Why does my stomach hurt after eating?
August 24, 2017 10:49 AM   Subscribe

This morning I woke up fine, ate some oatmeal for breakfast, and had to lie down halfway through from sudden stomach pains. After around 15 minutes, the pain disappeared. I went to work, ate a piece of fresh fruit, and 5-10 minutes later the exact same thing happened. What's going on with my stomach?

This is not the first time I've had "mysterious stomach aches after eating anything," but it happens sporadically and intermittently enough that I haven't noticed a pattern. I track my dairy intake religiously due to lactose intolerance--my daily morning oatmeal only contains oats, water, and egg. I haven't had any gluten today, either; maybe a trace amount in the oatmeal, but definitely not in a washed pluot which also triggered the symptoms. I eat oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast and at least one piece of fresh fruit soon after on weekdays, so the fiber intake is not abnormal for me. Actually, I had this EXACT breakfast food combination yesterday and was totally fine.

The weird thing is that after the pain goes away--it feels kind of like spasms, but not as sharp as lactose-intolerance-pain--I feel totally 100% normal. Which is why I risked eating something for the second time today.

Other than avoiding food and waiting for it to magically disappear, which it usually does within 24 hours, anything I can do to resolve this mysterious ailment? Is it worth seeing the doctor to try to get a diagnosis?
posted by serelliya to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go to the doctor. Don't play around with sudden stomach pains. At least go to urgent care and describe the problem. Let them tell you it's not worth their time.
posted by Pacrand at 10:51 AM on August 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

You might have an ulcer. A course of antibiotics will probably clear that up, as most ulcers are caused by a bacterium, H. pylori.

However, be prepared to have a tube stuck down your throat. My wife had an ulcer a couple of years ago and I was shocked that they did an endoscopy before giving her the antibiotics.
posted by kindall at 10:56 AM on August 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Not to threadsit, but some more info:

1) The pain is fairly low-level, like a 2 on the pain scale, consistent while it's happening but sudden onset and sudden stop.

2) I've experienced this kind of low-level pain from eating anything in the past. Not in recent history, but it's not totally out of character for my delicate stomach.

If the consensus is still that I should call my doctor/go to urgent care, I'm happy to do that. It doesn't feel like a big deal to me right now.
posted by serelliya at 10:59 AM on August 24, 2017

You should go to the doctor. But, anecdotally, when I got an ulcer from too much ibuprofen it was almost exactly like that: pain briefly after eating anything, including water.
posted by stopgap at 11:43 AM on August 24, 2017

It could be stomach cramping/spasms associated with fibrous foods. I have IBS and when I'm not treated I get pains like this from oatmeal and other high-fiber food. Definitely worth talking to your doctor. I think a sick visit is appropriate level for this, as long as you aren't having other GI symptoms and your pain remains low-level.
posted by ancient star at 11:45 AM on August 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

That sounds like a peptic ulcer, which becomes painful after you eat and eases once you are done, unlike a duodenal ulcer which becomes painful before you eat and eases once you do eat. Make an appointment with your doctor though
posted by Fullofcrazy at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2017

Sounds exactly like my ulcer! Go to a doctor - can be easily treated.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:09 PM on August 24, 2017

IANAD An ulcer from taking a pill could be an area of damage/ irritation in the esophagus. I took an antibiotic without enough water, and had hellish reflux for 6 months. Medication helped. Doctor.

The other possibility is constipation, and if that's the case, bran, dried fruit, water and exercise.
posted by theora55 at 12:19 PM on August 24, 2017

Oatmeal, despite being omg healthy eat it every day! food, gives me MAD acid reflux like 97% of the time I eat it. But also nthing to check in with a doctor if this is ongoing and causes significant discomfort!
posted by augustimagination at 12:48 PM on August 24, 2017

I'd give it another day and see if it persists, but stomach pain after eating is a sign of a problem. Could be a bunch of things and can't really be diagnosed from the internet. I'd see a doctor if it doesn't go away and can't be chalked up to "random, brief stomach irritation." If this has been off-and-on, I'd go to a doctor just to figure out what it is. Might be as simple as popping an antacid or something, who knows, but would be best off knowing if you can do anything about it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:21 PM on August 24, 2017

Update: I ate lunch very cautiously, slowly and coincidentally lower in fiber (rice, squash, bell peppers, tofu). My stomach didn't feel quite normal but it didn't hurt either, which is a good sign.

I've had off-and-on minor stomach problems of varying kinds for years, as has my mother who eventually went to the GI doc and never figured out a Dx. I suspect it's probably something in the IBS family. Will make a note on my calendar for later reference if I notice a pattern in the future, so that I can go to my doc with something concrete.
posted by serelliya at 2:00 PM on August 24, 2017

This sounds very much like a gall bladder spasm. It's worth a trip to your doctor to check it it.
posted by SLC Mom at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2017

Also a consideration: 2/10 is not that much pain, and this sounds like gas, which can certainly be normal in a healthy diet full of fiber.
posted by eglenner at 9:14 PM on August 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Where exactly in your abdomen does it hurt? If it's on the lower left-hand side (or the lower right-hand side, if you're of East Asian descent), it could be diverticular disease. IANAD.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 2:58 PM on August 25, 2017

I suffered for a long time with sharp stomach pains after eating that would drive me to the couch for half an hour or more. I went to the doctor convinced it was an ulcer, and they prescribed acid-blockers that I never wound up taking. (They refused to actually look for the ulcer, btw.) I somehow wound up taking cheap probiotics (the refrigerated kind, but still cheap) and the pain went away and never came back. YMMV, of course.
posted by ziggly at 9:12 PM on August 25, 2017

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