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"Why do I have pain in my upper stomach after I eat?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have pain in my upper stomach after I eat?

Question

I am a 20 year old female. After I eat some greasy foods such as pizza, hamburgers and french fries I get a horrible pain in my right side upper stomach area. It is sometimes a shooting pain but lately it has been a throbbing pain. I have tried to use Tums and even drink milk to dull the pain and fix the problem but nothing has worked. Any suggestions?

Answer

This is a common sign that something wrong is going on in your digestive system. Most of the time, pain on the right side of the stomach area after a greasy meal is a sign of gall bladder stones. In order to digest fats, the gall bladder must release bile into the small intestine. When you eat a fatty meal, the gall bladder must work extra hard at squeezing the bile out. If there is a gall stone in the way, then the gall bladder may contracting against a closed outlet. This causes a cramping pain shortly after a meal that localizes to the right upper abdomen. In severe circumstances, the gall bladder can become inflamed and must be taken out surgically. Another possibility is that you have a stomach or small intestine ulcer which is being aggravated by food. This type of pain is usually described as a burning or gnawing pain. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough abdominal exam. If your doctor thinks that your gall bladder is involved, then you may get some baseline liver function tests. You may warrant a referral to a general surgeon. If you doctor thinks this is an ulcer, then you will get different testing and possible referral to a gastroenterologist.

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