What can cause stomach upset?

Stomach agitation is an uncomfortable feeling in the abdomen that can occur along with nausea and other digestive symptoms. Although stomach rotation is often only temporary, it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition.

1. Indigestion

Indigestion, or dyspepsia, refers to pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen.

Other symptoms of indigestion can include:

  • A burning sensation in the upper abdomen.
  • Getting full too soon or feeling uncomfortable while eating.
  • Swelling.
  • A queasy or gurgling stomach.
  • Belching or gas
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

There is not always an obvious reason for indigestion, but some common causes include:

  • Eating or drinking too much or too fast.
  • Eating spicy, fatty, or acidic foods.
  • Drinking too many caffeinated or carbonated beverages.
  • Stress.
  • Smoke.

Recurring indigestion can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis.
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder
  • Helicobacter pylori infection.
  • Lactose intolerance.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Stomach cancer.

People with severe or recurring indigestion should see a doctor. They should seek immediate medical attention if indigestion accompanies any of the following symptoms:

2. Stress and anxiety

The gut and brain share many of the same nerve connections. For this reason, stress and anxiety can have a significant effect on the digestive system. When a person feels stressed or anxious, his body releases stress hormones.

Some of these hormones enter the digestive tract, where they can cause the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Upset stomach.
  • Indigestion.
  • Nausea.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Peptic ulcers.
  • IBS.

3. Premenstrual syndrome

Many people have premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which means they experience a variety of symptoms in the week before their period. In a study with healthy women, scientists investigated the relationships between digestive symptoms, mood, and menstruation. Of the 156 participants, 73 percent reported experiencing at least one of the following digestive symptoms before or during their period:

  • Swelling.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Sickness.
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Pelvic pain.

Digestive problems were more common among the participants who also experienced psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and fatigue. The authors suggested that certain hormones that the body releases during menstruation can affect bowel function.

4. Pregnancy

Digestive problems are common during pregnancy and can occur as a result of hormonal changes that take place within a woman’s body. In the later stages of pregnancy, the growing uterus and fetus can also put increasing pressure on the abdominal cavity.

Digestive problems that can occur during pregnancy include:

  • Heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation.
  • Swelling.
  • Belching or gas
  • Nausea and vomiting

5. Food poisoning

Food poisoning is a common illness that affects people who have consumed contaminated food or drink. The most common causes of food poisoning are harmful bacteria and viruses. Other causes include certain parasites, molds, and chemicals.

Although anyone can get food poisoning, the following people are at increased risk:

  • Small children.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Older adults.
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as
  • those who have organ transplants or are living with HIV.

Symptoms of food poisoning can range from mild to severe, and it can take hours or even days to appear after a person consumes the contaminated food.

Common symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Indigestion.
  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Cold.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone experiencing any of the following symptoms should see a doctor:

  • A temperature above 101.5 ° F / 38.5 ° C.
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Dehydration.
  • Dizziness when getting up
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days.
  • Blood in the stool.

6. Viral gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis, which is often called the “stomach flu,” is a viral infection of the intestines. The most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in adults is norovirus. In children, the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis is rotavirus.

General symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Nausea.
  • Threw up.
  • Watery diarrhea.
  • Fever.

Viral gastroenteritis is usually not serious. However, frequent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, especially in infants and young children. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Infrequent urination.
  • Sunken eyes or cheeks.
  • Lethargy.
  • Reduction of skin turgor, which is when the skin remains raised after pinching.

Symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Lethargy or irritability.
  • High fever.
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days.
  • Passing six or more loose stools in a day.
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Severe pain in the abdomen or rectum.

Treatment for people with viral gastroenteritis consists primarily of replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration.

7. Lactose intolerance

Stomach upset can sometimes be a symptom of a food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance experience digestive symptoms after consuming foods that contain lactose, a sugar that is naturally present in milk and dairy products. These symptoms occur because your body does not make enough lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose.

Lactose intolerance is different from a milk allergy, which is due to an immune response.
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Symptoms of lactose intolerance can include:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea or loose, smelly stools.

Many people with lactose intolerance can control their symptoms by making dietary changes to avoid this sugar.

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