The stomach is an organ of the body that is located at the upper left quadrant of your abdomen. It is the organ that is responsible for all digestion and plays an integral part in your gastrointestinal system. When you suffer stomach pain right after eating, it could be a sign that there is something not right in your stomach.
Stomach pain can either be mild or severe, and treatment of the pain should focus on the pain etiology. You should never ignore severe pain in your stomach because in severe cases emergency treatment is needed.
Causes of Stomach Pain after Eating
1. Gastroenteritis/Stomach Flu
Condition Description: Gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, can cause pain in the stomach after eating. Your entire gastrointestinal tract gets attacked by viruses which lead to diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting and nausea. These symptoms can be felt as quickly as 4 hours after you have ingested the food.
Treatments: To keep this virus at bay, always wash your hands before handling any food. You should also avoid contaminated food i.e. if you suspect the food you are about to eat contains virus that may infect your digestive tract.
2. Lactose Intolerance
Condition Description: Lactose is a type of sugar that is mostly found in dairy products like milk. If a person is lactose intolerant, she/he lacks the enzyme called lactase. This enzyme is responsible for sugar digestion. Therefore, if the person ingests products that contain lactose like ice-cream, it may result in bloating, severe pain in the stomach and gas.
Treatments: If you are lactose intolerant, avoid taking any products that contain lactose i.e. dairy products. This should relieve you of the pain after ingesting foods.
3. Stomach Ulcer
Condition Description: Ulcers are shallow erosions in the soft lining of your intestines or stomach. When your stomach has ulcers, there are times eating becomes a problem. If the dinks and foods you take are acidic, the acidity tends to aggravate the ulcers causing stomach pain.
Treatments: To treat ulcers, you need to seek medical advice first. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics which will heal the ulcers.
4. Celiac Disease
Condition Description: This is a reaction your immune system has after eating gluten. Gluten is a protein that is present in barley, rye, malt, durum, bulgur, farina, graham flour, semolina and wheat. If you suffer from celiac disease, each time you consume gluten, your small intestines will trigger an immune response. After some time, the reaction will produce inflammation which damages the lining of your small intestines, which many lead to severe stomach pain and bloating.
Treatments: Have a diet that is gluten free. Completely avoid all drinks and foods that contain gluten and eat fresh meats, fruits, potatoes, vegetables, distilled liquors and wine. You can also eat grains that do not contain gluten such as rice, quinoa, tapioca, corn, cornmeal, arrowroot and amaranth.
5. Food Poisoning
Condition Description: This is a result of drinking and eating foods hat have infectious organisms like toxins, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Symptoms start about 2-4 hours after consuming the beverage or food. There are some cases where the symptoms can develop in two days.
Treatments: There is only one cure for food poisoning; drinks lots of fluids and also get some rest. The body works to get rid of all the poisoned foods. Food poisoning mostly happens when foods like meat have been undercooked.
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Condition Description: The symptoms are different for each person, and they mostly resemble symptoms for other diseases. This is a condition that affects your large intestines. Symptoms of IBS include stomach pain, bloating, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea and mucus seen in stool.
Treatments: Since a definite cause for IBS is yet to be known, its treatment revolves around relieving the symptoms to enable you to lead a normal life. Your health provider may prescribe fiber supplements, anti-diarrheal OTC medications, anti-cholinergic medications, antibiotics and anti-depressants. As to home remedies, you should always maintain a high-fiber diet and at the same time practice routinely.
Condition Description: This is a condition that is characterized by hardened digestive fluids deposits which form in the bladder. The gallbladder has a pear-shape and is located in your abdomen's right-side, underneath your liver. The gallbladder is the organ that holds bile and releases it to the small intestines. Gallstones cause pain in the abdomen and can appear as stomach pain after eating
Treatments: Your doctor may recommend surgery (cholecystectomy) to have the gallbladder removed. There are also some medications prescribed which dissolve the gallstones. You should also eat diets rich in fiber and take some vitamin supplements.
8. Eating Too Fast or Overeating
Condition Description: This is a condition where you eat too much food or eat too fast. When you eat too much food or/and to fast, your digestive system is disturbed. As a result, the food is not digested as it should be and you end up with stomach pain.
Treatments: Curb overeating. Plan all your meals and ensure that you have followed the planned timings. Always keep a bottle of water near you to keep hydrated all day. Also, do not drink water soon after eating; wait and drink it after an hour. You can take walks after eating to ease digestion.
Condition Description: This condition is characterized by burning sensations inside your chest behind the breastbone. The pain caused often gets worse when you bend over or lie down. It can also manifest as severe pain after eating.
Treatments: Antacids can be taken to neutralize the stomach acid and some medications that reduce production of acids. You should also maintain healthy weight, avoid drinks and foods known to trigger heartburn, eat meals in small portions, elevate your bed-head and avoid smoking.
10. Other Possible Causes
Abdominal pain can also cause stomach pain. Other possible causes of stomach pain are constipation, wind, appendicitis, urine infection, Crohn's disease and periods. It is important that you know the exact cause of the stomach pain in order to administer the right treatment.
When to See a Doctor
See a doctor if the pain is severe such that sitting still is difficult. If the pain comes with bloody stool, vomiting, yellowish skin, severe tenderness and persistent stool, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Any stomach pain that comes after eating can cause diarrhea. The main concern of diarrhea is the risk of dehydration. If you feel dehydrated or suspect you might be dehydrated, call your physician. If dehydration goes untreated, it may cause damage to your brain, which can lead to death. Dehydration symptoms include dry mouth, dizziness, dry skin and fatigue.