What Causes Digestive Problems In Teens
Stress and anxiety
Just like in adults, emotional turmoil in teens can manifest as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. It can also make an existing gastrointestinal disorder worse. The sensory nerves in the gastrointestinal system are connected to sensory nerves in the brain. When things arent going right mentally, that can manifest physically.
Teens are under a lot of stress these days from school, friends, class schedules, and safety concerns. A 2018 survey by the American Psychology Associations found that over half of teens today are anxious about the possibility of a mass shooting at their school, and one in five worry about it often or constantly.
Social media can also be a major contributor to stress and anxiety. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 95% of teens 13 to 17 in the U.S. have their own smartphone or access to one, and 45% say they’re on devices almost constantly. Gone are the days when kids could escape social stress and anxiety when they left school. Now it follows them everywhere.
Acute and chronic GI conditions
Teens are also susceptible to many of the same physical conditions that affect adults. Following are some of the more common GI concerns in teens.
Food allergies or intolerance: Parents often think of food allergies in relation to respiratory or skin-related symptoms. However, some food allergy reactions manifest as GI pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and other concerning symptoms.
What Is Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, affects your stomach. Located in the upper portion of your abdomen , your stomach digests the food you eat. Stomach cancer happens when theres abnormal cell growth in your stomach.
Over the last 10 years, doctors have seen a decline in stomach cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, stomach cancer accounts for about 1.5% of all new cancers diagnosed in the United States each year.
The main reason for the decrease in cases is likely that infections from Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria known more commonly as H. pylori, are being diagnosed earlier than they used to be. H. pylori is believed to be one of the major causes of stomach cancer because it can cause chronic inflammation in your stomach lining, as well as ulcers.
Now that were making the diagnosis of H. pylori earlier when patients get symptoms, theyre treated with antibiotics, the infection is eradicated and the overall risk of stomach cancer is decreased, Dr. Joyce explains.
But she warns that a particular type of stomach cancer called gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma is on the rise. This cancer starts in your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach.
Theres a problem with obesity in the U.S., says Dr. Joyce. That causes more acid reflux in the esophagus, which leads to a condition called Barretts esophagus, and that can ultimately lead to cancer.
Can Peptic Ulcer Disease Be Prevented Or Avoided
Stress and spicy foods dont cause ulcers. However, they can make them worse. Smoking and alcohol can cause a peptic ulcer. Men should limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks per day. Women should have no more than 1 drink per day. Talk to your doctor if you take aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen regularly.
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Hormone And Mineral Imbalances
Sometimes, nausea and fatigue can be a sign that certain hormones or minerals in your body are higher or lower than they should be. Examples of these imbalances include:
Why Do You Experience Fatigue After Eating
Eating is supposed to boost your energy right? Feeling sleepy after having a meal can be normal, especially if it was a heavy meal. But are you among those who frequently experience fatigue after eating? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. We see countless people in our nutritional coaching program with this problem. People often resort to coffee and energy drinks thinking that they might help. But all they get is a temporary relief, and the problem soon returns. In such cases, understanding the root cause of the problem is important for effectively dealing with what is going on.
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Abdominal Pain And Cramps
Abdominal pain is felt around the trunk of the body, or the area below your ribs but above your pelvis.
In cases of food poisoning, harmful organisms can produce toxins that irritate the lining of your stomach and intestines. This can result in painful inflammation in your stomach, which may cause pain in your abdomen.
People with food poisoning may also experience cramps, as the abdominal muscles contract to speed up the natural movements of your bowel to get rid of the harmful organisms as quickly as possible.
Nevertheless, abdominal pain and cramps are common and can occur for a number of reasons. Because of this, these symptoms alone may not be a sign of food poisoning .
Furthermore, not all cases of food poisoning will result in abdominal pain or cramps.
Summary: Abdominal pain and cramps can occur when the lining of your stomach and intestines becomes inflamed. You may also experience cramps as your body tries to get rid of the harmful organisms as quickly as possible.
Food Sensitivity & Intolerance
The most common cause of symptoms like nausea, racing heartbeat and fatigue is a food intolerance.
Food allergies are generally more serious and can cause symptoms like a numb mouth, severe stomach cramping, swollen tongue or feelings of breathlessness.
Food intolerances are more common than food allergies and are largely under diagnosed. Usually, the symptoms seem subtle because people have had a low level of inflammation almost constantly for months or years.
Low-grade inflammation caused by food intolerances can lead to symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, weight gain and migraines.
Read more about Food Sensitivities & Intolerances
You can do an elimination test and keep a food journal to better isolate the food that you are reacting to.
Often, however, my patients have many underlying sensitivities due to toxin exposure, poor digestion or an autoimmune disease.
In this case, I would order testing so we can quickly isolate the offending foods, remove them from the diet and heal the patient’s digestive tract.
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When Stomach Pain Is An Emergency
Stomach pain can sometimes be caused by a life-threatening condition. Some examples are:
- Bowel obstruction, which is when food or waste blocks the intestine
- Bowel perforation, which is a hole in the intestine that leaks food material
These emergencies usually cause pain that feels extreme. Your stomach pain may be urgent if:
- You are pregnant
- Your pain started within a week of abdominal surgery
- Your pain started after a procedure in your stomach area, such as an endoscopy
- You have ever had surgery on your digestive tract, such as gastric bypass, a colostomy, or a bowel resection
- Your pain started shortly after an abdominal trauma
- Your abdomen is bruised or rapidly expanding
Even if you don’t have these symptoms, get help if you feel unusually severe pain.
Sometimes stomach pain is mild at first but gets worse after a few hours. You may also develop other symptoms. Get help right away if you have any of these symptoms along with stomach pain:
- Extremely hard abdomen
- Inability to have a bowel movement, along with vomiting
- Pain in neck, shoulder, or between shoulder blades
- Vision changes
If you have these symptoms, call for an ambulance or have someone drive you to the emergency room. You should not “wait and see” or take medicine for the pain. Get help right away.
Causes Of Chronic Pancreatitis
The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over many years.
This can cause repeated episodes of acute pancreatitis, which results in increasing damage to the organ.
In children the most common cause is cystic fibrosis.
Less common causes include:
In some cases, no cause can be identified. This is called idiopathic chronic pancreatitis.
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What Causes Mild To Moderate Abdominal Pain
Most Australians will experience mild or moderate abdominal pain from time to time. Often these episodes last only a few hours or days. They may clear up without the need for treatment. However, you may be more comfortable managing the symptoms with medicines from your pharmacy or doctor.
Some of the causes of short-term abdominal pain are:
Tips To Prevent Stomach Pain After Eating
- Keep a food journal to identify what may irritate your stomach.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Adhere to a regular eating schedule every day.
- Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime.
- Take small bites of food.
- Eat slowly.
- Limit or avoid foods that are spicy, fried, and have high-fat content.
- Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks.
- Remain in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after eating.
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Chest Pain Under Strain Get It Checked Out
In older white males, we know chest pain may be a sign of heart attack. But we havent gotten that same sort of education with women, Baechler says. Women fear breast cancer more than heart disease, but they are more likely to have heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the No.1 killer of women in America today, causing more deaths than all types of cancer combined.
If you lift something and have chest pain that youve never had before, get it checked out. You should also see your doctor about any new chest pain when you walk upstairs or exert yourself in some way. This is particularly important if the pain goes away after a short period of rest. Women are more likely than men to have atypical symptoms of a heart attack: shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue, a cold sweat, or pain in the arms, back, neck, or stomach, Baechler says. Get these, and any of the more traditional symptoms, checked out.
Stomach Ache After Eating During Pregnancy
Among the numerous minor complications of pregnancy, you may also experience stomach pain after eating. This discomfort may be caused by more than just the type of food you have consumed.
During pregnancy, the digestive process slows down, and there is an increase in the production of stomach acid. This may stimulate gas, bloating, and constipation, all leading to stomach cramping.
Incidences of acid reflux may also occur, causing pain. This happens when the esophageal sphincter loosens, allowing the excess acid to enter the esophagus.
Stomach pain after eating may also be caused by the decreased amount of space in the stomach as the fetus continues to grow.
Each pregnancy is different, and by maintaining a food journal of products that cause pain after eating, you may narrow down the culprit.
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Theyre Vomiting A Lot & Have Stomach Pain
Vomiting is never fun to deal with, but it happens. Some kids tend to vomit a lot more than others, but excessive vomiting when a child keeps vomiting over and over again may be a warning sign, especially if theyre unable to keep any fluids or solids down.
In children, this may quickly lead to dehydration, which is monitored by urine output, or how much a child urinates during the day, explains Owusu-Ansah. If the amount significantly decreases, that can be an early sign of dehydration.
Stomach Pain Was Ruining Her Life Then A Scan Provided A Life
After spending six years battling worsening pain, Olivia I. Bland stopped telling people why she had taken a sick day at work or missed an exercise class or bailed at the last minute on dinner with friends.
I was too embarrassed and tired of telling people I felt like crap, said the Albuquerque accountant, now 37. Between 2012 and 2018, she consulted her own doctors and made eight trips to an urgent care center or emergency room for severe abdominal pain. Bland was also suffering from a low-grade fever that descended late in the afternoon, along with crushing fatigue. I could chug two cups of coffee at 9:30 p.m. and be sound asleep by 10, she recalled, only to wake up 10 hours later still exhausted.
Her internist had advised her to eat better. After a rheumatologist found nothing wrong, he told her he didnt want to see her again.
But in July 2018, a radiologist reviewing Blands latest CT scan spotted two problems that had apparently gone unrecognized. Her rocky road to effective treatment would consume another year.
“I think about my pain every morning when I wake up,” Bland said recently, sounding surprised by its absence. “I can’t even put into words how different it is.”
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What Causes Abdominal Pain And Loss Of Appetite
Your abdomen houses many organs, including your stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, and appendix. Abdominal pain may be related to problems with one or more of these organs. Sometimes abdominal pain and loss of appetite have mental causes, rather than physical ones. For example, stress, anxiety, grief, or depression can potentially cause these symptoms.
Heres How The Digestive System Works
Or how digestion should work when everything goes according to plan.
Your body employs multiple organs to turn the food you eat into energy. When everything is going well, you should barely notice this process, which is good because it can actually take a pretty long time. The Mayo Clinic estimates that it takes two to five days for a mouthful of food to go through all the various digestive processes and come out the other end looking unrecognizable.
First, though, this all starts with one bite. Between the chewing action of your mouth and the enzymes and lubrication from your saliva, you start to break down what youre eating, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains. Once the bite is small enough to swallow, your tongue pushes it to the back of your throat into your esophagus, which begins to contract automatically in a motion called peristalsis.
The first organ the newly chewed food encounters after this is the stomach. Muscles in your stomach walls churn the food and release acid and enzymes, slowly mixing the food into a paste called chyme. Your stomach gradually releases the chyme into the small intestine, which reduces it further by mixing it with enzymes from the pancreas and from bacteria, along with bile from the liver, all while pushing the chyme further through the digestive tract. The walls of the small intestine absorb the extracted nutrients and water, which move into your bloodstream.
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Fizzy Drinks Expand Your Waistline
If you experience stomach bloating after eating very little, maybe its what you drink rather than what you eat. Fizzy or carbonated drinks cause carbon dioxide to build up in the body, inflating your stomach, resulting in gas immediately after eating.
The best drink to combat this is water. Just still water, not sparkling though. If, like many others, youre not keen on the taste, try adding a little flavour like a slice of lemon or lime. These not only enhance the flavour of water, but wont expand your tummy either.
When Should You See A Doctor
Is stomach pain after eating a regular occurrence for you?
It may be time to visit a medical professional, naturopathic doctor, or holistic nutritionist. A stomachache after eating should go away after a few hours, but if your pain has lasted for more than a week or if a stomachache occurs after every meal, speak with your doctor.
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Drink Plenty Of Fluids And Rest
With stomach pains after eating resulting from food poisoning, rest and drinking plenty of fluids are key treatments. This allows the body to flush out the toxins that have gathered in the gut.
Maintaining hydration with water is important at any time, but it is recommended to wait at least an hour before drinking water after meals if too much food has been consumed in one sitting.
What Are Nausea And Fatigue
Do you feel nauseous and tired all the time, but dont know why? Nausea is an uneasy feeling in your stomach, like you want to be sick . And fatigue is when you feel really tired and lack the energy you need to do normal activities.
Feeling sick and tired often happen separately, but sometimes both can strike at the same time. This can be due to a number of things, including your diet and lifestyle, emotional and mental factors or a medical condition.
Many causes of nausea and fatigue are treatable, and the symptoms get better once youve addressed the cause. But sometimes, having nausea and fatigue at the same time can be a sign of a more serious condition that needs medical attention.
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The Stomach Pain Is In Their Lower Right Side
Its important to find out where the pain is coming from, as pain in certain spots can be a sign of a more serious problem. Dr. Sylvia Owusu-Ansah, associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of UPMC Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, tells Romper that if the pain is in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, especially if its tender to the touch, you should be on the alert. That may signify something such as appendicitis, or in females, ovarian torsion, where the ovary rotates on itself and cuts off the blood supply, she says.