Empty stomach pain.

  • 2
I’m a 80 yr old male   Not over weight

Veggietarian    But been off sugar and wheat for a week.  Exercise every day  

Low amount of food in stomach causes

Heavy pain in abdomen under both rib cages. A lot of gas and bloating at this time

Which is there when food is present also.

2 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
You may need to get a gastroscopy to see if there is any thing wrong with your stomach. Given your age, it is especially important to rule out any bad things of the stomach, such as stomach cancer. It is reassuring to get a gastroscopy

10 causes of abdominal pain that gets worse after eating

Postprandial pain occurs when there is either inflammation/irritation of the structures of the digestive tract or obstruction of these components. You experience pain after you eat because your body is attempting to digest food normally, but is having to do so within the context of injury.

Inflammatory causes

Any of the organs of the abdomen can become inflamed due to infectious causes or irritation from a variety of substances, including certain foods.

  • Infectious: There are many pathogens, both bacterial and viral, that can infect the organs of the abdomen, particularly in the upper right quadrant. For example, hepatitis is a viral infection that can infect the liver.
  • Irritation: Since the upper abdomen is the primary location for food to be processed for digestion, it is susceptible to irritation in multiple ways. Toxic substances such as alcohol and smoking can cause irritation that leads to inflammation and ulceration. Certain medications such as non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lead to irritation of the stomach lining with overuse. Moreover, the acid that the stomach makes to digest food can irritate the components of the digestive tract, including the esophagus, and this can also cause postprandial pain.

Obstructive causes

The following can result in obstructions of the gastrointestinal system.

  • Cancer: Cancer can develop in any organ of the abdomen/digestive tract. Malignancies of the pancreas or stomach are often related to postprandial pain given their necessity to proper digestion.
  • Gallstones: The upper right quadrant of the abdomen is specifically home to the gallbladder. The gallbladder is part of the digestive system and responsible for making bile, a fluid that helps break down fat. Often, stones (gallstones) can form inside the gallbladder. These gallstones can vary in size and cause many problems that may result in postprandial pain when the body tries to break down fats.

Stomach ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum), which causes pain following meals or on an empty stomach.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, moderate abdominal pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)

Symptoms that never occur with stomach ulcer: pain in the lower left abdomen

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acid reflux disease (gerd)

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) in infants refers to the passage of stomach contents into the throat causing troublesome symptoms, such as feeding intolerance, inadequate oral intake of calories and/or poor weight gain. Vomiting or visible regurgitation ...

Indigestion (dyspepsia)

Indigestion, also called upset stomach, dyspepsia, or functional dyspepsia, is not a disease but a collection of very common symptoms. Note: Heartburn is a separate condition.

Common causes are eating too much or too rapidly; greasy or spicy foods; overdoing caffeine, alcohol, or carbonated beverages; smoking; and anxiety. Some antibiotics, pain relievers, and vitamin/mineral supplements can cause indigestion.

The most common symptoms are pain, discomfort, and bloating in the upper abdomen soon after eating.

Indigestion that lasts longer than two weeks, and does not respond to simple treatment, may indicate a more serious condition. Upper abdominal pain that radiates to the jaw, neck, or arm is a medical emergency.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination. If the symptoms began suddenly, laboratory tests on blood, breath, and stool may be ordered. Upper endoscopy or abdominal x-ray may be done.

For functional dyspepsia – "ordinary" indigestion – treatment and prevention are the same. Eating five or six smaller meals per day with lighter, simpler food; managing stress; and finding alternatives for some medications will provide relief.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: nausea, stomach bloating, dyspeptic symptoms, bloating after meals, vomiting

Symptoms that always occur with indigestion (dyspepsia): dyspeptic symptoms

Symptoms that never occur with indigestion (dyspepsia): vomiting (old) blood or passing tarry stools, rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, fever

Urgency: Self-treatment

Irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder of the large intestine. It is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and bowel movement issues that can be difficult to treat. Signs and symptoms of IBS are usually not severe or life-threateni...

Gallstones

Gallstones are small, round deposits found in the gallbladder, the organ where bile is stored. Gallstones can be subclassified a number of ways. Oftentimes, gallstones will be referred to as either cholesterol stones or pigment stones depending on the makeup of the gallstone.

Gallstones can also be class...

Colon damage from impaired blood flow

Acute intestinal ischemia means that the blood flow to the large and/or small intestines has been cut off. It is also called acute mesenteric ischemia, or AMI.

The ischemia is caused by blockage in one of the arteries leading into the abdomen, usually due to atherosclerosis (plaque) or a blood clot.

Most susceptible are those with very high or low blood pressure; heart disease; or using illegal drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine.

Symptoms include sudden, severe pain in one area of the abdomen; nausea and vomiting; and repeated, urgent bowel movements, often with blood.

Acute intestinal ischemia is a life-threatening medical emergency. If it is suspected, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through arteriogram, which involves injecting dye into the abdominal arteries under x-ray in order to find the exact location of the blockage.

Treatment involves "clot-busting" drugs to destroy a clot, or emergency surgery to remove whatever is causing the blockage and possibly some of the damaged intestine as well.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, being severely ill

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis is the common condition of small, sac-like pouches forming and pushing outward along the inside of the colon, called diverticula. With diverticulosis, there may be changes in bowel movement patterns as well as severe abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or rectal bl...

Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that does not improve, but slowly gets worse over time.

Causes include alcoholism; a blocked pancreatic duct; autoimmune disease, where the body's natural defenses turn against itself; and possible genetic factors.

Chronic pancreatitis is most common in men from age 30 to 40 with a history of alcoholism and a family history of the disease, but anyone can be affected.

Symptoms include severe pain in the back and abdomen, especially with eating; weight loss; nausea and vomiting; and diarrhea with oily-appearing, pale-colored stools.

The pancreas is vital for blood sugar control and for secreting certain digestive enzymes. If not treated, chronic pancreatitis can lead to permanent pancreatic damage, diabetes, malnutrition, and chronic pain.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound.

Treatment involves pain management through both medication and surgical procedures. Lifestyle improvements through diet, exercise, and stress management can also be very helpful.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain that comes and goes

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy, coeliac, or sprue. It is an autoimmune response in the gut to gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley.

  • Repeated exposure to gluten causes damage to the lining of the small intestine.

Most at risk are Caucasians with:

  • Family history of celiac disease.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease.

Symptoms include digestive upset with gas, bloating, and diarrhea. The malnutrition causes fatigue, weight loss, fragile bones, severe skin rash, mouth ulcers, anemia, and damage to the spleen and nervous system.

A swollen belly, failure to thrive, muscle wasting, and learning disabilities are seen in children, and normal growth and development can be severely affected.

Diagnosis is made through blood testing and endoscopy, and sometimes biopsy of the small intestine.

There is no cure for the condition, but celiac disease can be managed by removing all gluten from the diet. Nutritional supplements will be used and sometimes steroid medication is given to help heal the gut.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, stomach bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is a sugar that naturally occurs in milk. Someone is considered "lactose intolerant" when the small intestine cannot produce enough of the enzyme that digests lactose called lactase.

In primary lactose intolerance, the enzyme is produced during childhood but declines sub...

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Treatments and relief

Treatment for your postprandial pain will be dependent on the cause. There are multiple treatment modalities that may provide relief.

At-home treatments

Fortunately, since most causes of postprandial pain are relatively benign, there are treatments you can first try at home to help alleviate your symptoms. Antacids are common over-the-counter medications (Tums, Pepto-Bismol, etc.) that can be very helpful in relieving some causes of postprandial pain because they work to neutralize excess stomach acid. However, antacids will not help with inflammatory or obstructive causes of postprandial pain.

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