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Stomach Pain After Eating Red Meat

by
author image Shannon Marks
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.
Stomach Pain After Eating Red Meat
It can take about one to three hours for the body to digest red meat. Photo Credit James And James/Photodisc/Getty Images

Red meat, which includes beef from cows and lamb as well as processed meats like sausage, pepperoni and bacon, is typically high in saturated fats. Unlike fruits and vegetables, red meat is 100-percent digestible and can take between one and three hours to fully move its way through your digestive tract, according to registered dietitian Glenn King.

About Stomach Pain

Michael J. White, M.D., writes in the journal "Emergency Medicine", that diagnosing stomach or abdominal pain is one of medicine's most daunting tasks, due in part to the many organs in this small area, including the spleen, kidneys, pancreas, appendix and digestive tract. Even the Mayo Clinic's symptom checker suggests ten different possible causes of abdominal pain triggered by eating a specific food, many of which are known digestive diseases. In some cases, your pain may not even be related to the abdomen. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a general infection like the flu or strep throat can cause pain in many parts of your body.

Digestive Diseases

Digestive diseases affect an estimated 60 to 70 million Americans, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, known as the NDDIC. In 2004 alone, approximately 104 million people went to the emergency department for a digestive condition. Illnesses caused or triggered by eating include chronic constipation, reflux disease, gastrointestinal infections, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and more.

Possible Conditions

Gastritis is characterized by inflammation in the lining of the stomach, according to UMM. Gastritis can be caused by a bacterial infection, autoimmune disorder, long-term use of pain medications and more. Symptoms include indigestion, heartburn and abdominal pain. The University of Maryland suggests that gastritis patients avoid red meat and consume lean meats instead. The Mayo Clinic reports that irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, is a common disorder characterized by abnormal muscle contractions in the bowel. Certain foods are known to trigger a flare-up for some IBS sufferers.

Foodborne Illness

If you've only experienced pain after eating red meat one time, you may want to consider a foodborne illness as the cause. The NDDIC explains that foodborne illnesses are caused when your food is contaminated with bacteria, parasites or viruses. Harmful chemicals used during harvest or processing can trigger abdominal pain. Symptoms of a food-borne illness include belly pain, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, cramps and more. The NDDIC reports that raw foods are the most common source of foodborne illness, and red meat is one of the foods most often purchased in raw form, along with vegetables, fruit and poultry.

Treating Abdominal Pain

When treating stomach pain, UMM suggests sipping clear liquids, like tea or broth. Avoid eating solid food for the first few hours after symptoms appear. Avoid high-fat foods and foods that are fried or greasy, both of which are ways that red meat can be prepared. Don't take any pain medication unless specifically ordered by your doctor. Certain pain medications can aggravate your stomach and worsen symptoms.

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