Gastralgia (gastralgia) is not an independent disease, but, like other types of abdominal pain, can have many causes and symptoms in connection with various disorders. Gastric pain is the name given to various pain in the upper abdomen (usually the left side), but the stomach does not always have to be the triggering organ. Stomach pains can be stinging, spasmodic or pulling and are not a cause for concern. However, if stomach pain occurs with other symptoms and / or returns frequently, a doctor should be consulted.
Stomachache after eating
Stomach pain can occur on its own, such as intolerance to too rich and rich food, or as a symptom of a disease. To understand the causes of stomach ache, you should pay close attention to the circumstances. Stomach pains associated with heartburn and regurgitation may be indicative of reflux disease, in which the gastric contents frequently flow back into the esophagus.
Post-meal stomach aches are usually harmless if they are rare. Then the stomach pains are usually the result of a meal that is difficult to digest and pass quickly. After all, stretching the stomach wall after a pleasurable feasting can lead to stomach ache.
Certain foods have a bloating effect and can therefore cause stomach aches as well. Avoid milk, sweets, pork, onions and cabbage, but also alcoholic drinks, caffeine and cigarettes. The food should be moderately salted and not too hot or cold to be enjoyed. Take enough time to eat and avoid stress or distractions during the meal, such as discussions, business lunches, TV and radio.
Stomach pain: symptoms refer to causes
If other symptoms appear with the stomach ache, more serious causes may be present. Post-meal stomach pains, combined with bloating and nausea, to nausea, may indicate an inflamed stomach (gastritis), gastric ulcer, or duodenal ulcer. In the advanced stage, gastric bleeding or blood in the stool can also occur in these cases. The stomach pain can also be used only 20 minutes to two hours after eating, for example, when they are caused by flatulence in connection with irritable bowel syndrome.
Another cause of stomach pain may be pancreatitis (pancreatitis), which in contrast to the unpleasant but harmless irritable bowel syndrome can be life-threatening (acute pancreatitis). In contrast, chronic pancreatitis can lead to pancreatic cancer (pancreatic carcinoma), which is often recognized late. Gastric cancer can also be characterized by stomach pain, loss of appetite, weight loss and nausea.
Stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea
One of the most common diseases causing stomach aches is the virus-induced gastrointestinal flu. In addition to human-to-human transmission, the consumption of spoiled foods can also lead to a gastrointestinal virus. Especially violent vomiting with diarrhea and stomach cramps speak for a food poisoning. Symptoms usually begin within six hours of ingesting the food.
To a varying degree, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, bloating and regurgitation may be signs of irritable stomach or intolerance to lactose, fructose, gluten or histamine. Other symptoms of lactose intolerance include fatigue, sleep disturbances, depressive moods, nervousness, lack of concentration, dizziness, headache and body aches, and acne.
Depending on the severity of the lactose intolerance, it is advisable to restrict or completely dispense with milk and milk products. Sufferers usually have to radically change their diet, as the stomach ache-causing milk sugar is also added to many finished products and sausages.
Causes stomach pain: illness or psyche?
An organic disease does not always have to be the cause of stomach ache. Stress, depression, nervousness, grief, fears and worries strike us on the stomach. Even with mental causes stomach aches can be accompanied by belching, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, stomach pain, or rather, felt epigastric pain, may alert us to an (acute) health hazard or condition that would initially be associated with other symptoms.
If the pain can be located below the right costal arch, the liver, gallstones or hepatitis can be the cause. Left-sided pain, which extends to the arm and is associated with chest tightness and anxiety, can be caused by a heart attack.
Stomachache: symptom of what?
Severe and sudden abdominal cramps, vomiting of faeces and bile, constipation and a bloated abdomen indicate an intestinal obstruction. If, on the other hand, the stomach is hard and tense, breathing is difficult and the pulse is racing, the cause could be acute peritonitis. If suspected, medical attention must be sought immediately.
Anyone who suffers from abdominal pain during pregnancy should listen. Although pregnant women often suffer from abdominal pain, such as at the beginning of pregnancy due to uterine contractions, baby kicking or premature labor (these causes are also to be taken seriously), especially stomach pains during pregnancy are rather rare.
Stomach pain may be associated with common conditions such as heartburn or digestive problems, but severe and recurring stomach pains should be medically examined to prevent maternal and child dangers.
Stomach pain: diagnosis
Since stomach ache can be a symptom of many illnesses, the doctor will ask you about your medical history and the concomitant symptoms. Among other things, it records how often the stomach aches occur, when they appeared for the first time, where they are to be located, if they occur in connection with (certain) eating and if you have lost weight.
Your lifestyle habits will also be analyzed to determine if nicotine cravings, frequent alcohol consumption, hyperacidity, medication, lack of exercise or mental stress are the causes of stomach ache.
If a diagnosis can not be made after a first physical examination by palpation of the abdomen, listening with a stethoscope and an ultrasound image, the doctor will perform a blood test and in the next step a gastroscopy. Optionally, a colonoscopy may be useful.