There are many conditions that can cause stomach pain after eating with diarrhea, which need to be assessed by your doctor for a diagnosis. The most common causes of these symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, food allergies or food intolerance. Each condition affects the gastrointestinal tract and can cause stomach cramping, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Diarrhea may lead to dehydration and needs to be evaluated by a doctor to prevent further complications.
IBS is considered a common disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition affects the colon and causes bloating, gas, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain. Although the condition is incurable, it can be managed through diet and lifestyle changes. IBS does not cause an permanent harm to the large intestines and does not cause inflammation. The cause of IBS is still not understood. The condition is considered a malfunction of the muscles that line the large intestine.
About Food Allergies
Food allergies are less common than IBS and food intolerance, only affecting about 4 percent of the adult American population, according to the Mayo Clinic. During a food allergy, the immune system mistakes the proteins in the food as a harmful substance and creates a defense against them. The body produces antibodies and histamine to help fight off the allergen, according to Medline Plus. These chemicals cause inflammation and swelling in soft tissue, such as the intestines.
Food Intolerance Background
Food intolerance occurs when your small intestines don’t produce enough enzymes in to properly break down the sugars and proteins found in the foods. Food intolerance is isolated to the digestive tract and does not affect the immune system, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. Food intolerance symptoms develop within 20 to 30 minutes after eating the food and can range from mild to severe.
Your doctor may recommend further testing or an elimination diet to accurately diagnose your condition. An elimination diet attempts to identify which foods are causing adverse reactions in your body. Once identified, your doctor may perform allergy tests to see if those suspected foods cause the body to create IgE antibodies.
If you experience any other symptoms unrelated to the digestive tract, you may experience a severe allergic reaction. Common symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include: shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, hives, swelling in the face, lips or forehead and a drop in blood pressure, according to Medline Plus. If these symptoms develop, call 911.