How Common Are Stomachaches
Just about everybody will experience abdominal pain at one point or another. Most causes of abdominal pain are not serious and resolve spontaneously. A healthcare provider can usually readily diagnose and treat these conditions. However, abdominal pain can also be a sign of a serious illness, or even an emergency. Abdominal pain is responsible for some 5% of emergency room visits.
How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of A Bellyache
Your doctor will first ask you some questions, examine you, and maybe do some tests. Your doctor may suggest you take some medicine or might give you special instructions for eating to help your body heal the bellyache.
If it turns out that you have appendicitis, you will need an operation called an appendectomy .
If stress is behind your stomach problems, your doctor may recommend a specialist, such as a psychologist. These experts can help kids figure out the source of the stress and help them come up with some ideas for how to fix the problems or handle them better.
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
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Unwanted Hair On Stomach
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.
/6reasons Your Stomach May Hurt After Eating
In most cases, the stomach growls and hurts when a person is ravenously hungry. This ache in the belly is normal and disappears after eating the meal. But for some, it is just the opposite. Their stomach starts to hurt after eating. Occasional stomach ache after having a plate full of the meal is normal. It becomes a matter of concern only if it turns out to be a daily thing. Severe and frequent stomach pain can be an indication of an underlying health concern and may require immediate medical attention. Here are five reasons your stomach may hurt after eating.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Skinny Fat Stomach
Severe Acute Pain In The Lower Right Side Of The Abdomen
A sudden pain in the lower part of the abdomen may be a sign of appendicitis. It may also be accompanied by a fever. Pain often begins around the belly button area and becomes worse with time. Vomiting or constipation or diarrhea along with the pain also indicate it’s time to go to the emergency room. Physicians recommend seeing a doctor right away if the pain comes on suddenly over several hours or is persistent. Appendicitis often requires surgery. If left untreated, a ruptured appendix can be deadly.
How Can You Determine That The Pain Is Caused By Abdominal Gastritis
It is a common question for people with abdominal pain that is caused by gastritis. People with gastritis often have pain, stinging pain, Abdominal tenderness, cramping under the epigastric region. These pains can be either before eating or after eating or an empty stomach, like when you are hungry in the morning or late at night, you may have stomach pain as and the pain come and go. It can be several times a day or according to the meals you have. Each time the pain lasts about 15-30 minutes, the pain will improve by eating, drinking milk, or take antacids.
However, stomach disorders caused by stomach acids do not always have abdominal pain. In which many patients came to see a doctor because they vomited blood, which may be the result of stomach ulcers caused by excess acid or a burning sensation in the chest due to acid reflux causing the swelling of the esophagus or cough because of the inflammation reaching the throat, these are the most likely symptoms related to the stomach.
Also Check: What Causes Sudden Severe Stomach Pain
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.
When To See A Doctor
Most cases of nighttime stomach pain are not reason for immediate concern.
If symptoms occur more than once a week or become long-term, a physician should be consulted. If symptoms interfere with everyday activities, especially healthy sleep, medical attention should also be sought.
Certain symptoms, regardless of their severity or frequency, should be assessed by a physician.
Symptoms associated with nighttime stomach pain that require medical attention include:
- severe or ongoing pain that does not lessen with over-the-counter medications
- swelling or inflammation of the stomach region
- abdomen that is painful to touch
- yellowing of the skin and eyes
- ongoing nausea or vomiting, especially if vomiting blood
- blood in the stool
- pain that occurs during pregnancy
- joint and muscle aches
Though rare, severe stomach pain that occurs suddenly and without a clear reason may be a sign of serious health conditions.
One life-threatening condtion is appendicitis. In some people, the appendix becomes inflamed and infected. It can burst, causing severe infection that requires immediate medical attention and surgery.
Often, appendicitis starts as pain that begins around the belly button and travels downward into the lower right side. It then usually worsens with the slightest activity or movement.
Other conditions associated with intense, unrelenting stomach pain include:
You May Like: How Long Does Stomach Flu Last
When To Seek Immediate Medical Help
Severe abdominal pain is a greater cause for concern. If it starts suddenly and unexpectedly, and persists, it should be regarded as a medical emergency, especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area.
or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if this is the case.
If you feel pain in the area around your ribs, see the section on chest pain.
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.
Read Also: What Causes Stomach Virus In Adults
Overeating And Your Digestion
The average stomach ordinarily holds about one or two cups of food. When we overeat, we may be consuming twice that or even more. To make room for that extra food, your stomach stretches like a balloon. If you overeat frequently, your stomach expands easily . Most people will feel discomfort as their stomach is stretched beyond its normal capacity.
Depending on what youve eaten, that feeling may stick around. Foods high in fat and fiber take longer to digest. So, if youve overeaten fried foods, expect stomach pain to linger.
As that food lingers in your belly, it can start to push up against your diaphragm, causing you to have shallow breaths. It can also cause digestive fluids to sneak back up into your esophagus. When that happens, you may experience heartburn, which has nothing to do with your heart, or a sour, acidic taste in your mouth.
Here are four guidelines to help avoid these symptoms.
Slow down. As you eat and your stomach stretches, hormones signal to your brain that youre full. If you eat too quickly, youll have overeaten by the time your body gets the fullness signal. Also, try to listen to your body when you get that full feeling.
Get moving. If youve overeaten, take a gentle walk to help stimulate the process in your body that pushes the food down your gastrointestinal tract. Dont run or overexert yourself, though. If you work too hard, blood will flow to your legs rather than your stomach, and digestion will slow down.
Belly Pain In The Lower Left Side That’s 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.
Recommended Reading: What To Take For Severe Stomach Cramps
Sugar Intolerance May Result In Stomach Ache
The sweet taste of sugar may cause severe pain in stomach after eating too much of it. This may be caused by poor digestion of the sugar, and it eventually breaks down in the lower intestine, producing gas. In carbohydrate form, the sugar may stimulate pain if not expelled. A sugar intolerance may also be seen with the use of milk products, as milk contains sugar in the form of lactose.
Weather also may initiate sugar-induced stomach pain as extremely high temperatures may cause you to reach for cold, sweet drinks such as soda, iced tea, lemonade, and alcohol. The high content of sugar may cause pain and bloating from gas formation.
Advice For People With Diabetes
Having gastroparesis means your food is being digested slowly and at unpredictable times. If you also have diabetes, this can have a big effect on your blood sugar levels.
The nerves to the stomach can be damaged by high levels of blood glucose, so it’s important to keep your blood glucose levels under control if you have diabetes.
Your doctor can advise you about any changes you may need to make to your diet or medicine. For example, if you’re taking insulin, you may need to divide your dose before and after meals and inject insulin into areas where absorption is typically slower, such as into your thigh.
You’ll also need to check your blood glucose levels frequently after you eat.
Page last reviewed: 14 October 2019 Next review due: 14 October 2022
Read Also: What Are Some Good Stomach Exercises
Stomach Pain After Eating Here Are 7 Things It Could Be
Recurring stomach pain after eating is not good and maybe a sign of chronic indigestion or an underlying medical condition that needs to be checked by a specialist. Gas, bloating, nausea, and abdominal pain can affect your routine life and eating habits to a large extent. The gastrointestinal specialists at Manhattan Gastroenterology use the latest technological advancements to find out what may be wrong with your digestive system and come up with the best treatment options for your specific symptoms. The top-rated gastro doctors diagnose and treat your ailment, provide quick relief to protect your gastrointestinal health, and help you feel better in the shortest possible time.
Stomach pain or gastrointestinal discomfort after eating a meal is not dangerous if you know what is causing it and subsides on its own. Most people report bloating, a swollen stomach, feeling full quickly, and diarrhea, which is quite normal if it is happening from overeating, consuming something undercooked, or contaminated. However, if you continue to experience ongoing discomfort despite making lifestyle and dietary changes, it may be some medical issue that needs to be checked.
When To Make An Appointment To See Your Doctor
Schedule an appointment to see your doctor if:
- Your stomach pain doesnt go away within a couple of days.
- The pain comes back after going away.
- Symptoms like diarrhea dont go away within a couple of days.
- Youre urinating more or less often, and/or its painful.
- You have unintended weight loss.
Know your body, Dr. Kingsley says. If you start having pain that you have not had before and does not go away, you should contact your doctor to be evaluated further.
Bottom line: Trust your gut! Contact your doctor if youre concerned about lingering or unusual stomach pain.
Editor’s Note: This infographic was originally published on June 24, 2014.
Recommended Reading: What Makes Your Stomach Cramp
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.
Causes Of Acute Stomach Pain
- Eating Too Much. Eating too much can cause an upset stomach and mild stomach pain.
- Hunger Pains. Younger children may complain of stomach pain when they are hungry.
- GI Virus . A GI virus can cause stomach cramps as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Food Poisoning. This causes sudden vomiting and/or diarrhea within hours after eating the bad food. It is caused by toxins from germs growing in foods left out too long. Most often, symptoms go away in less than 24 hours. It often can be treated at home without the need for medical care.
- Constipation. The need to pass a stool may cause cramps in the lower abdomen.
- Strep Throat. A strep throat infection causes 10% of new onset stomach pain with fever.
- Bladder Infection. Bladder infections usually present with painful urination, urgency and bad smelling urine. Sometimes the only symptom is pain in the lower abdomen.
- Appendicitis . Suspect appendicitis if pain is low on the right side and walks bent over. Other signs are the child won’t hop and wants to lie still.
- Intussusception . Sudden attacks of severe pain that switch back and forth with periods of calm. Caused by one segment of bowel telescoping into a lower piece of bowel. Peak age is 6 months to 2 years.
Also Check: Why Do I Have Constant Stomach Pain