Causes of an irritable stomach
The exact causes of irritable stomach are unknown. The previously assumed cause of an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and irritable stomach is now treated as a separate entity.
Instead, it is likely that there are several interacting physical, psychological and social factors behind irritable stomach disorder (so-called multifactorial development). One possible cause of irritable stomach is a hypersensitivity of the nervous system of the gastrointestinal area. This complex network of nerves (enteric nervous system) runs through the entire gastrointestinal tract and controls the digestive processes in the body. For example, if the nerves are overly sensitive to normal and healthy pressure e.g. due to food intake, the feeling of pain could be the result.
Furthermore, disturbance of gastric motility can be one of the causes for discomfort:
The muscles in the stomach mix food by rhythmic contraction and relaxation and push it further along the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes this movement gets out of step. In the upper storage area muscles are too tight to adjust in volume to provide space for the supplied food. In the lower part of the stomach, which leads to the small intestine, the muscles are too relaxed to transport the food towards the intestine. This may lead to unpleasant pressure and feeling of fullness and even early satiety just after starting a meal.
Some triggers for symptoms of irritable stomach are known, others are just suspected. Possible triggers of symptoms may be your eating habits. For many sufferers, the consumption of coffee, hot spices, alcohol and/or fatty foods may lead to upper abdominal pain. Incompatibilities with dairy products, eggs and certain types of fruit can also trigger symptoms of irritable stomach.
In addition, psychological reasons or a wrong diet can play a role in triggering symptoms of irritable stomach: like permanent stress or an unbalanced diet. For example, severe conflict situations and psychological stressors, such as anxiety or depression are shown to be connected to irritable stomach. It can unfold into a vicious circle where mental stress irritates the stomach and the symptoms of the irritable stomach in turn increase the mental stress.
Once sufferers are sensitized to their own disorder, they often deal with it more consciously. This has the advantage that they can make a positive influence, for example by eating healthy food, which would not trigger any future symptoms. But it also has the disadvantage that one pays more attention to physical processes and perceive complaints with greater intensity.