Abdominal pain and its relationship with food: what are the causes?Is it more common in young people?

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One in 10 people suffers habitual abdominal pain related to meals, according to a recent investigation presented at the United Gastroenterology (UEG) Virtual 2021 based on the study of global epidemiology of the Rome Foundation.

In this sense, about 11% of the entire world population experiences this sensation, which most affects women, according to the survey conducted to more than 50.000 people in 26 different countries.

The results reveal that 13% of women suffer from this type of pain after eating compared to 9% of men.Abdominal pain can be mild or strong, continuous or intermittent, acute or chronic and can be accompanied by other gastrointestinal symptoms such as: swelling, feeling of fullness after eating, constipation or diarrhea.

Anxiety or depression: thus affects the psychological level

These were the clinical manifestations experienced by research participants, without forgetting the emotional and psychological discomfort that can cause a gastrointestinal disorder.In fact, 36% of the people surveyed suffering from this pain also suffered episodes of anxiety and those with more frequent attacks also had higher rates of depression (35%).

In most cases it is not due to a serious health problem and some of the most frequent causes are abdominal gases, indigestion or muscle distension, explain the specialists of the Mayo Clinic.However, if the pain is accompanied by more serious symptoms such as fever, blood in the stool, sudden loss of weight or persistent vomiting is necessary to go to health professionals to determine the origin.

More frequent in young people aged 18 to 28

The investigation has revealed that the pain associated with food tends to be more common in young people from 18 to 28 years of age, by supposing 15% of the people surveyed.

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In this way, the results reveal that "the people who experience this pain also often experience other gastrointestinal symptoms," he emphasizes in a statement issued by UEG one of the authors of the study and joint doctorate researcher at Ku Leuven, Belgium and theGototemburg University, Esther Colomier.

Thus, these people have "a greater burden of psychological and somatic symptoms, such as back pain or difficulty breathing, which are associated with great anguish and functioning problems in daily life," adds the expert.

What are the most frequent symptoms?

Regarding gastrointestinal symptoms, 30% of the people surveyed say they suffer constipation and diarrhea after meals, compared to 20% suffering from these symptoms occasionally and 10% without symptomatology.The group of people with frequent pain also claimed to have abdominal distension until once a week.

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"Many patients with disorders of intestine-cerebro interactions (DGBI), such as irritable intestine syndrome and functional dyspepsia, attribute their symptoms to food and food," says Professor Ami Sperber, principal author of the study of global epidemiologyof functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) of 2021.

One of the most frequent complaints in people with these conditions is "pain after meals," he adds.However, there are no substantial data on this phenomenon, "despite its potential importance for patient care and the study of the pathophysiology of these disorders".

For this reason, "the consideration of symptoms related to meals in future diagnostic criteria should be encouraged," says Esther Colomier.In addition, the treatment and evaluate "the association of meals in all patients" should be individualized so that they can benefit from a multidisciplinary approach that includes "dietary advice, lifestyle, psychological support and pharmacological therapy," he concludes, concludes.

How to know if we suffer from functional dyspepsia?

Functional dyspepsia refers to recurring symptoms of indigestion "that do not have an obvious cause".Its clinical manifestation is accompanied by abdominal distension, nausea, scholarship, ardor in the stomach or satiety after eating.

But the obstacle of this condition is that a specific cause is not known and professionals "consider it a functional disorder, which means that the tests may not show anomalies," they emphasize at the Mayo Clinic.There are factors that can increase the risk of functional dyspepsia, such as the following:

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

On the other hand, irritable intestine syndrome (SII) is a "chronic and benign digestive functional disorder" whose most characteristic signs are "swelling, abdominal pain and alterations in the depositive habit that can vary from constipation, diarrhea or both," they detailIn the Spanish Foundation of the Digestive System (Fead).

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It is a very common condition among the population, as it affects 10-15% and represents 25% of the consultations in digestive system.Although this syndrome "does not predisposes or behaves a greater probability of cancer or inflammatory intestinal disease".However, it does have a relevant impact on the quality of life of patients.

Today the exact cause caused by this syndrome is unknown, although there are theories that suggest that it is motivated by "anomalous contractions of the colon and the small intestine" or having suffered a severe gastrointestinal infection.

Likewise, "people who visit the doctor for this reason are more likely to suffer anxiety and stress", disorders that affect the intestine and worsen the symptoms."It is important to highlight that they can modulate the perception of symptoms, but they do not seem to be the cause of this pathology," they add.

Currently, there is no curative treatment for this pathology being a functional and chronic process.The approach is based on alleviating the associated symptoms by combining good hygienic-dietary habits with a pharmacological treatment directed by health professionals.

Abdominal pain and its relationship with food: what are the causes?Is it more common in young people?
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