Abdominal pain or stomach pain after eating is a very common condition. It is characterized by severe or mild pain in the left and/or right side of the abdomen. It mainly happens due to eating food products which your body may not be accustomed to, food items causing allergies, or even eating too much (overeating). Abdominal pain after eating doesn't begin immediately. The incubation period of a stomach ache after eating varies from a few minutes to even hours. It mostly depends upon the type of food you eat and the way your body reacts to it. But this is not the only related cause, there are other factors too which can lead to this problem. The following is a discussion in more detail on the causes, treatment and prevention of stomach pain after eating.
Causes of Stomach Pain after Eating
It is not just food that is responsible for abdominal pain after eating, but there are many other health conditions and diseases responsible for it. Here are the main causes described in some detail.
The most common reason for abdominal pain and bloating after eating is the chemical reaction between body fluids and various microorganisms present in the food. Our body tries to throw out the harmful bacteria to avoid any infection, which is why sometimes we experience vomiting after eating. On some occasions vomiting is accompanied by nausea as well. A stomach ache after eating, due to this reason is common in people who consume large quantities of fast food. Overeating can also make a person feel tired after eating resulting from these very symptoms.
An individual suffering from gallstones is bound to experience pain in the abdomen, besides back pain too. The flow of bile in the bile duct gets obstructed, which leads to excruciating pain. Sometimes the pain lasts for a few minutes, while at other times it can be a cause of concern for hours together.
Pain felt in the entire abdomen or in the upper abdominal region about 8 - 12 hours after a meal is caused due to pancreatitis. In some cases, when the pain is acute, it may be due to perforated stomach ulcer, pelvic inflammatory disease, diabetes, or even food poisoning.
People often tend to consume liquids such as water, soft drinks, fruit juices in large quantities after having a meal. This actually dilutes the stomach acids and help the harmful fungi and bacteria in the food to survive in the body. As a result, the food is not broken down properly and this leads to indigestion. This can also lead to diarrhea, as the body doesn't accept the undigested food containing harmful bacteria, and therefore tries to release it.
Acid reflux leads to many other issues. Besides stomach pain, the patient also suffers from heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, nausea, etc. Pain in the abdomen can vary in intensity at such times, but more often than not, will be there.
Intestinal obstruction is a cause of stomach cramps after eating, in many people. This is further accompanied with vomiting, watery stools, etc. Diverticulitis is another cause of stomach cramps after eating. Cramps in the stomach leads to pain in the abdominal region.
A place where parasites love to stay is the stomach. Parasites are a reason for various digestive disorders. Everyone has worms in the stomach, but when they multiply too much, then it is a problem. The individual then suffers from problems like diarrhea and tiredness.
Candidiasis, also known as yeast infection, is another cause of pain in the abdomen. The stomach has some good bacteria which aids in the digestion process. Due to the condition of candidiasis, this good bacteria gets killed off. In turn, digestion becomes a problem, which leads to abdominal pain.
Blocked Blood Vessels
After our meals, the intestinal tract is in requirement of more blood. But if an individual has a problem of blockage of the blood vessels, then this requirement is not fulfilled as desired. This issue is also known as chronic mesenteric insufficiency, and leads to pain in the stomach.
Needless to say, if a person is suffering from any sort of cancer, pain is one symptom that is experienced. Gastric cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the esophagus, etc., are all conditions that make an individual experience pain in the abdominal region. Out of all the causes, it is obvious that cancer is the most serious issue.
Treatment and Prevention
Often medication such as antibiotics are used to treat a normal stomach ache. However, for abdominal pain after eating, you need to see a physician to rule out any other health problem, especially if the pain does not subside soon.
The preventive measures for abdominal pain are:
- Avoid eating unhealthy food products like packaged food, fast food, and very oily foodstuffs.
- Try to have your meals on time. Do not skip breakfast, and do not have your lunch and dinner too late.
- Avoid sleeping immediately after having your meals. Rather, it's great to take a walk after you have a meal, or even sit down and do something else.
- Avoid overeating. Instead, eat healthy in small quantities frequently. Meaning, instead of having three large meals a day, you could have five smaller meals during the day.
- Consume liquids in small quantities after eating.
This was all about the causes and treatment of abdominal pain. Eat healthy and consult your dietitian for a proper diet plan if you need one. Well we all need one anyway. Abdominal pain may not be a serious condition most times, but if you experience the pain often after eating, then please consult your doctor to rule out any related serious issue.