Unexplainable stomach pain after every meal is a concerning symptom that may alarm you. If you develop chronic stomach pain every time you eat, you need to see a gastroenterologist to determine the cause. The stomach pains can be related to various conditions but are most likely the result of a food allergy, food intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome. If you notice blood in your stool or in your vomit, call your doctor immediately and visit the emergency. These symptoms may be a sign of a serious complication.
Food intolerances are a common cause of stomach pain after eating. Many food intolerances can be triggered after every meal because most foods contain ingredients that can trigger the intolerance. The most common intolerances that can affect you after every meal are gluten and lactose intolerance. Gluten is found in most foods, especially processed or packaged foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barely that causes damage to the small intestines if you have an intolerance. Lactose is primarily found in dairy products but may be found in unlikely places, such as ketchup, chocolate and some medications.
Food allergies will cause severe stomach pain, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and gas. If you have more than one food allergy, you may have a difficult time eating meals without developing an allergic reaction. The most common foods that trigger a food allergy are fish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat and soy. If you're allergic to soy, eggs and milk, almost all breaded products, baked goods or packaged foods will contain one of these foods in the ingredients. You will need to work with a dietitian to determine a specific diet for your allergic condition.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a consideration for stomach pain after eating because it commonly affects your digestive system after every meal. IBS is a malfunction that occurs in your colon. Waste moves through your colon because the muscles that line the intestine contract and relax. If you have IBS, your muscles in your colon don't function properly and you may develop chronic diarrhea or constipation, along with stomach pain.
Treatment for all three conditions begins with a clinical diagnosis and avoidance of the foods or ingredients that trigger your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy and allergy tests in order to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. Some cases of IBS are treated with medication, but food intolerances and allergies are only treated by avoidance.