Everyone has experienced bloating and discomfort after eating. For some, this may simply be indigestion, but for others, these unpleasant symptoms could indicate the presence of more serious conditions. As many factors can cause stomach pain it is important to not only alleviate the discomfort but understand the root cause.
Have you been told your painful stomach is just indigestion?
Read below to find out what other symptoms you need to watch out for when it comes to stomach aches, and what you can do to prevent them.
Indigestion is associated with many types of pain ranging from heartburn to pain alleviated by bowel movements or passing wind. Both abdominal pain and indigestion are associated with unwanted material living in the digestive system including microorganisms, intolerable food, toxins, and heavy metals.
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. Stool tests detect parasites such as Blastocystis hominis, Pinworm, Giardia and Cryptosporidium. These unwanted microorganisms ferment the foods you eat creating an inflammatory response in your digestive system. In return, you get the unwelcomed gas, bloating and discomfort. Stool tests not only show the level of parasite diversity , they also shows the strains of beneficial bacteria that can be removed with the correct protocol.
The relationship between diet and the health of your gut
Due to the modernisation of agriculture, the human diet has changed over the years. The overuse of antibiotics, rising sedentary lifestyles and an increase in processed, fibre-free foods have altered metabolic responses in the body. All three factors cause 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.
Should I just be wary of what I eat?
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).
Conditions to watch out for
Medical conditions that cause stomach pain include gallstones. Gallstones are 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. A diet high in fat exacerbates the pain.
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.
A loose valve in the oesophagus can cause indigestion alongside heartburn. If left untreated, this could 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, eat smaller meals and consider a cigarette free lifestyle.
Evidently, avoiding stomach pain is achievable. With the right guidance and expert attention to detail, you too can be pain-free.
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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.