Stomachache After Ingesting Meat: Why and How to Help

In normal circumstances, you should not feel sick by eating something. If you get stomachache after eating meat, then it could be due to simple causes such as indigestion from excessive protein or fat or due to more serious causes such as food poisoning or an allergy. If stomach pain is a chronic issue, consult your physician.

Why Do You Have Stomach Pain After Eating Meat?

1. Fat and Protein

Though your body can digest fat and protein effectively, on some occasions a stomach upset may result from these nutrients. Foods rich in protein make you feel full for longer time. However, if you have consumed large amounts of meat, it may remain in your stomach for longer time, making you feel uncomfortable and full. Foods high in fats such as fatty steak may also take longer time to digest and cause pain in the abdomen.

2. Allergy to Foods

You may develop allergy to a specific food such as meat any time, even if you have eaten that food all through your life. Symptoms include vomiting or cramps in abdomen and they usually appear within minutes to up to two hours after consuming the food. If you feel that your pain in stomach is due to meat allergy, you should consult a physician to get a diagnosis.

3. Food Poisoning

If the meat you ate was not handled properly or not cooked properly to a specific temperature it can cause food poisoning. Food poisoning occurs in about 50 million people in the USA each year. Different organisms such as E. coli, listeria or Salmonella may contaminate meat that can result in food poisoning. Common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain after eating meat and may remain for a few hours to a few days.

4. Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is different from allergy because in food intolerance the enzymatic tract is damaged. Certain enzymes are released by the small intestines to digest sugars and proteins present in the meat. Meat intolerance occurs when body does not produce sufficient quantity of enzymes for digestion of meat. There is inflammation and swelling of intestines, leading to pain in abdomen, bloating, cramping, vomiting, gas, nausea and diarrhea.

What Can You Do About It?

The management of stomach pain depends upon the cause of the pain.

  • If the pain in stomach is caused as a result of indigestion due to eating large quantities of meat or meats too rich in fat, then you may have to follow portion control or eat meat with a lower fat content.
  • If you have food allergy, you need to eliminate the allergen causing the allergy from your diet to avoid appearance of symptoms further.
  • If stomach pain after eating meat is due to food poisoning, taking proper precautions while preparing meat may prevent recurrence of the infection.
  • Treatment of food intolerance requires medicines or enzyme supplements to prevent adverse symptoms.

Some other practical tips that you can follow to help ease the pain in your stomach after consuming meat are:

  • Massage on the abdomen: Stomach cramps can be eased effectively by abdominal massage. It takes only two minutes to perform and can effectively relieve stomach pain.
  • Hot compresses: Lie flat on your back. Put a towel on your abdomen and place a hot water bottle on it. Your stomach pain can be relieved by the application of this hot compress.

Stomach Pain After Eating, Not Just Meat?

You already know stomach pain after eating meat, but what if the pain is not due to meat? Let’s discuss stomach pain after eating in general.

  • Overeating: Overeating is a common cause of stomach pain. When you overeat, your stomach may take longer time to digest the food. Hence, it’s important to stay in your limit while eating.
  • Spicy or hot foods: A sensitive stomach may be irritated by eating hot or spicy foods, thereby causing pain.
  • Lactose intolerance: In lactose intolerance, the body lacks the enzyme to break down lactose present in dairy products, leading to stomach pain along with gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Celiac disease: Celiac disease is characterized by gluten intolerance; hence, stomach pain occurs after eating something that has gluten.
  • Peptic ulcer: Peptic ulcer develops when the stomach lining is eroded by bacteria. You can take antibiotics to treat the condition.
  • Gallstones: Gallbladder releases bile after eating to help in digestion of food. However, if you have gallstones, they may prevent the release of bile and you can get stomach pain after eating. This pain is located in the right upper abdomen area.
  • Blockage of blood vessels: Cholesterol may block a blood vessel, thereby, interrupting digestion and resulting in pain in stomach after eating. The condition may become life-threatening. Hence, get your cholesterol levels checked regularly and take necessary steps to keep them low.
  • Intestinal obstruction: If there is blockage in any part of your intestine, the passage of food is prevented. This can result in lingering pain after eating that may be present for hours after you have consumed the meal. To avoid complications, it is important that you get an obstruction in the intestines cleared.
  • Appendicitis: Pain in stomach due to appendicitis occurs in the right lower side of abdomen. The pain is aggravated after eating. It may be associated with symptoms of vomiting and mild fever.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome may produce symptoms of pain in stomach after eating: gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
  • Pancreatitis: If pain in stomach happens after consuming a large meal and is present for 6 hours or more, it may be due to pancreatitis. Pain usually starts in the left upper abdomen and may spread to back.
  • Diverticulitis: It involves formation of pouches or cysts along the wall of bowel, which may get infected. Severe cramps in abdomen occur after consuming a meal and immediate medical intervention is required.
  • Stomach flu/Gastroenteritis: It is caused by consuming contaminated beverages or foods.
  • Constipation: You may have pain in stomach after eating if you are constipated.
  • PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease): PID occurs as a result of bacterial infection of the reproductive organs such as uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes. Pain occurs after eating due to pressure put on the inflamed organs by the full stomach.
  • Chronic candida: Chronic candida may also cause abdominal pain. Other symptoms are gas, bloating, chronic fatigue and depression.
  • Heartburn: Also referred to as acid indigestion or acid reflux, heartburn can result in burning pain in chest after eating. The pain may remain for a few minutes to several hours.

When to Visit Your Physician for Pain in Stomach After Eating

Visit your physician if the pain gets progressively worse even after you have stopped consuming food, if you are not able to sit still, if pain is accompanied by symptoms of fever, vomiting and diarrhea or if the color of your stool has changed.

You should also visit your physician if pain in stomach occurs after every meal or if there are symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, dry skin, dizziness and fatigue.