Abdominal Pain After Eating A Big/Fatty Meal

What Causes Abdominal Pain After Meals?

Abdominal pain after meals can have various causes, just like most other symptoms.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose abdominal pain after meals, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "abdominal pain after meals" as a symptom.  For example, gallbladder disease.

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
orange stool color
history of birth control pill use
frequent rotten egg burps
past non-surgical gallstone removal
dark urine color
having non-problematic gallstones
frequent unexplained nausea
skipping meals
reasonably controlled diabetes
liver/gallbladder cleanses help
moderate unexplained fevers
constant slight bloating
... and more than 10 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of abdominal pain after meals.

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate abdominal pain, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Does a large or fatty meal cause upper abdominal pain, perhaps worse at night?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ In the past only
→ Yes, it occasionally causes mild pain
→ Yes, frequently mild pain / occasionally serious
→ Yes, it frequently causes serious pain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either history of pain after eating fat or abdominal pain after fat consumption, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as Gallbladder Disease. The mildest and most common symptom of gallbladder disease is intermittent pain called biliary colic, which occurs either in the mid- or upper-right portion of the upper abdomen.  Large or fatty meals can precipitate the pain, but it usually occurs several hours after eating, often at night.  Biliary colic produces a steady pain, which can be quite severe and may be accompanied by nausea.  Changes in position, over-the-counter pain relievers, and passage of gas do not relieve the symptoms.  Biliary colic usually disappears after several hours.  Attacks of pain tend to be intermittent and infrequent; the chance of pain recurring within a year is less than 50%.  In one study, 30% of people who had had one or two attacks experienced no further biliary pain over the next ten years.

Acute gallbladder inflammation (acute cholecystitis) begins abruptly and subsides gradually.  Nausea, vomiting, and severe pain and tenderness in the upper right abdomen are the most common complaints; fever is usual but may be absent.  The discomfort is intense and steady and lasts until the condition is treated with medicine or surgery.  Patients with acute cholecystitis frequently complain of pain when drawing a breath.  The pain can radiate from the abdomen to the back.  Acute cholecystitis is usually caused by gallstones, but, in some cases, can occur without stones.