You Have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Also known as GERD, this condition happens when stomach acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, creating heartburn and stomach pain in the process, Dr. Farhadi says.
Youre more likely to suffer from GERD if you tend to overeat or love spicy foodsthat allows acid to flow up into your esophagus, which can be pretty painful, says Rudolph Bedford, MD, a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
If you think youre struggling with GERD, try cutting back on spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, and take over-the-counter antacids to help with symptoms. If that still doesnt do the trick, call your doctor.
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.
You Have Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten that can impact sufferers in different ways. One is stomach pain after you eat gluten, Dr. Bedford says. BTW: Your stomach can also hurt if you have a mild gluten intolerance , but this is different from celiac disease. With celiac, a person’s small intestine becomes damaged when they eat gluten with a gluten intolerance, someone may simply have a physical reaction like diarrhea or gas after eating gluten. Your doctor can help you determine what might be at the root of the problem.
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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Your specific symptoms, the location of pain and when it occurs will help your provider detect the cause.
LOCATION OF YOUR PAIN
- Where do you feel the pain?
- Is it all over or in one spot?
- Does the pain move into your back, groin, or down your legs?
TYPE AND INTENSITY OF YOUR PAIN
- Is the pain severe, sharp, or cramping?
- Do you have it all the time, or does it come and go?
- Does the pain wake you up at night?
HISTORY OF YOUR PAIN
- Have you had similar pain in the past? How long has each episode lasted?
- When does the pain occur? For example, after meals or during menstruation?
- What makes the pain worse? For example, eating, stress, or lying down?
- What makes the pain better? For example, drinking milk, having a bowel movement, or taking an antacid?
- What medicines are you taking?
OTHER MEDICAL HISTORY
- Have you had a recent injury?
- Are you pregnant?
What Does Abdominal Pain Location Tell You
Location is an important clue to your abdominal pain, though its not the only factor. It may indicate which organs are involved. For example, pain in the upper right quadrant may indicate a problem with your liver or gallbladder.
However, your healthcare provider will also want to know more about what your pain feels like, how often you feel it, and how severe it is. This will give them additional clues about what kind of condition you may have.
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What Are The Four Types Of Abdominal Pain
Since your abdomen it is home to many organs, your healthcare provider may want to narrow down the kind of pain youre having by narrowing down the region youre feeling it in. Healthcare providers often divide the abdomen into quadrants or four parts. They may ask if your pain is in the:
- Right upper quadrant.
- Left lower quadrant.
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.
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Why Your Stomach Hurts After You Eat
Common Causes Eating Too Much or Too Fast Indigestion Curb Indigestion Triggers Food Intolerances and Allergies Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Irritable Bowel Syndrome Gallstones Pancreatitis Peptic Ulcer Less Common Causes When to See a Healthcare Provider Summary A Word From Verywell Frequently Asked Questions
Postprandial pain is stomach or upper abdominal pain that occurs after eating. Experiencing this from time to time usually isn’t a concern, but frequent pain after eating can be a symptom of several digestive disorders.
It’s a good idea to talk with a healthcare provider if your stomach often hurts after you eat. Severe pain may require immediate medical care.
This overview covers some of the reasons you might have pain after eating. It also explains when you should see a healthcare professional.
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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How Can I Feel Better
Most bellyaches dont 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 whats behind their stress and give advice on how to fix problems or handle them better.
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Conditions That Cause Severe Abdominal Pain After A Meal
While it’s not uncommon to experience a bout of abdominal discomfort after eating, especially if you’ve eaten a large meal, severe abdominal pain post-nosh is not so ordinary and may be cause for concern.
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If the pain is severe and persistent, seek immediate medical attention to rule out or potentially prevent more adverse health issues, says Mir Ali, MD, general and bariatric surgeon at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif.
There are several organs that can be the source of pain in the abdomen, including the gallbladder, pancreas, stomach and small and large intestines. For this reason, severe abdominal pain after eating could have a wide range of causes that need to be evaluated through a physical exam.
“The stomach itself can be the source of pain if there is an ulcer or even just inflammation alone,” says Peyton Berookim, MD, a double board-certified gastroenterologist in Los Angeles and director of the Gastroenterology Institute of Southern California.
Learn about seven conditions that might cause severe abdominal pain after eating, and tips for when you should consider seeking medical attention.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have severe pain that doesn’t improve quickly, especially if you have other symptoms such as weakness, nausea, vomiting, tar-like or bloody stools, dizziness, loss of consciousness or a high fever.
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
Diagnosis Of Stomach Pain After Meals
Your doctor will ask you a number of questions about your diet, lifestyle, and medical history. All of these can significantly affect the digestive system.
Doctors can use computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans to diagnose gastrointestinal pain, but it is not always easy to generate accurate images of the digestive system using these methods.
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Symptoms Of Stomach Pain After Meals
Most of the time, the causes of digestive trouble after eating are not too much to worry about. But if the pain is very strong, sudden, or long-lasting, it should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible.
Some common warning signs of stomach pain after a meal are:
Just because others can tolerate certain kinds of food well, does not mean you will too. Eating too fast, too much, or foods too high in fat can all trigger gas and bloating issues in the stomach. Try logging the foods you eat and tracking how your body responds to different things.
Stomach pains after eating, coupled with constipation, can spring from various lifestyle and dietary factors. For example, the abdominal muscles and diaphragm are needed to aid digestion, and insufficient fiber in the diet can make it hard for food to pass through your system properly.
Heartburn often accompanies stomach pain and indigestion. Heartburn is often caused byacid reflux, the reverse flow of stomach acid up into the esophagus, causing burning and discomfort. Too much alcohol and fatty food are often to blame.
Nausea is an important sign to look out for because it has several possible causes, anything from food poisoning to Crohns disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. If you regularly feel nauseous after eating, see a doctor.
Other symptoms and warning signs associated with stomach pain after eating are:
How Is Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask you detailed questions about your pain. Theyll want to know:
- Where you feel it.
- How long youve had it.
- If it comes and goes.
- If its getting worse.
- If it stays in one place or moves.
- What makes it better or worse.
- What other symptoms you have.
From your answers, your healthcare provider will try to determine if you need emergency treatment. Sometimes your healthcare provider will be able to tell right away that your pain is temporary and not serious. Sometimes they may suspect a more serious condition and may want to run some tests. And sometimes they wont be able to solve the mystery on the first visit. Your pain may subside, or you may have to return for further investigation.
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What Are The Treatments For Stomach Cramps
- Mild abdominal cramps can be treated with home remedies or OTC medicine. Home remedies like apple cider vinegar, ginger, and chamomile tea, in particular, are known to relieve mild pains and bloating in the abdomen.
- Stomach cramps that occur as a result of allergies and intolerances can be avoided by dietary changes. After tests and diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe you a customised diet, limiting the foods that trigger the allergy.
- Dietary changes are also effective to control overeating. In cases where it is uncontrollable, it is recommended to consult a dietician or a therapist to identify the underlying cause for overeating.
- If you have IBS, your doctor may prescribe you special medication like fibre supplements, laxatives, or antidiarrheal medication. Pain-relieving medication will be prescribed for IBS patients experiencing severe pains, cramps, and bloating.
What Is Stomach Pain
The stomach is the organ responsible for most of your foods digestion. Breaking down food swallowed through your esophagus and sending the resulting mixture onto the small intestine is the stomachs primary function.
Most everyone has had a stomach ache after eating at some time or another. The causes are usually quite benign, ranging from overindulging to simply eating something that didnt agree with you. However, frequent stomach pain after eating is a sign of a deeper problem and shouldnt be ignored.
Stomach aches and pains can happen at almost any point during this process. While some of this is usually normal, see a doctor right away if youre experiencing:
- Unintentional weight loss
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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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What Causes Stomach Pain After Eating
If your tummy hurts after eating, a simple bout of indigestion might be to blame. But there are also times when pain after eating can be a sign of something more serious.
Read on to learn about some of the common causes of stomach ache, abdominal pain or stomach cramps after eating, how to treat and manage the discomfort, and when to see a doctor.
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How Are Helicobacter Pylori Transmitted
Even though there are many hypotheses for how Helicobacter pylori are transmitted, their major mode of transmission is not specifically known. Possible routes of infection include oral-oral , fecal-oral , and sometimes spread via inadvertent use of unsterile medical equipment such as probes or endoscopes.
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.
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Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. “Women are especially prone to gallbladder disease,” says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. “Overweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.” The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
Get ahead of your abdominal pain with a diet that’s rich in nutrients and fiber and low in fatty foods.
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.