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Your stomach pain may not be indigestion. Five other things you need to watch out for


Are you getting a painful stomach and have been told it’s just indigestion? Read below to find out what other things you need to watch out for when it comes to stomach aches, and what you can do to avoid this.

Everyone has experienced the feeling of being bloated and uncomfortable after eating something that does not seem to agree with your body. Indigestion is a common misconception that the majority of people think they have, when in fact the unpleasant symptoms could be indicating conditions such as stomach ulcers or autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s. Many factors can be causing the pain and therefore it is important to understand what is causing it.

Indigestion is associated with many types of pain ranging from heartburn, abdominal cramping, stabbing pain in the lower abdomen, pain alleviated by bowel movements/passing wind, and abdominal pain alongside chest pain.

Abdominal pain and indigestion are both associated with unwanted material living in the digestive system; this includes microorganisms, intolerable food, toxins, heavy metals, and medical conditions.

Proliferating microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, yeast, and fungal organisms) irritate the gut lining and cause inflammation and pain; Clostridium difficile, Staphylococcus aureus, H pylori, and E. Coli are a few of many unwanted strains found in stool test of those reporting abdominal pain. Parasites can also be detected in stool tests, examples: Blastocystis hominis, Pinworm, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium. These unwanted microorganisms are known to ferment foods you eat and they create an inflammatory response in your digestive system. In return, you get unwelcomed gas, bloating, and discomfort. Stool tests not only show the level of diversity but also shows the strains of beneficial bacteria that can be removed with the correct protocol.

The human diet has changed over the years due to the modernisation of agriculture. The development of antibiotics, sedentary lifestyle, and an increase in processed, fibre-free foods have altered metabolic responses in the body causing irritated intestinal lining, inflammation, and gut pain. A study concluded consuming fatty foods exacerbated indigestion symptoms (Azadbakht et al.,2016). Dairy, refined sugar, soy, coffee, alcohol, and gluten are common foods that irritate the gut lining and result in pain.

Gluten, a protein found in grains (e.g. wheat) is a strong marker for Celiac disease. Those with this condition have damaged lining within the small intestine, resulting in malabsorption of some nutrients and inflammation that stokes indigestion. If you find digestion of grains is difficult, try cutting wheat out for a week and record whether symptoms improve. Food intolerance testing is an effective way to detect which foods cause sensitivity; thereafter it’s recommended to change your diet, or consume anti-inflammatory foods.

Toxins are known to cause inflammation, and those affected suffer from stomach and intestinal pain. Environmental toxins and chemicals are unavoidable; we eat, drink, and breath them; these include heavy metals – mercury in tooth fillings, aluminium in cooking utensils and foil and led, plastics, petrochemicals such as parabens, pesticides, and medical drugs (NSAIDs, that irritate the gut lining).

Medical conditions that cause stomach pain include gallstones; lumps of solid matter that form in the gallbladder or bile tubes. These stones irritate the lining of the gallbladder and cause sharp pain in the upper abdomen. The pain is exacerbated by a diet that is high in fat.

Furthermore, a study in 2010 found 10% of patients who reported indigestion also have peptic ulcers (Harmon C., 2010). These are open sores inside the intestinal lining, that not only cause pain, but also heartburn and reflux.
Indigestion alongside heartburn can be the result of a loose valve in the oesophagus , which can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The International Journal of Obesity (2010), found overeating or eating too fast causes recurrent indigestion. To minimise symptoms of heartburn, it is advised to eat smaller meals and stop smoking.

So you can see that avoiding stomach pain is achievable with the right guidance and expert attention to detail, you can get the pain-free outcome that you deserve.

If this resonates with you then…

Take advantage of our 15-minute sessions either with a Nutritionist or Functional Medicine Practitioner, designed to give you the support you need with your concerns and to get you started on your road to recovery. Find very quick and effective results!

At Perfect Balance Clinic, our Nutritionists or Functional Medicine Practitioners will provide you with an important assessment of your condition and discuss many routes to explore for optimum health. Our assessment covers important aspects that most practitioners seem to miss in normal sessions with their clients. This allows us to accelerate your recovery! Simply use the contact form below to provide us your details to get booked in.


Azadbakht, Leila, and Mahdieh Khodarahm. “Dietary Fat Intake And Functional Dyspepsia.” Advanced Biomedical Research 5.1 (2016): 76. Web. 27 Aug. 2019.

Harmon, R. Christopher, and David A. Peura. “Review: Evaluation And Management Of Dyspepsia.” Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 3.2 (2010): 87-98. Web. 27 Aug. 2019.

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