What Causes Nausea & Abdominal Pain After Eating?

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Mild and infrequent nausea and abdominal pain after eating is typically caused by food allergies or food poisoning. However, reoccurring nausea and abdominal pain after eating is usually a sign or symptom of medical illness such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease. Treatment for nausea and abdominal pain includes medication, dietary change and in some instances, surgery.

Abdominal Pain

  • The term abdominal pain is used to describe any discomfort in the abdomen, the part of the body starting at the chest and extending down to the groin. The following organs make up the abdomen: esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, spleen and appendix. Abdominal pain may be caused from these organs or the brain, as is the case with motion sickness. Abdominal pain can be short or long-term with varying degrees of severity. Common causes of abdominal pain include excessive gas caused from digestion, food poisoning, food allergy and medical conditions affecting the abdominal organs such as appendicitis, according to MedlinePlus Medical encyclopedia.

Nausea

  • The term nausea is used to describe discomfort in the stomach coupled with the urge to vomit. Nausea itself is not an illness but a symptom of other sickness. Common causes of nausea include food allergy, food poisoning, motion sickness, alcoholism or medical illness involving the digestive system such as GERD, according to MedicineNet. Additionally, nausea can also accompany pregnancy or be a side effect of medication.

Causes

  • Feelings of nausea and abdominal pain after eating are most commonly caused by food allergies such as lactose intolerance or food poisoning. Food poisoning occurs as the result of eating food contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli.

    Nausea and abdominal pain can also be a sign or symptom of a more serious medical condition such as alcoholism, stomach flu, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, peptic ulcers, vertigo and inflammation (i.e. appendicitis and colitis).

Treatment

  • Mild and isolated instances of nausea and abdominal pain can be treated with antacids and over-the-counter medication in conjunction with fluids and rest. Avoiding greasy food, processed foods, acidic foods, caffeinated beverages and alcohol can help prevent nausea and abdominal pain. Treatment for reoccurring and prolonged nausea and abdominal pain is typically with prescription medication, diet and, in some instances, surgery.

Expert Insight

  • Most instances of nausea and abdominal pain do not warrant emergency care. However, individuals who experience symptoms of bloody bowel movements, bloody diarrhea or intolerable pain should seek immediate medical assistance. Reoccurring or prolonged nausea and abdominal pain should also be discussed with a medical professional.

References

  • Photo Credit "Jones Soda: Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: TravOC (Travis) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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