Stomach pain is a primary problem I have seen in my clinic over and over again in my 20+ years of practicing Chinese Medicine. Sometimes the issue is simple, such as the person is eating something that does not agree with them. Sometimes the solution is more complicated. Either way, when people say they have stomach pain, the pain typically occurs after eating, not before.
Is the pain really coming from the stomach?
Many people will say they have stomach pain, but when asked, will point to their intestines. The stomach is located up under the ribs on the left side of your body. Pain in the lower abdomen is usually associated with our intestines, whether that be the large intestine or the small intestine.
It’s good to know the difference because the treatments can be significantly different. Problems in the intestines can be difficult to diagnose, sometimes requiring ultrasounds, CT scans or scopes. It is important to distinguish between an intestinal issue or other organ issue, cyst or fibroid which may be causing discomfort to this region.
Insufficient enzymes: A common problem with simple solutions
I like to look for simple answers if they apply. One form of stomach pain that shows up after eating is based on not having enough enzymes in the stomach to digest the food. This makes the person feels full, bloaty and somewhat crampy, and the pain goes away in a few hours after eating when digestion is complete.
We typically find this problem in our older populations. Why? Because as we get older, our digestive enzymes can become weaker.
Some people take digestive enzymes, which can be very helpful.
Another solution and very healthy way to eat which will usually solve this problem is called “Food Combining.” Food combining is actually a very simple concept. Basically, avoid mixing or combining your proteins with your starches. What happens is the starch quickly breaks down in the stomach, leaving the protein to sit in the starch soup. This creates fermentation and rotting, which will be felt as stomach pain. Eating meat and veggies together is okay. Eating meat and potatoes or meat and pasta is not. Eating veggies with grains, pasta and potatoes is also okay. Just don’t mix the starches with the protein. For many people, following this simple rule can change a lifetime of stomach pain.
Using Chinese Medicine to address more complicated issues
For more complicated stomach pain issues, Chinese Medicine has many Chinese herbal formulas, which can help, depending on the issue and the correct formula match. Typically, stomach or abdominal pain is considered an issue of too much heat and or dampness. By modifying the diet, taking plant-based Chinese herbs and using acupuncture, the body can be adjusted to moderate this heat and dampness. This allows the patient to live without the stomach pain.
My recommendation is to schedule a free consultation to talk about your specific stomach or intestinal pain issues. You can schedule your consultation by going here!