It happens to everyone once or several times that overindulgence while eating leads to overeating, fullness, nausea, and vomiting. This is not a problem and needs no specific treatment. The person feels better once the food is thrown out (vomiting) or digested with time. However, if these symptoms are seen along with stomach cramps in cases of regular food intake, it could be a sign of some underlying cause. In most cases, the stomach cramps after eating are not severe and can be cured at home with over-the-counter medicines. However, a doctor should be consulted in some cases of painful cramps.
What Are the Causes of Stomach Cramps After Eating?
Food: Some food items can lead to stomach cramps due to intolerance or allergy. Doctors help to find the allergens in such cases, and it is advised to avoid such food items.
Allergies: Some food items can trigger our immune responses and can cause symptoms such as stomach cramps. Allergies can be due to any food items or fluids, but some foods that have the potential to develop allergies in the majority of cases are eggs, soy, peanuts, milk, wheat (gluten), and fish.
Intolerance: It is a condition when the body's digestive system does not accept certain food items in the stomach. In cases of intolerance, there are no immune responses, unlike allergies. Intolerance leads to irritation or indigestion in the gastrointestinal tract.
Some common foods and reasons which can cause intolerance are:
Gluten: It is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and other grains. Some people are gluten intolerant and can develop a condition known as celiac disease.
Lactose: Sensitivity to milk and dairy products is known as lactose intolerance.
Fermented Carbohydrates: Some people are sensitive to food items containing fermented carbohydrates.
Constipation: Movement of stool is slow in the digestive tract and not appropriately eliminated. Chronic constipation for several weeks can cause bloating and stomach cramps.
Sugary Alcohols: These artificial sweeteners contain neither sugar nor alcohol. These are used in the production of sugar-free gums and candies. Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol are food additives whose excess consumption can cause diarrhea, bloating, and stomach cramps.
Indigestion: It is also known as dyspepsia or upset stomach.
There is difficulty in digestion which can be due to the following reasons:
Consumption of spicy, acidic, or greasy foods.
Overeating food in a single meal.
Consumption of excess amounts of caffeine and alcohol.
Some Medical Conditions Which Can Cause Stomach Cramps Are:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): It is a chronic disorder in which stomach acid accumulates in the esophagus and irritates its lining. This can cause damage to the esophagus as it is long-lasting. The main symptoms of the disease include heartburn, the feeling of throwing out food involuntarily, chest pain, and stomach cramps.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Chronic inflammation affecting the large intestine, which can cause abdominal pain, stomach cramps, constipation, bloating, and gas.
Celiac Disease: Intolerance to gluten leads to celiac disease. It causes damage to the lining of the intestine and other severe conditions.
Crohn's Disease: Inflammation in different parts of the digestive system can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, and bloody stools. It can be a potentially life-threatening condition if not treated.
Ulcerative Colitis: It is an auto-immune disorder in which the body's immune system reacts abnormally and causes inflammation and ulcers on the lining of the intestine.
Peptic Ulcers: Soreness on the stomach's inner lining and the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). The most common symptom noticed is burning stomach pain.
Acute Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas leading to symptoms such as radiating abdominal pain. It can be caused due to high triglyceride content in the body, the presence of gallstones, or alcohol consumption.
Biliary Colic: Obstruction in the bile duct due to stones. The condition causes pain after eating in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. The pain can be continuous or intermittent.
What Are the Symptoms Seen in Stomach Cramps?
There are many symptoms associated with stomach pain.
Some of them are:
Nausea, a feeling of uneasiness and vomiting.
Diarrhea, or loose stools, which are very frequent during the day.
Acid reflux or accumulation of stomach acid in the esophagus.
Early fullness during a meal.
Tightness or bloating in the abdomen causes discomfort.
Burning sensation in the lower abdomen.
Vomiting, or involuntarily throwing out food from the stomach through the esophagus.
Gas in the stomach.
How to Diagnose Stomach Cramps?
Many investigation techniques can help to investigate the cause of stomach cramps. These include:
Endoscopy: Insertion of an endoscope through the mouth can help to locate any disorder or inflammation which can cause stomach cramps after eating.
pH Monitoring: It helps to understand the acidic or essential nature of the underlying condition, such as in cases of gastrointestinal acid reflux, the pH is low.
Colonoscopy: Insertion of a tube with a camera through the rectum to investigate the large and small intestines and any disorder if present.
Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.
Blood tests to check for any deficiencies or excessive concentration of elements.
Stool sample to check for the presence of blood.
What Is the Treatment for Stomach Cramps?
Treatment for stomach cramps depends on the underlying condition which can cause this pain and its cure. In cases of allergy or intolerance, it is best advised to avoid the food items which cause it. No other treatment can prevent these conditions. In medical situations, every disorder has its stated cure, which the doctors should advise. Some inflammatory conditions are easily cured with medicines, whereas some serious diseases need surgical interventions too.
Stomach cramps after eating can be caused due to several factors, such as allergies, indigestion, intolerance, or medical conditions such as colitis, celiac disease, gastrointestinal acid reflux (GERD), and many more. The symptoms of stomach cramps include nausea, vomiting, or bloating. The treatment of pain depends on the underlying cause.
Frequently Asked Questions