General abdominal pain only after meals can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'critical'. 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 general abdominal pain only after meals, we could:
|Ulcerative Colitis||3%||Ruled out|
|Crohn's Disease||2%||Ruled out|
|Lactose Intolerance||0%||Ruled out|
|Stomach Ulcers||0%||Ruled out|
Do you regularly experience general abdominal pain that begins roughly 20 minutes to 3 hours after eating a meal?
Possible responses:→ No / I have it even when I don't eat / don't know
→ No, only rarely / a few times a year or less
→ Yes, it started less than 1 week ago
→ Yes, it started about 1 to 4 weeks ago
→ Yes, I've had it for 1 month or more
In cases of chronic gastritis, pain usually appears almost immediately after a meal, especially if the food is coarse or sour.
Inflammation or other dysfunction of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) or biliary tract (angiocholitis) often causes pain in the abdomen, generally towards the right-hand side. The pain is more likely to occur after large and/or fatty/oily/fried meals.
Stomach ulcers normally cause pain within 1-1½ hours of eating a meal; duodenal ulcers usually result in pain that starts 1½-2 hours after a meal.
If symptoms come on suddenly and severely, it is classed as acute gastritis. If it has lasted a long time (usually because of bacterial infection), it is chronic gastritis.
Because total blood flow to the intestine can vary from 25% when fasting to 35% after eating, symptoms are more prevalent after eating.