ZocdocAnswersWhy do I get a burning gnawing feeling in my stomach after eating?

Question

Why do I get a burning gnawing feeling in my stomach after eating?

Last month I ended up with extreme double me over pain in my right flank and side.They suspected kidney stones so I had a ct scan done and nothing found. Since then i have had it happen, usually about 30 min. To an hour after supper. Sometimes it gets so painful and uncomfortable but not to the extent of going to er. I will ocasionally get pain in my upper back as well around the bottom of my shoulder blades. I did go to dr and she seems to think its acid reflux. I do not have burning in my esophagus or chest. I dont have burning or pain inbetween meals and for the most part it just happens after my supper meals. On occasions I have had mild sharper pains just below my right breastbone but my biggest concerns is the burning. I also wanted to add that when I went to the doctor I had some blood in my urine but she did not seem to concerned with it. She said we would check it again in Nov.

Answer

Your symptoms of pain and burning could be due to a few different underlying problems and it is important to discuss your concern with your doctor. Pain in the right abdomen that classically occurs after large meals could be due to a problem related to the gallbladder. The gallbladder sits next to the liver in the right upper abdomen. Many people have small stones made of cholesterol and bile salts that form within the gallbladder, but only a few people with stones become symptomatic from them. Occasionally, small stones will transiently get stuck in the small duct that leads out of the gallbladder, causing significant pain that can sometimes radiate to the right shoulder. Often times, large fatty meals are the stimulus that contracts the gallbladder and leads to these stones getting stuck. Pain that develops after eating could also signify a problem within the gastrointestinal tract. This could represent acid reflux, as suggested by your doctor. In acid reflux, the acid that is produced in the stomach may travel back up into the lower esophagus and cause irritation of the lining. This can be very painful, and tends to be triggered by the ingestion of spicy foods, alcohol, and acidic foods. Pain after eating could also signify the presence of an underlying ulcer in the stomach or small intestine. The majority of ulcers develop due to the ingestion of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Aleve, Motrin, Ibuprofen) or the presence of a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori. You should talk with your doctor about these possibilities (and other causes of your symptoms) as you are still suffering from pain that is not fully resolved. Further work-up can be done with an ultrasound of the gallbladder or trial of antacid medication in the case of reflux disease. If there is suspicion of an ulcer, referral to a gastroenterologist can be made.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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