We’ve all enjoyed one too many rounds at the buffet and found ourselves on the queasy side of uncomfortable. Occasionally experiencing stomach pain after eating is nothing to worry about, although over-eating is not recommended.
However, if you’re suffering from stomach pain whenever you eat, it may indicate there’s an underlying health issue.
In this article, we’ll look at the common causes of stomach pain, and advise of the symptoms associated with them. We’ll explain how eating may contribute to stomach pain development and advise on how to promote digestive health to relieve stomach pain.
Causes of stomach pain
Stomach pain is connected with a variety of health issues and ailments, which vary in severity.
Trapped wind is a common complaint caused by overeating or swallowing air (by chewing gum, smoking, or sucking pens). Inactivity exacerbates trapped wind.1 Burping and passing gas indicate trapped wind.
Constipation frequently causes stomach ache, nausea, and bloating. Constipation is caused by inadequate fibre consumption, dehydration, and insufficient activity levels.2
Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, is caused by stomach acid travelling the wrong way up the oesophagus. Feeling sick is concurrent with other symptoms like a feeling of burning in the chest and a bad taste in the mouth. Consistently experiencing acid reflux usually indicates GORD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease).3
Stomach pain is sometimes caused by an immune response to food sources your system considers harmful, and that’s the biological process known as an allergic reaction.
Foods which cause allergies include4:
- Lactose products
- Soy products
An allergic response can express itself as stomach ache, shortness of breath, or mouth irritation.
Some individuals experience an allergic response whenever they eat gluten, which affects their ability to absorb other nutrients.5 This complaint is known as coeliac disease and causes stomach discomfort, alongside other symptoms, the most common of which is regular diarrhoea.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive complaint which causes bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, and constipation.6 Most individuals who have IBS experience symptoms throughout their life, but flare-ups are episodic, lasting months or weeks.
Stomach pain symptoms
Stomach pain has a variety of symptoms associated with it, and most are gastrointestinal complaints. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Stomach cramps
- Discomfort after eating
- Discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Food regurgitation
- Weight loss
- Poor bladder control
If these symptoms are persistent or you’re worried about them, you’re advised to consult a GP.7
Call an ambulance if there’s a sudden onset of sharp stomach pain, concurrent to other symptoms like vomiting blood, passing black poo, or severe constipation.8
Stomach pain treatment
Many causes of stomach ache, like acid reflux or abdominal bloating, can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications, including:
- Anti-acid medicines
- Stool softeners
Lifestyle changes can help to relieve stomach ache, including:
- Eating slowly
- Eating smaller portions, regularly
- Enjoying a fibrous diet
- Exercising regularly
- Smoking cessation
Last updated: 12 April 2021