Why does my stomach hurt after I eat? Let’s be clear. Stomach pain after eat is a widespread symptom, presumably experienced by the vast majority of the population on at least one occasion in their lives. Stomach pain is a transient disorder, which regresses spontaneously with the help of simple behavioural interventions; more rarely, however, it is the spy of rather serious pathological conditions, which, unlike previous situations, require appropriate, specific and sometimes immediate intervention. This second possibility explains why it is important to recognize the extent of a stomach ache and understanding its severity . The right interpretation of stomach pain, however, is not always simple, given the extreme variability of potentially responsible conditions. That’s why thorough investigations may be necessary,because the treatment of stomach aches varies according to the causes.
Why does my stomach hurt after I eat?What is stomachache?
Stomach pain is a symptom that people complain of when they suffer from pain in the upper and central part of their abdomen. This is a fairly common feeling experienced at least once in a lifetime by the majority of the population. Although the presence of the term “stomach” can mislead, stomach pain can be the clinical manifestation of problems that are not purely gastric; as you will see, in fact, can be the result of problems in the duodenum, pancreas, etc.. Therefore, “stomach pain” is intended to mean more a localized sensation in a specific area of the body, in which the stomach is also included, rather than a sensation that affects only this organ.
Medical definition of stomach pain
Often, in reference to stomach pain, doctors prefer to speak of “epigastric pain”, that is, of that painful sensation that is located at the level of the epigastrium. In Anatomy, the epigastrium ,is the highest and central zone of the abdomen.
In most cases, stomach pain is a temporary disorder, which does not require special treatment or is resolved by simple behavioural and/or pharmacological interventions; more rarely, it is the manifestation of an important clinical condition, which it is good to know how to recognize in time and which requires appropriate. Causes of relatively unimportant stomach pain from the clinical point of view, but very common in the general population, are:
Meteorism, also known as gas in the belly, air in the stomach or (improperly) flatulence; Digestive problems (indigestion), resulting from meals that are too abundant or difficult to digest; Constipation, also known as constipation or constipation; Cigarette smoke; Anxiety; Stress; Taking certain medications, including anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen deserve a special mention; Excessive alcohol consumption; The sporadic episodes of gastroesophageal reflux, which is the anomalous phenomenon of rising in the esophagus of the acid content of the stomach.
In case of stomach pain, the therapy adopted depends on the triggering causes, identified during diagnosis. So, for example. If the stomach pain is related to the intake of certain foods (e.g. too fatty foods, low-fibre foods that cause constipation, etc.), it is sufficient, many times, to avoid the intake of such foods; If the stomach pain is the result of gastroesophageal reflux disease, the treatment plan focuses mainly on a change in lifestyle (to prevent symptoms).
If the stomach pain is caused by chronic gastritis supported by Helicobacter Pylori, the treatment includes antibiotic therapy against the triggering agent (causal therapy) and symptomatic therapy, based on the aforementioned antacids, anti-H2 and proton pump inhibitors; If the stomach pain results from chronic pancreatitis, the treatment includes the adoption of a rather rigid diet (eg: no alcohol, drastic reduction of fatty foods, etc..), the administration of analgesics, to relieve pain, and pancreatic enzymes (eg: pancreatin), to aid digestion;
What to do
You should not be overly alarmed if you have a stomachache that manifests itself after a particularly hearty meal. In some cases, stomach pain depends on food intolerance: in such cases, it is necessary to undergo special diagnostic tests to trace the cause. For example, if your stomach ache is dependent on lactose intolerance, the most effective remedy is to eliminate all foods containing lactose from your diet.
Again, if the stomach pain is caused by celiac disease, the only appropriate solution is to follow a gluten-free diet. Sip water: avoid swallowing liquids quickly, especially if they are cold. If you have a stomach ache due to intestinal disorders and vomiting, you should eat solid, light foods (e.g. crackers) and avoid milk and dairy products. In such situations, a good remedy is to take sugary liquids in small doses, and not before 4-6 hours after regurgitation.
Even if it is obvious, reducing daily tensions is an excellent remedy to prevent or alleviate stress-dependent stomach pain. If necessary, take yoga, pilates or any other form of relaxation courses.
Immerse yourself in hot water
Even a warm bath can relieve stomach pain, as well as generate a pleasant feeling of well-being and relaxation. Apply a bag of warm water to the abdomen: heat applied on site alleviates pain, relaxes the abdominal muscles and relieves stomach pain (particularly recommended in the case of stomach pain due to menstrual pain).
Do not place the hot water bag directly on the skin: wrap it on a soft cloth or place it on top of your clothes.Drinking hot liquids (broth, milk, tea, soups) Belly pain due to menstrual pain can also be alleviated by taking a special position during sleep: while sleeping, the fetal position with the knees gathered from the chest seems to be a good remedy for relieving abdominal pain.
What NOT to do
Bingeing. Big binges are the worst ally of belly pain. Follow an unbalanced dietary regime, characterized by excesses, high-fat foods and “junk” foods.Abusing laxatives based on heteropolysaccharide (fibres): these products (including herbal products) swell up at the gastro-intestinal level, favouring stomach pain and abdominal swelling. Drinking carbonated drinks. Combine many foods together (e.g. pasta, meat, fish and desserts) Depression, anxiety and stress accentuate abdominal tension.
Continue to take pain medications in the presence of stomach pain. As we know, heartburn, stomachache and ulcers of the gastrointestinal mucosa are included in the list of typical side effects of gastrolesive drugs.
Sleeping on your back (belly upwards): in the presence of pancreatitis-dependent stomach pain, the supine position worsens the pain. Wearing tight clothing, trousers that are too tight, elastic tights and narrow belts: such behaviour can increase stomach pain. Drinking ice-cold drinks.
What to eat
Take yoghurt with live lactic acid bacteria or a probiotic (to strengthen the immune system). Take lots of fruit and vegetables, as they are rich in antioxidants (vitamins C and E). If necessary, control hunger by preferring whole foods (pasta, rice) and rich in fiber. Treat yourself to a sugary fruit between meals: these foods promote the fermentation of the foods with which they are associated, and therefore tend to accentuate (or even cause) stomach aches.
What NOT to Eat
Avoid the consumption of foods that are difficult to digest, such as sauces, fries and fatty foods. Citrus and tomatoes are foods that should be eliminated in case of stomach ache associated with heartburn. Belly pain after a meal can be prevented by avoiding the consumption of alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks.
Excessively spicy foods
Avoid or limit as much as possible the consumption of foods that may induce flatulence (legumes), particularly in those predisposed to stomachaches. Artificial drinks, sweets and sweeteners: by fermenting in the intestine, these foods promote stomach pain and abdominal swelling.
Milk and dairy products: limiting the consumption of milk and dairy products is an excellent remedy to alleviate or prevent stomach aches in people intolerant to lactose. Milk + eggs” and “legumes + meat” combinations are not recommended in case of belly pain, as they increase the perception of an inflated belly. See disassociated diet. Complex foods: by forcing the gastrointestinal system to perform super-digestive work, these foods slow down digestion and promote the sensation of stomach aches.
Nature is beneficial against common stomach pain, but nothing can stand in front of a pathological abdominal pain. Natural remedies can, in fact, alleviate or promote the disappearance of belly pain due to intestinal disorders, menstruation, stress and binge eating. In such circumstances, antispasmodic herbal teas are the most suitable:
Mint (Mentha piperita) → spasmolytic, digestive, antiseptic properties
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L) → carminative, digestive and antimicrobial properties
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) → stimulating action on the motility of the stomach and intestines, antifermentative activity.