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
  • Atrophic Gastritis
  • Food Poisoning
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Gastroenteritis
  • 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:
frequent meal-related bloating
weak appetite
having foamy urine
abdominal pain reduced by eating
meals worsen epigastric pain
Latin / Hispanic ethnicity
regular aspirin use
mild right hypochondriac discomfort
liver/gallbladder cleanses help
significant left iliac pain
black/tarry stools
significant abdominal distension
... 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 severe abdominal pain only after meals:
Cause Probability Status
Mesenteric Ischemia 92% Confirm
Stomach Ulcers 27% Unlikely
Food Poisoning 26% Unlikely
Gastroenteritis 3% Ruled out
Lactose Intolerance 3% Ruled out
Atrophic Gastritis 0% Ruled out
Gallbladder Disease 0% Ruled out
Crohn's Disease 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 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.

Gallbladder Disease

Meal-induced pain in the abdomen suggests the presence of gallstones in the gallbladder that are causing a blockage in the bile duct: The gallbladder contracts as part of the digestive process but the bile is unable to drain, leading to pressure and pain.

Lactose Intolerance

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

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