Many people have stomach problems now and then and then go away in a few hours. Many of us find minor stomach aches easy to ignore. We usually associate the pains to over eating, stress or hunger. For some people though, ignoring the pain is not so easy. It can be very uncomfortable and for some, over the counter medications give just a few hours relief. Some common symptoms of gastric problems include voluntarily or involuntarily passing gas (burping or farting), sharp jabbing cramps in the abdomen and bloating. In some cases, the pain is so intense it can be mistaken for appendicitis, gall stones and heart attack.
We are often encouraged to eat foods high in fiber to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. While these benefits are supported by concrete evidence, high fiber foods are also usually the cause of stomach aches. This happens when bacteria in the colon ferment carbohydrates and is not digested in the small intestine. The fermentation process contributes to the buildup of gas which in turn causes stomach aches. The best offenders are:
* Fruits and vegetables
* Whole grains
* Beans and peas
Fiber supplements can also aggravate pain. It is best to add this to the diet slowly so as not to contribute to the over production of gas. Carbonated beverages like soda can also cause gastric pain. Other causes include swallowed air, other health problems, food intolerance, constipation and artificial additives.
People who are lactose or gluten intolerant, drink lots of carbonated beverages, eat lots of fruits and vegetables or have chronic intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are more at risk of having gastric problems.
One way to alleviate the uncomfortable sensation of a stomach ache is to make lifestyle changes. These small adjustments can help produce less gas and stomach pains.
* Many of the foods that cause gas should be part of the daily diet. Eating smaller portions will result in the production of less gas in the colon.
* Do not chew gum, sip through a straw or eat hard candy. These activities can cause you to swallow more air.
* Exercise to move air swiftly through the body.
* Eat and chew food slowly. This will help break down food and cause you to swallow less air.
* Check your dentures. Ill-fitting dentures can cause you to swallow more air when chewing.
* Cigarette smoking can cause you to swallow air so do not smoke.
When To See A Doctor
The average person produces up to 3 pints of intestinal gas every 24 hours. It is also normal for people to pass gas as flatus up to 14 times a day. It is time to seek treatment when you experience prolonged medical pain, have bloody stools, experience drastic weight loss, chest pain, recurring nausea and vomiting. Stomach aches can interfere with everyday life. Seeking treatment and help can help reduce symptoms and alleviate pain.
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