10 Surprising Reasons Why Your Stomach Hurts After Eating


Mealtime is one of the most enjoyable parts of the day. However, if you experience pain shortly afterward, the experience can be ruined. Here are 10 possible explanations for why your stomach aches after eating.

1. Overeating

One of the most common culprits of stomach pain is eating too much. Digestion is a slow process. Due to this, there is a delay between a person being full and their body telling them they’re full.

During this delay, a person may overconsume, leading to pain as the food expands in the stomach. To avoid this, decrease the amount you eat at each meal. Eat slowly and take sips of water throughout the meal to prevent all the food in your stomach from expanding at once.

Do you find yourself still feeling hungry even when you’re full? Consider trying an appetite suppressant to take your mind away from food.

2. Gas 

During digestion, the body releases gases that were trapped inside the food. Some foods produce more than others. Certain herbs and minerals can decrease the amount of gas circling in the gut.

However, if too much gas is released at once, you will become bloated. The only way to reduce this swelled stomach is to wait for the trapped gas to either be absorbed or expelled. Additionally, activated charcoal for stomach bugs may offer some relief by binding to toxins and preventing them from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

3. Too Much Acidity

Highly acidic and spicy foods can sometimes cause abdominal pain. These foods increase activity in the gut, which can be too much for some stomachs to handle.

Try balancing acidic and spicy foods out with milder meals. Over time, you may be able to slowly incorporate more acidic foods into your diet as your body adjusts and builds tolerance.

Make sure to consult your physician to help you build a proper diet.

4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is another lifelong condition that can appear at any age. Many foods people with IBS once loved are now restricted from their diet to prevent upsetting their stomachs. These are the most common foods that trigger IBS:

  • Milk
  • High-fructose foods
  • Refined grains
  • Processed snacks
  • Fried foods
  • Beans
  • Certain fruits (such as citrus)
  • Certain vegetables (such as onions and cauliflower)

Try eliminating these foods to see if your symptoms lessen. If they persist, contact your physician.

girl eating food

5. Stress

Stress is one of the biggest culprits behind stomach issues. It can cause overeating, nausea, digestion difficulties, and other stomach problems.

To combat stress-induced abdominal pain, try drinking a cup of calming tea before each meal. In severe cases, speak with your doctor about medications you can take to lessen anxiety and other forms of distress.

6. Lack of Sleep

Similar to stress, a lack of peaceful sleep can cause your digestive system to slow down. When food spends too long in your body, it continues releasing harmful bacteria. This can lead to nausea, diarrhea, and food poisoning.

To make matters worse, eating again will result in overeating, even if a full night has passed since you last ate. When you have a series of restless nights, transition to eating lighter foods and drinking more fluids.

7. Poor Posture

The digestive system needs certain requirements to operate efficiently. One of them is proper posture. Lying horizontally or leaning against something slows down the digestive process. This is part of why it is harmful to eat right before bed.

Your posture while eating also has an effect. Eating hunched or curled over will cause blockages as the food travels down to your stomach. You may experience cramps or indigestion because of this. Another consequence of this posture is unintentional overeating since there is a delay in the food reaching your stomach.

8. Too Much Activity

There’s some truth behind the warning not to swim after eating. This tip also applies to running, exercising, and other physical activities. Being too active during or after a meal can cause severe cramps.

9. Viral Infection

Your post-meal abdominal pain might be a sign of a larger issue. Without realizing it, you may have an infection that only produces pain when the stomach expands. As Food Poisoning Harvard explains, you may have parasites living in your gut.

10. Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes a range of strange body behaviors. Fluctuating hormones cause the body to fight against itself. One way this can manifest is as stomach pain after eating. While not a common symptom, many women experience this for a significant part of their pregnancy.

In the case that this symptom lasts more than a few days, schedule an exam with your doctor. It is best to rule out any complications with the baby and severe vitamin deficiency.

If you believe you aren’t pregnant, you may want to take a test to be sure.

When to See a Doctor

Do you consistently experience pain after eating even after trying these tips? It may be time to visit an internist to rule out more serious conditions. Trust your gut, and get it the help it needs.