Good gut guide: Why does my stomach hurt?
When you ask yourself or Google "Why does my stomach hurt?" - you're more likely to be asking about your gut, rather than the stomach itself. (We're not being pedantic but it's useful to know!)
Do you ever get pain in your stomach or abdomen after eating? Or feel bloated and uncomfortable? And it passes after some time or after you've been to the toilet. If so, you're not alone.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the causes of abdominal discomfort after eating, and provide some tips to help you heal yourself!
What causes bloating and abdominal discomfort after eating?
If you regularly get bloated after meals, it may be a sign that you're eating too quickly, not chewing enough or that you have an intolerance to some foods. It could also be one of many different diagnoses, and you should read this guide of when you should speak to a doctor about your gut health.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Generally, IBS doesn't cause inflammation or permanent damage to your digestive system. It can cause bloating and other symptoms like cramps, diarrhoea, constipation, gas, and mucus in your stool (none of these sound fun, right?)
Symptoms of IBS vary from person to person. Some people may experience flares that come on suddenly; others have chronic or long-term symptoms that are always present.
A flare may last for days or even months before returning to remission again—a state where there's no noticeable symptoms at all! In some cases though it's possible for someone who has been in remission to never experience another flare again.
The tricky thing here is that there's no medical test for IBS, doctors will diagnose you based on your symptoms and rule out other possible diagnoses.
How do you figure out what's causing your stomach pain or bloating symptoms?
Step 1 to understanding why your stomach hurts after eating - take some mindful moments to think about what's going on
Check in with yourself before you read the rest of this. Don't rush trying to heal yourself - that might be part of the problem.
Get a pen and paper. Just stop for a few minutes. Shut off the noise of any and all gut health and gut healing education out there.
Now, write down a few lines about how you are feeling. Honestly, how are you feeling right now? Do not take into consideration knowledge; just feelings.
And consider, what do you want to achieve? What does better gut health mean for you?
Every single body is different so you should listen to your gut when it's telling you something is wrong.
Step 2 to understanding why your stomach hurts after eating - Keep a bloating and pain diary
Most digestive problems are to do with lifestyle, the foods we've eaten, or stress. Which means that taking steps to change your lifestyle can help, and often prevent, many of these problems.
This might sound like a lot of work, but it's important to figure out what foods or other factors that may be causing your bloating or other symptoms so that you can make small lifestyle changes.
If possible try taking photos of bloating or writing down measurements - all these things help with figuring out the triggers for bloating.
You may also want to take a note of your stress levels or how busy you've been in the diary as there may be a very clear pattern forming when you see it in black and white!
It's not easy sometimes to connect your lifestyle with your symptoms unless you take the time to think about it. Only you can do this. If you really want to heal yourself then this is an integral step.
Step 3 to understanding why your stomach hurts after eating - Eliminate first and reintroduce later
You may find that after keeping a food log for some time you start noticing trends in when symptoms present themselves and how long they last.
It's likely then if certain food types are triggering these feelings there will be patterns found over several weeks worth of diaries to back up any suspicions about what could be behind those uncomfortable feelings we talked about.
From here you should try to reduce those foods that trigger the symptoms, pains, bloating or discomfort. Use this as a trial to see if you get improvements. Of course if things improve you should keep reducing these things from what you're eating.
And of course you should try to increase good gut foods (as long as these aren't the foods you find trigger your symptoms).
You can gradually start to reintroduce these foods over time and see if the rest has allowed your gut to heal. Key thing to consider here is: listen to your gut if it's telling you something!
Or if you saw a pattern with stress or being busy as a possible cause of your symptoms, it's time to really consider - is my lifestyle contributing and helping my health or making me feel terrible? And really ask yourself what you're willing and able to change to improve how you feel.
Step 4 - consider these good gut options
Our good gut options include
- Good Gut Hints and Tips
- 5 ways to improve your gut health you can start today
- Sign up to our Gut Wealth digestive health updates
Step 5 - if you haven't already, speak to your doctor
Gut health and digestive issues are hard to pinpoint at times. If you've spoken to your healthcare provider already and you've not felt heard or solutions haven't been found, don't be disheartened.
You need to be an advocate for your own wellbeing.
If you've done everything you can do and even if you've previously spoken to your doctor or healthcare professional, you should speak to them again, outlining your symptoms, frequency and also what you've tried and how successful each option has been (bring your diary!)
You don't need to suffer bloating, constipation, digestive ill-health - there are options available and you should explore everything to find what's right for you.
Digestive health is a continuous journey for many of us
We can always improve our gut health. We believe everyone knows their own body best, and know when things aren’t quite right.
You can take control by understanding how your gut works, and what works for you, Daily consistent choices will have the longest and best effect and small changes lead to greater levels of consistency.
You can do this!
More digestive health resources to help your understand your gut: