Mild to moderate stomach pain is quite common and rarely very serious, but that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable! If you experience any of these tummy troubles on a regular basis, it may be due to one of these common concerns. In this case, you should start by seeing a health professional to get a proper diagnosis and then start making some adjustments to your diet to improve your digestive health.
Persistent cramping and bloating in your lower abdomen may be an indicator of IBS. This is a long term condition that can also cause issues such as diarrhea and constipation. You can alleviate specific symptoms of IBS such as bloating by adding digestive enzymes to your diet to assist with the breakdown of food.
Most instances of IBS can be managed by following a low FODMAP diet and by keeping your stress levels under control. Learn more about the FODMAP diet and how to manage your IBS in our post FODMAP for Newbies: A Beginner’s Guide to treating your IBS.
2. Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is more common than you think. According to the US National Library of Medicine, about 65% of people worldwide have a reduced ability to digest lactose after birth. This intolerance can cause mild to severe pain and symptoms such as bloating, gas, indigestion, and diarrhea.
Depending on the severity, many people will eliminate dairy from their diets completely – but this isn’t always essential. You may need to cut dairy out of your diet for a few weeks to see if it has any effect on your symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you have to give it up for good.
Researchers believe that consuming small amounts of dairy on a regular basis may “retrain” your digestive system to start breaking down lactose. When you start re-introducing lactose to your diet you should start with dairy products such as hard cheese and yogurt. Yogurt contains its own enzymes that will help you to digest the lactose, and hard cheese is already really low in lactose to begin with.
Heartburn is a hugely uncomfortable burning sensation that is often symptomatic of GERD (acid reflux), especially if it begins after a large spicy or fatty meal. Acid reflux occurs when your sphincter muscle is weakened and allows partially digested foods and liquid to go back up your esophagus into your throat. These foods and liquids are very acidic and this leads to the bitter taste many people get in their mouths if they suffer from GERD. Other symptoms of GERD include a chronic cough and a sore throat. You can learn more about this in our post 8 Signs You’re Suffering From Acid Reflux and What to Do About It.
4. Gluten Intolerance
“Gluten-free” products are in high demand these days as gluten sensitivity is a very real issue for many people. In its most severe form, gluten intolerance is known as Celiac Disease and in this instance the gluten you digest causes damage to your small intestine, limiting your ability to absorb essential nutrients.
However, you don’t have to have Celiac Disease to react badly to gluten. Gluten sensitivity alone can cause symptoms such as gas, weight loss, bloating, and fatigue. If your stomachache starts after you’ve had a bowl of pasta, it might be time to get tested for gluten intolerance.
Stress can have a massive impact on your digestive health and cause all kinds of stomach upset, from general nausea to pain and bloating. In fact, your mood is highly linked to your gut health and IBS (referenced earlier in the article).
A stomachache that’s a result of stress will eventually go away once you get your mood under control. But if you suffer from more serious issues such as anxiety or depression, you may need to consult with your doctor. Talking to a professional will ensure you receive the appropriate treatment options to help you to look after both your mental and physical health in the long-term.
Improve Your Digestion Today
Remember, you don’t have to take a passive role in your health, nor do you have to suffer needlessly from digestive discomfort. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, improving your digestive functioning will definitely help you to deal with the symptoms from the start.
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