestinal symptoms. IBS is chronic and requires managing symptoms, often through dietary changes.
3. Gastritis. Gastritis is a broad term for inflammation/swelling of the stomach lining. It can be caused by infection, overuse of pain medications , injuries, certain foods, and overuse of alcohol. Gastritis can result in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.
4. Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is a chronic immune disease that is characterized by an inability to eat gluten. Eating foods with gluten damages the small intestine and immune system of people with Celiac. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, bloating, and mood changes. It is often genetic and can be diagnosed with a blood test.
What Causes Bloating In The Stomach
Gas is a natural byproduct of digestion, but too much intestinal gas means your digestion is gone awry. While you can ingest gasses by swallowing air or drinking carbonated beverages, these gasses mostly escape through belching before they reach your intestines. Gasses in your intestines are mostly produced by gut bacteria digesting carbohydrates, in a process called fermentation.
If theres too much fermentation going on, its because too many carbohydrates werent naturally absorbed earlier in the digestive process, before reaching those gut bacteria. That could be for several reasons. Maybe you just ate too much too fast for proper digestion. Or you might have a specific food intolerance or gastrointestinal disease. Some possible causes include:
These can include solids, liquids, and gas. Digestive contents can build up in your digestive system when there is a backup or restriction in your digestive tract or when the muscles that move digestive contents along are somehow impaired. Any build-up of digestive contents along the digestive tract will leave less room for normal amounts of gas to process through. It also leaves less room for other things in your abdomen, including circulatory fluids and fat, making everything feel tighter. Causes of build-up can include:
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What Causes An Upset Stomach After A Meal
When your stomach starts grumbling after a meal, you might regret the foods you chose. While an upset stomach after a meal can have a direct correlation to what the meal contained — such as in the case of indigestion or a foodborne illness — a frequently upset stomach might indicate a more serious problem. Keep an eye on your symptoms and the frequency, and talk to your doctor when necessary.
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When Should I Call A Doctor For Indigestion
Indigestion symptoms are signs of other medical conditions or problems.
If indigestion symptoms are mild or resolve in a short time, talk to your doctor about how to treat it.
If you have any of the following symptoms of severe indigestion, if your symptoms last more than a few days, or if they worsen noticeably, seek medical care immediately:
- Vomiting or blood in vomit
- Loss of appetite
- Black, tarry stools or visible blood in stools
- Severe pain in the upper right abdomen
- Sudden, severe pain in the abdomen, particularly on the right side
- Yellow coloring of the skin and eyes
- Discomfort unrelated to eating
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting due to symptoms
Heart attacks may cause symptoms often are mistaken for indigestion. If indigestion is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, or pain radiating to the jaw, back, neck or arm, seek medical attention immediately.
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How Is The Cause Of Indigestion Diagnosed
In addition to a physical exam and questions about your symptoms, a doctor may perform the following tests:
- Blood tests
Some of the above medications are available in over-the-counter strengths.
A combination of antibiotics and acid blockers may be prescribed for up to several months if the underlying cause is related to Helicobacter pylori .
If the underlying cause is found to be gastroparesis, pro-motility drugs such as metoclopramide may be prescribed.
If the underlying cause is found to be a medication you are currently taking, do not abruptly stop the medication. Work with your health-care professional to find alternatives that will not worsen your indigestion.
It the underlying cause is caused entirely or partially by lifestyle, medications listed above may help reduce symptoms, but changes in lifestyle will produce the best results .
Peppermint Oil And Aloe Vera
Both peppermint oil and aloe vera have been clinically proven in separate studies to treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as painful cramping.
The peppermint oil study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology advises that more research is needed to determine the effects of the oil in conjunction with other treatments involving antispasmodic and antidepressant drugs.
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Treatments For Stomach Pain After Meals
Mild cases are usually treated at home without too much trouble. Doctors recommend putting yourself on a light diet, eating in frequent but small amounts for 24 to 36 hours until you can tolerate more substantial foods. Sports drinks, soups and broths, and juices are highly recommended.
More serious cases are treated with a range of therapies. Doctors look for structural or functional problems in the digestive tract itself to identify and treat the problem at its source. Various interventions may be employed in that case, such as:
- Intravenous drug infusion
- Surgery to treat or even remove an infected organ
You Might Have Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBD is an umbrella term for two conditions that both cause chronic inflammation of various parts of the digestive tract: Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis. People with either type of IBD often experience periods of remission followed by flare-ups, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that Crohns disease usually affects the part of the small intestine that meets the large intestine, but the characteristic patches of inflammation it causes can be anywhere from the mouth to the rectum and seep through multiple layers of the G.I. lining. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, affects continuous portions of the large intestine and/or rectum, with the innermost lining becoming inflamed.
If you have Crohns disease, youre likely to deal with abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and weight loss, and might also have additional symptoms like fatigue, nausea, joint pain, and anemia, the NIDDK says. With ulcerative colitis, the most common symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhea , the NIDDK notes, though you may also have issues such as fatigue, nausea, anemia, and an urgent need to use the bathroom.
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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Abdominal Pain That Get Worse After Eating
- Have you experienced any nausea?
- Any fever today or during the last week?
- Have you lost your appetite recently?
- Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.
Stomach Bloating After Eating: Causes And Treatment
Bloating can be a huge painliterally. Bloating is characterized by inflation of the stomach, often after eating. Stomach bloating can often occur after eating certain foods. It may be accompanied by pain, cramping, flatulence, and belching. At times, bloating can be caused by underlying medical conditions and can be experienced by women during menstruation, but more often, bloating is a result of dietary choices. Bloating is usually temporary and will subside on its own in time.
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Is It Stomach Pain Or Abdominal Pain
Some people refer to all abdominal pain as stomach ache or tummy ache. Abdominal pain is any pain that occurs in the area between your chest and your groin.
Your liver, appendix, pancreas and intestines as well as other organs sit in this part of your body. So, conditions affecting any of these organs can cause abdominal pain.
The different conditions that can cause abdominal pain tend to affect specific areas. The 4 locations to consider are:
- upper abdomen
- right side of the abdomen
- left side of the abdomen
Read more about these 4 types of abdominal pain and what you can do about them here.
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.
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You Might Have A Food Intolerance
If you find that your cramps keep happening after you eat certain things, you might have an intolerance to a specific food substance. Common culprits of intolerances are foods that are designated as fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols , which is a fancy designation for poorly-digested carbohydrates, Dr. Ahuja says. Examples include fruits like apples and pears, veggies like cauliflower and lentils, and dairy products. In fact, trouble processing lactose is the most common type of food intolerance, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
In addition to getting abdominal pain when you eat that particular food, you might also deal with symptoms like nausea, bloating, gas, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and more, the Cleveland Clinic says. And keep in mind that different people can be intolerant to the same food to different extents. For example, Dr. Krishnareddy explains, someone who is mildly lactose intolerant may be able to digest cheese and yogurt but not a milky latte, whereas someone with a severe intolerance may not be able to digest any form of dairy very well.
Symptoms Of Upset Stomach
Signs of indigestion can vary from individual to individual. Sometimes, indigestion makes you feel full too soon while eating a meal, or you may feel uncomfortably full after eating a meal.1 Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Burning in the upper abdomen
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Limit or avoid fried, greasy or sweet foods
- Avoid activity after eating
- Try over-the-counter medications if youre experiencing heartburn1,2
You may be sensitive to certain foods. One suggestion is to keep a food diary, track your food intake, and record when and how you experience indigestion symptoms. Weve listed some common trigger foods in the next section for your reference.
If your symptoms are severe or frequent, there may be a chance you have an underlying digestive health condition. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if youre concerned about your digestive health.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Whats causing my indigestion?
- What are some foods I should avoid to help with my indigestion?
- How much time do I need to leave been my final meal of the day and bedtime?
- Does sleeping on an elevated pillow help indigestion?
- What medicines will help my indigestion? Do they have side effects?
- Are there any medicines I should avoid that may make my indigestion worse?
- What should I do when nothing seems to help my indigestion?
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.
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