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Your Stomach Hurts After Eating – Causes, Home Remedies, Treatment and How You Can Prevent It?

Question: Right after my meal, I feel a surging pain in my stomach. It lingers on for a few minutes and then subsides. Why does this happen and what can I do?

Answer: When you end up eating more than you should, the excess food takes time to digest in the stomach. This settling-down time is what causes bloating and hence the pain. However, this pain caused due to indigestion does not start in the stomach but instead takes place as a result of clenching of the upper abdominal muscles.

Causes And Remedies For Stomach Pain Right After A Meal

Typically, pain in the stomach region, otherwise referred to as stomach cramps occur due to indigestion, heartburn or GERD, and a simple antacid should suffice in such cases. However, other reasons for the pain can include:

Ulcers – Peptic (stomach) ulcers become irritated every time incoming food brushes up against them. Ulcers can either form against the stomach’s lining or in the duodenum (upper section of the large intestine). General symptoms of ulcer apart from stomach pains include heartburn, dark stool and coughing of blood. You could take over-the-counter drugs like Pepcid, Zantac or Prilosec to alleviate the problem. But, it is best to consult a physician in such cases.

Food Poisoning – If you eat some food that has been infected by germs, then these pathogens will enter your digestive system and cause stomach pains, along with vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. Generally food poisoning gets cured faster if you take lots of fluids and rest properly. If the problem persists for more than 2-3 days, then immediately go to a doctor.
Excessive Fluid Intake – When you drink too much fluid during a meal, it can cause stomach cramps. This is because the fluid fills the stomach and dilutes the digestive acids thereby slowing down digestion. However, the pain is temporary and subsides after normal digestion ensues.

Stomach flu – While the symptoms and initial treatment are similar to that of food poising, the difference is that you catch the ‘flu’ virus by coming in contact with an infected individual and not from food. So, it is natural that you will feel like vomiting more often as the body is trying to get rid of the virus. If that does not solve the problem, then take the doctor’s help.

Lactose intolerance – Some people simply cannot digest dairy products, and so when they eat such foods, the stomach acts up producing pain sensations. Generally, the best cure for lactose intolerance is to stay away from dairy products, but if you have already eaten and are now suffering from bouts, then you could treat it with over-the-counter medicines with simethicone or lactase enzyme syrup. Also, ginger and peppermint are known to counteract the problem effectively.

Other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitis (pain in the appendix region), pancreatitis (pancreas related disorder), gallbladder trouble, angina (chest pain), chronic mesenteric insufficiency (clogged arteries in the stomach) and stomach cancer can also cause stomach pains right after taking a meal. These can only be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.  

Home Remedies For Treating Post-Meal Stomach Pains

In majority of cases, overeating and acid reflux tend to be the dominant reasons for experiencing stomach pains soon after having a meal. There are lots of things that you could do to alleviate the problem. For instance, drink some herbal tea or have a sugar cube infused with a drop of peppermint oil to ease the problem. 

Similarly, exercise in the form of jogging or brisk walking should hasten the digestive process and subdue the pain. If it’s too painful to stand up, then lie down straight and maintain a deep breathing rhythm. This will relax the clenched muscles and relieve some of the discomfort. Even placing a hot water bag on your stomach while you are breathing deeply will help immensely.

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