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Stomach Pressure 

A dark-hair woman on a side of her bed, suffering from stomach pressure.

Stomach pressure: What to do if your stomach is under pressure? 

Everyone feels it from time to time: Unpleasant feeling of stomach pressure is not uncommon and actually completely normal right after a sumptuous meal - or several hours afterwards. But persistent gastric pressure or the feeling of being sated or full shortly after the beginning of the meal can also indicate a functional gastrointestinal disorder in some cases. These include disorders such as irritable stomach or irritable bowel syndrome. These disorders are not caused by an organic disease, but the symptoms can still be very severe. We’ll explain to you how stomach pressure develops, what symptoms can be associated with it and what you can do about the pressing feeling in your stomach. 

Close up of physicians hands, examining patients stomach.

Painful pressure in the stomach

In general, abdominal pressure is not a commonly defined gastrointestinal symptom. The stomach does not just hurt, it seems to be under great internal pressure. Depending on how sensitive the affected person's gastric nerves are, it may just feel like an unusually strong feeling of fullness, pain or a feeling that the stomach is about to burst. Yet sometimes the sensation can be painless. Since localising the pressure sensation is often relatively difficult for the affected person, corresponding complaints that do not directly affect the stomach area are also often described with the term stomach pressure.

Stomach pressure and concomitant symptoms 

The feeling of stomach pressure experienced by those affected, may limit them in everyday life not only because of the sometimes associated severe abdominal pain, but also because of the frequently occurring concomitant symptoms. This includes among others:  

  • Nausea 
  • (sour) Belching 
  • Heartburn 
  • Bloating 
  • Abdominal cramps 

Symptoms and accompanying consequences such as these may prevent the affected person from fulfilling his or her daily tasks and obligations as usual - constant gastric pressure can therefore make a decisive contribution to limiting the quality of life. So what to do if stomach pressure becomes a constant companion? 

Stomach pressure – what causes it? 

Stomach pressure is not a disease and not even a commonly defined symptom of functional gastrointestinal disorders, but it is a bothersome feeling for the affected. Sometimes it can also indicate an underlying disease or disorder, like for example functional dyspepsia (irritable stomach). In order to reduce the feeling of stomach pressure or even eliminate it completely, you should take a closer look at the possible causes behind it.  

As mentioned earlier, often the complaints can be connected to the sensitivity of each person’s gastric nerves. 

In many cases the diet can be the trigger of this unpleasant feeling. Those who take hasty, heavy meals significantly increase the likelihood of stomach discomfort: foods high in fat can delay gastric emptying and hasty eating can lead to air swallowing and higher gas amounts in the stomach. 

What begins with a slight feeling of fullness can quickly develop into a strong feeling of stomach pressure.  

The feeling of pressure in the stomach can also have other causes: 

  • Irritable stomach with 
    • motility problems, in this case specifically an unbalanced movement of the stomach muscles 
    • hypersensitivity of the nerves in the stomach 
  • The sphincter between the oesophagus and the stomach that does not relax sufficiently (the air cannot escape upwards) 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Food allergies or intolerances 

What else can cause stomach pressure?

There are also many other causes for feeling of stomach pressure, which can be related to diet, functional disturbance or a serious physical illness.  

Common causes or triggers of stomach pressures are:  

  • Indigestion 
  • Constipation 
  • Overeating 
  • Stress 
  • Eating disorders     
  • Premenstrual Syndrome 
  • Pregnancy 

Functional causes: 

Some causes do not result from an organic disease. They are therefore called "functional". Among them are gastrointestinal disorders such as: 

  • irritable bowel syndrome 
  • irritable stomach 
  • some reflux disorders 

In addition to the functional causes, there may be also organic causes for the feeling of stomach pressure, stomach pain or upper abdominal pain. Sometimes these symptoms can even be caused by organs outside the gastrointestinal tract, for example in case of a heart attack (see below). If you suspect an underlying disease, it is always a good idea to consult your physician, to rule out any serious conditions. 

Organic causes are: 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease 
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Hernias 
  • Food Poisoning 
  • Stomach ulcers 
  • Gastritis  
  • Gastrointestinal infections  
  • Stomach cancer  
  • Duodenal ulcers 
  • Heart attacks 
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Do children suffer from stomach pressure? 

Even children often experience stomach pressure with further symptoms like heartburn, constipation or flatulence. There can be a wide range of causes behind stomach pressure in children.  

If the feeling of stomach pressure is present after eating, it may be because too much has been consumed. In this case, stomach pressure is caused by the stomach wall expanding excessively due to the large amount of food ingested. Even if the feeling of fullness is an unpleasant sensation for the person affected, parents do not have to worry. The pressure in the abdomen disappears after a while when the food has been digested. 

If there were beans, lentils or savoy cabbage for lunch, the increased development of gas in the intestine is usually the cause of bloating, experienced as the feeling of stomach pressure. Pulses and cabbage are also among the foods that produce more gases during the digestive process. Similarly, swallowing air, carbonated drinks or just hastily ingesting food can also cause gas to accumulate in the child’s stomach. The feeling of stomach pressure then rises because the excess air, enriched with carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen, accumulates in the intestine. 

Food intolerances may also often be responsible for a feeling of pressure in the stomach, mostly occurring together with abdominal pain. If stomach problems occur in children, especially after eating milk or cereal-based foods, the possibility should be considered that these are not tolerated. If you suspect an intolerance with your child , it is always a good idea to consult your physician, to have this tested.  

It cannot be completely ruled out that feeling of pressure in children is caused by a serious illness. The child experiences the pressure in the stomach as stinging pain and can additionally suffer: 

  • Light High fever 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea or 
  • Pain in the limbs 

A gastrointestinal infection can be a potential cause. The disease is usually spread via the air (droplet infection) or contaminated objects (smear infection). Parents should consult a doctor about the listed symptoms in order to confirm the suspicion and to counteract it with appropriate medication, if the fever is especially high or long-lasting (more than three days). 

If cramps are associated with feeling of stomach pressure, it is possible that it is an accompanying symptom of diseases such as gastritis. But the cause of stomach pressure doesn't have to be organic. Instead, the reason may also be a functional gastrointestinal disorder, such as irritable stomach or irritable bowel syndrome. In this case no organ is diseased, nevertheless the symptoms can be very distressing. 

In most cases, feeling of stomach pressure in children is not a cause for concern and the pressure disappears by itself after some time.  However, if  

  • the stomach presses several times a week, 
  • the bowel movement turns black or is completely absent,
  • symptoms such as high fever and vomiting occur,

a visit to the doctor is highly recommended. The treatment differs depending on which trigger is attached and whether the child is under or over three years of age. This may include a change in diet and lifestyle, home remedies or herbal medicines such as Iberogast® for the treatment of irritable stomach and irritable bowel. This is usually a good way to relief the feeling of stomach pressure. 

What basic dietary advice and lifestyle tips can be given? 

Especially in the case of dietary and stress-triggered feeling of stomach pressure, various household remedies can help and alleviate accompanying symptoms such as nausea. 

Acute stomach acid-related complaints accompanied by a sour belching can be alleviated with certain foods that neutralize stomach acid. You may wish to try: 

  • ripe bananas 
  • white bread 
  • almonds  
  • potatoes  
  • linseed 
  • honey 

In case of dietary triggered stomach pain, it is worth changing the diet. Avoid any food, which you recognize as worsening your symptoms. These may be sweets, fatty foods and sumptuous meals, meat and animal products. 

You may try to look for whole foods, fruits and vegetables and drink still water instead of carbonated water.

 There are also various plants and herbs that calm the stomach and promote digestion: 

  • Caraway 
  • Lemon Balm 
  • Chamomile 
  • Coriander
  • Basil Leaves
  • Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Anise

Also, for example, look for a healthy, varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, chew thoroughly and eat carefully, move sufficiently and try to avoid stress and other irritants as often as possible. In addition to nutrition, here are some other lifestyle tips that can be applied against feeling of stomach pressure: 

  • Warmth  
  • Relaxation exercises  
  • Avoiding stress  
  • Lying down differently  
  • Comfortable clothing  
  • Breathing evenly 

Quick and effective relief from stomach pressure  

In order to relieve the annoying feeling of pressure in the stomach, especially if combined with other symptoms, it is advisable to use preparations which not only balance stomach movement, but also soothe the irritated nerves in the digestive tract. With its combination of nine medically effective medicinal plants, Iberogast® can provide comprehensive support in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders: thanks to the numerous herbal ingredients, functional and motility-related symptoms can be quickly alleviated and the unpleasant feeling of pressure in the stomach is relieved, too. 

If the symptoms persist or e.g. are occurring increasingly independent of the meals, a visit to the doctor is advisable - just to clarify that a more serious disease of the stomach is not responsible for the feeling of pressure in your stomach. 

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Iberogast®

Disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract are usually not only extremely unpleasant and associated with numerous complaints, they often make a normal everyday life even harder. It’s good that there is Iberogast®: The combination of nine medicinal plants targets both the underlying causes and the annoying symptoms. 

All about Iberogast®  

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