Upper-Center Abdomen Pain Made Worse By Eating

What Causes Upper-Center Abdomen Pain Worse After Meals?

Upper-center abdomen pain worse after meals can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose upper-center abdomen pain worse 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 "upper-center abdomen pain worse after meals" as a symptom.  Here are eight possibilities (more below):
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Gastritis
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Sphincter Of Oddi Dysfunction

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:
slightly pale stools
high processed meat consumption
having a high fever
unexplained fevers that hit hard
pancreatic cancer
skipping most meals
significant epigastric pain
history of pancreatic cancer
meal-related pain for over a month
slightly black/tarry stools
African ethnicity
occasional rotten egg burps
... and more than 90 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of upper-center abdomen pain worse after meals:
Cause Probability Status
Gallbladder Disease 97% Confirm
Sphincter Of Oddi Dysfunction 24% Unlikely
Stomach Cancer 23% Unlikely
Stomach Ulcers 1% Ruled out
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 1% Ruled out
Pancreatitis 0% Ruled out
Pancreatic Cancer 0% Ruled out
Gastritis 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

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 increased by eating, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
UPPER-CENTER abdomen: Do you experience discomfort or pain in the epigastric (stomach) area, below the breastbone that sometimes or always becomes worse after eating?
Possible responses:
→ No / I only have pain when I eat / don't know
→ Rarely / a few times a year
→ Yes, mild pain becomes moderate pain after eating
→ Yes, mild pain becomes severe pain
→ Yes, moderate pain becomes severe pain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate meals worsen epigastric pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Gallbladder Disease

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.

Gastric/Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

If you have a stomach ulcer, the pain usually begins about 15 to 20 minutes after eating, especially after large meals.

Heartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux

The pain often starts in the upper abdomen and spreads up into the neck.  It usually begins about 30-60 minutes after a meal and can last for up to 2 hours.  Lying down or bending over can bring on heartburn or make it worse.

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

IBS can be a source of long-term abdominal pain or discomfort; the symptoms of IBS are usually worse after eating and tend to come and go.

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer usually causes a dull pain that may become worse after eating.

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