Severity Of General Abdominal Pain After Meals

What Causes Severe Abdominal Pain Only After Meals?

Severe 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.

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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 severe abdominal pain only 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 "severe abdominal pain only after meals" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Mesenteric Ischemia
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Food Poisoning
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Atrophic Gastritis
  • Ulcerative Colitis

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:
diarrhea for 1-3 months
stomach ulcers
moderate right iliac pain
severe lactose intolerance
meal-related pain for over a month
meals worsen top-right abdomen pain
frequent meal-related bloating
chronic nausea
regular painful urge to defecate
past vaccinations
very foul-smelling flatulence
severe ulcerative colitis
... and more than 80 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of severe abdominal pain only after meals:
Cause Probability Status
Stomach Ulcers 93% Confirm
Ulcerative Colitis 23% Unlikely
Lactose Intolerance 21% Unlikely
Food Poisoning 3% Ruled out
Gastroenteritis 3% Ruled out
Mesenteric Ischemia 1% Ruled out
Crohn's Disease 1% Ruled out
Atrophic Gastritis 1% 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 caused by eating, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
If you regularly experience general abdominal pain that begins after eating a meal, roughly how frequent and severe is it?
Possible responses:
→ Not applicable / don't know
→ Occasional mild/moderate pain
→ Frequent mild and/or occasional moderate pain
→ Frequent moderate and/or occasional severe pain
→ Severe pain after most/all meals
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate mild meal-induced pain, moderate meal-induced pain, significant meal-induced pain or severe meal-induced pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Crohn's Disease

Pain usually begins within an hour of eating and is most often around the navel, the lower right abdomen, or both.  Usually painful to the touch.

Lactose Intolerance

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be mild or severe, depending on how much lactase your body makes.

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