Upper abdominal pain after eating


Upper abdominal pain after eating can e.g. caused by eating too quickly, food intolerance or inflammation of the stomach lining.

Pain in the upper abdomen after eating is common in many people. Often the symptoms are then triggered by eating too quickly. The stomach wall becomes stretched, which can cause cramp-like upper abdominal pain.

However, there are also a number of conditions that can lead to pain in the upper abdomen after eating. Especially if the symptoms are regular or particularly severe, this can indicate that there is a serious illness. These include, for example, intolerance or allergies to certain foods, a stomach ulcer, an inflammation of the pancreas or an inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis). Psychological fears and stress can also play a role in pain in the upper abdomen after eating.

A distinction is made between acute and chronic pain conditions. Often the pain is perceived in a specific place after eating, whereby the localization of the upper abdominal pain can indicate the possible cause.


Upper abdominal pain, which occurs mainly after eating, is in most cases caused by the digestive organs of the stomach, intestines, pancreas or gallbladder.
In sensitive people, excessive stress can lead to pain and discomfort in this area.

Most of the time, upper abdominal pain is caused by poor nutrition, eating too much or eating too quickly. For example, a low-fiber diet can lead to chronic constipation (Constipation) come. When you eat again, the constipation leads to severe pain, especially in the upper abdomen, as the intestines cannot work properly. A change in diet and increased fluid intake should be aimed for here.
But food intolerance or allergies can also lead to discomfort after eating.

Read more on the subject below: Bloated upper abdomen and Bloated stomach after eating

An inflammation of the gastric mucosa or a stomach ulcer also lead to pain in the upper abdomen, especially after eating. Above all, very acidic, salty, spicy, alcoholic or caffeine-containing foods trigger the pain in the upper abdomen, as these substances attack the stomach wall. If more advanced, inflammation of the lining of the stomach can also lead to a stomach ulcer (Ulcer), which can also lead to sharp pain after eating. A tissue sample (biopsy) to rule out a malignant disease (e.g. stomach cancer).

Gallstones lead to severe cramps in the upper abdomen, especially after eating fatty foods.

Food poisoning caused by spoiled food is noticeable a short time after eating through violent vomiting, diarrhea and epigastric cramps, as the body reflexively tries to excrete the harmful substances.

But there can also be other causes behind epigastric pain after eating. For example, certain medications, if taken regularly, or diseases of other organs, can lead to upper abdominal pain.

Read more on the topic: Causes of Upper Abdominal Pain


In many cases, the symptoms that occur in the upper abdomen area after eating indicate the possible cause of the symptoms.

The most common cause of upper abdominal pain after eating is too fast or too much food intake. Symptoms often only arise a while after eating, usually in connection with a feeling of fullness, malaise and gas.

An inflammation of the gastric mucous membrane or a stomach ulcer, on the other hand, are more often noticeable with pain on the stomach, a feeling of fullness with nausea and nausea. Often times, if the person concerned thinks more carefully, they can also state which foods are particularly causing the symptoms. As a rule, in the case of gastric mucosal inflammation, these are particularly acidic foods such as coffee, alcohol or carbonated drinks, particularly spicy or hot foods.

If you already have a stomach ulcer or duodenal ulcer (Ulcer), blood may also appear in the stool (recognizable by stool that is dark to black).
If symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, unwanted weight loss and increased sweating (especially at night) are added, a more serious illness such as stomach cancer can cause the symptoms.

Sharp upper abdominal pain after eating

Discomfort in the upper abdomen that occurs after eating can express itself very differently. Particularly in the case of acute, sudden stabbing pain in the upper abdomen or if upper abdominal pain that occurs regularly after every meal, a doctor should be consulted in order to rule out a serious illness behind the symptoms and, if possible, to initiate suitable therapy.

There may be a dull pain, which is usually triggered by the stomach stretching.
Burning pain is more likely to indicate heartburn, i.e., acidic gastric juice flowing back into the esophagus, where the acid irritates the mucous membrane and causes pain.
Spasmodic or sharp pain is more common with conditions such as inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis) connected.

Read more on the topic: Stomach cramps after eating and Burning in the stomach.

But gallstones also often cause sharp pain in the upper abdomen after eating. More serious conditions such as a heart attack (Myocardial infarction) or an intestinal obstruction (Ileus) lead to acute, sudden, stabbing pain in the upper abdomen.


Nausea after eating is a common symptom. In most cases, the nausea is caused by overeating or overeating. But illnesses such as inflammation of the stomach lining or esophagus are also often associated with nausea after eating. In addition, nausea after eating in connection with flatulence, belching, diarrhea and upper abdominal pain can indicate a food intolerance e.g. of fruit sugar (fructose) or milk sugar (lactose) (please refer: Lactose intolerance).

If, in addition to nausea, there are other symptoms such as diarrhea, severe epigastric cramps or violent vomiting that occur a short time to a few hours after eating, food poisoning, the consumption of toxic mushrooms or excessive alcohol consumption can be behind the symptoms.

Gastrointestinal infections also lead to upper abdominal pain after eating and pronounced nausea. Usually accompanying symptoms such as headache and body aches, fever and vomiting can be observed.

Read more on the subject at: Upper abdominal pain and nausea.


In order to find the correct diagnosis for upper abdominal pain after eating, the doctor will first ask the person concerned in detail about the exact symptoms, e.g. when, how and where they occur. In addition, regular medication and previous illnesses are asked about. In addition, a physical examination is carried out, especially the abdomen of the person affected is palpated and checked for tenderness. Further diagnostics may be necessary depending on the cause of the symptoms. For example, an ultrasound examination (Sonography), an X-ray, CT or MRI image, and a gastroscopy. In the case of a gastroscopy, video optics (endoscope), i.e. a tube with a camera, inserted through the mouth into the stomach. This allows the lining of the stomach and esophagus to be assessed and a sample of abnormal areas of the mucous membrane (biopsy) for further investigation in the laboratory.

Read more about this under: MRI of the abdomen and Sone abdomen

Localization of the upper abdominal pain

The exact description of the point where the pain is felt particularly strongly often gives an indication of the possible cause of the discomfort.

Sometimes the origin of the pain cannot be precisely determined. If the abdominal pain is strongest in the middle, this can be an indication of an inflammation of the stomach lining.

If the upper abdominal pain is located on the right after eating, diseases of the liver or gall bladder are possible. For example, inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) or biliary colic caused by gallstones may be behind the symptoms. The typical sharp pain in an inflamed appendix can also be perceived as pain in the right upper abdomen after eating. The appendix sits in the right lower abdomen, but the pain of appendicitis can also be felt in the upper abdomen.

If the pain is felt more in the left upper abdomen after eating, it is often caused by diseases of the spleen. For example, an infection or an abscess in the spleen can cause severe pain or cramps in the left upper abdomen, which can spread to the left shoulder.

Diseases of the left kidney, the pancreas or the stomach can also be noticed on the left side of the upper abdomen. Diseases of these organs can also lead to pain in the left back area.

In the case of pain after eating, which is mainly felt in the middle, in most cases a disease of the stomach can be assumed. With heartburn (Reflux), for example, acidic gastric juice runs back into the esophagus, causing pain in the center of the chest area. Diseases such as irritable stomach syndrome or inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis) responsible for pain in the middle of the upper abdomen after eating.

Read more on the topic: Upper abdominal pain on the left, upper abdominal pain on the right and Upper abdominal pain in the middle

Relief of upper abdominal pain

In the case of upper abdominal pain, the doctor often asks whether the pain improves or worsens after eating. This information narrows down the clinical pictures that can be considered as possible diagnoses. Upper abdominal pain that improves after eating is typical of what is known as a duodenal ulcer. A duodenal ulcer is a tissue defect in the muscle layer of the duodenum. In contrast to a stomach ulcer, the pain is relieved by ingesting food. Upper abdominal pain associated with other conditions, such as inflammation of the gallbladder (Cholecystitis) or an inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) do not improve through food intake, but can even be worsened.


Therapy for upper abdominal pain after eating depends on its cause.

How are the complaints getting better? The treatment of upper abdominal pain after eating depends on the cause of the symptoms. Basically, you should aim for a healthy and balanced diet and a regular digestion.
In the case of food intolerance or allergy, the food that causes the complaint should be avoided.
In the case of a gastrointestinal infection, a lot of fluids should be consumed; antibiotics may be used.
Inflammation of the gastric mucosa is usually treated with gastric protective agents (e.g. pantoprazole). In some cases the gastric mucosal inflammation is caused by bacteria, then antibiotic therapy is also used here.

Home remedies for upper abdominal pain after eating

There are a multitude of measures and home remedies with which one can alleviate the discomfort after a meal without much effort in many cases. For example, drinking certain herbal teas after eating can calm the stomach and stimulate digestion. Chamomile, fennel, ginger, caraway and anise are particularly helpful.
Regular meals should be ensured. Snacks between meals should be avoided if you have upper abdominal complaints, instead you should eat moderately at fixed times.
Sweets, alcohol and nicotine should be avoided and lukewarm, still water should be consumed instead.
After a meal, a pinch of baking soda can be dissolved in water to drink; this neutralizes the acidic stomach acid and can alleviate the symptoms. Certain bitter substances help digestion and calm the stomach. These include, for example, artichoke or cabbage juice.

Read more on the topic: Home remedies for abdominal pain


When does the upper abdominal pain go away? The duration of upper abdominal pain after eating and the prognosis for how long it will occur depends on the specific cause of the discomfort. With a harmless cause like unbalanced diet or too fast food the upper abdominal pain usually improves on its own after a short time. Even with one Food intolerance or allergy If you avoid the triggering foods, the symptoms should improve.
A Inflammation of the stomach lining becomes common by abstaining from alcohol and nicotine as well as drug treatment after a few days to weeks heal. However, the inflammation can return.
An acute one Gastrointestinal infection is given with the appropriate treatment about a week last.
For more serious causes of upper abdominal pain after eating, the healing process and prognosis depend on the type and extent of the disease.


Upper abdominal pain after eating may be caused by the Avoiding certain foods be prevented. Especially foods that have a flatulence effect or contain a lot of acid often lead to upper abdominal pain after eating.
Food like among others Cabbage, bulbs, sweets and pork meat often cause discomfort in sensitive stomachs. But also Drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol should be avoided. The Smoke from cigarettes also very often leads to upper abdominal pain after eating, which is why nicotine consumption should be avoided if possible.
There should also be enough time to eat. Distractions while eating (e.g. television or radio) as well as stress and time pressure also lead to increased discomfort in the upper abdomen.
The regular use of medication may also lead to upper abdominal pain, which is why it should be clarified whether an additional intake of Gastric protection drugs or switching to a better tolerated drug is possible and useful.

Upper abdominal pain after eating and pregnancy

In the pregnancy Upper abdominal pain is a common symptom. A previously unknown pregnancy can be caused by pulling or slight pain in the abdomen noticeable, but also slight nausea is one of the typical signs of the beginning of pregnancy.
However, these symptoms are usually not only observed after eating. And it can also be done in advanced pregnancy regardless of food intake experience upper abdominal pain. These are mostly caused by the growing child, which takes up more and more space in the womb and thus exerts pressure on the organs.
As a result, it can too stomach pain come, in some cases comes too heartburn (Reflux), as the acidic gastric juice enters the esophagus flows back, which can cause an uncomfortable burning pain in the upper abdomen.
But also harmless ones Uterine contractions or premature labor can possibly lead to upper abdominal pain during pregnancy.

Upper abdominal pain during pregnancy is therefore normal and usually harmless. However, if the pain occurs after every meal, a doctor should be consulted in order to rule out a cause other than the growing child for the symptoms.