Mal de ventre, mal du siècle ? - Epycure

BIEN-ETRE Stomach ache, century ache?


5min reading time

Like the majority of the French population, you have surely already had to deal with stomach aches which can range from a simple cramp to heartburn. But it's difficult to approach the subject of gastric reflux, flatulence or bloating without complexes. So often embarrassed by these digestive symptoms, no one dares to approach this taboo subject. However, be aware that today they concern more than one in two French people and should therefore not be overlooked.

Generally linked to diet or stress, they can also be a sign of a more serious condition and have the origin of an underlying disease. But fortunately, these digestive disorders which have a serious impact on our daily lives are most of the time benign.

In the event of a stomach ache, you must know how to listen to your body and not put the pain aside, especially when it becomes acute or chronic. This is why it is essential to recognize the symptoms to know what actions to take to relieve them.

What is the name for stomach ache?

Stomach ache is a very common symptom that makes life difficult and can appear at any age. From a very rich meal to serious illnesses, the causes of this abdominal pain can be very diverse. They manifest themselves in different ways such as cramps, bloating, burning, throbbing, etc.

In the majority of cases, the location of the pain allows us to understand its origin and the organ(s) involved. If the pain is in the upper abdomen , it concerns the stomach or liver. If it is located in the center of the abdomen , it certainly comes from the intestines, the appendix or the gallbladder. Finally, if the painful area is located in the pelvic region , i.e. the lower abdomen, it affects the ovaries, the urinary tract, the kidneys or the colon.

Its mode of appearance , i.e. the way in which it settles, is also a real source of information. Stomach pain can be acute and very short-lived, develop gradually or last for weeks or even years ( chronic pain).

Stress, partly responsible for these ailments

The intestine has a large network of several million nerve cells which allow it to be linked to the brain. This is why it is considered our second brain. Reflecting our anxieties, the digestive system manifests itself when we are stressed by causing stomach aches. Indeed, stress causes the mobilization of energy towards all the organs which will allow us to deal with the problem (brain, muscles, heart) and digestion then becomes secondary and is slowed down. This stress can also cause cramps, spasms, acid reflux or heartburn.

Obviously, not everyone responds to stress in the same way. While some will experience minor effects such as slight transit disorders (diarrhea, constipation) or temporary abdominal pain, others may see more serious lesions appear such as ulcers or see certain illnesses such as colon syndrome worsen. irritable.

The significant impact of diet on the intestines

Digestive inconveniences also result from the composition of our plates. The quality of the food we consume is constantly decreasing. In fact, over the past 60 years, the level of vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables has declined alarmingly. Mirroring a more urban and hurried lifestyle , the consumption of processed products, particularly ready-to-eat prepared meals, has greatly increased. Unfortunately, this consumption is accompanied by excessive intakes of salt, sugar, fats and additives and thus causes digestive discomfort. Indeed, by overloading the liver and slowing down digestion, this diet is responsible for abdominal pain , inflammation, bloating and constipation.

These foods are obviously not the only ones responsible for these pains and discomforts which can also be triggered by food intolerances such as lactose or gluten intolerance (known as celiac disease). Eliminating or avoiding these foods is the best way to avoid digestive disorders, paying particular attention to deficiencies.

The imbalance of the microbiota at the origin of certain stomach aches

The microbiota , or all the bacteria living in our body, plays a vital role in the functioning of our body. It naturally contains good bacteria and bad bacteria . The imbalance between these microorganisms leads to the imbalance of the microbiota, called dysbiosis . In most cases it manifests itself by intestinal disorders such as bloating, gastroesophageal reflux, intestinal pain and disturbed transit (diarrhea, constipation).

Taking regular antibiotics can disrupt the intestinal microbiota and cause digestive problems. In fact, they will eliminate both good and bad bacteria which can strongly impact the balance of the intestinal flora. Without these good bacteria, the barrier effect is no longer ensured and the intestinal wall is therefore no longer protected.

The right actions to soothe this pain and discomfort in the long term

  • Review your eating habits by adopting a balanced diet rich in nutrients (fiber, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and omega 3 and 6) and also limiting your consumption of fatty, salty and sweet foods (bye bye industrial dishes, fast foods and sodas). The key is to find a balanced diet while having fun, without forgetting the golden rule: take the time to eat and chew consciously.
  • Take care of your intestinal flora and its balance, particularly during a stressful event or during antibiotic treatment. To do this, opt for foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics or for food supplements formulated from microbiotic strains . These good bacteria will be an ally to support the functioning of your transit.
  • Identify problem foods by noting the composition of the meals that precede your stomach aches to try to understand where the problem may be coming from. For example, you could be sensitive to gluten or lactose without knowing it. So try limiting your consumption of products containing gluten or lactose for a few weeks in particular, by removing one element at a time in order to identify the origin of the problem.
  • Get away from sources of stress and relax . Sophrology, yoga, mindfulness meditation, etc. There are a large number of techniques for learning to manage stress . It's up to you to try and find the one that suits you best. You can also rest while using a hot water bottle on the painful area. Heat is known for its relaxing action and allows muscular and mental relaxation.
  • Opt for natural soothing solutions . Certain plants have been known since Antiquity to relieve stomach aches. Some of them can be taken as a digestive infusion and others can be combined with a complex of vitamins and minerals in order to soothe intestinal pain and regulate transit. This is the case of the Digestive Comfort Cure which facilitates digestion, fights against bloating and irritable bowel syndrome thanks to the synergy of fennel, digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

Last little tip, but not least: if you don't know the cause of your stomach ache, avoid at all costs taking aspirin or anti-inflammatories because these are contraindicated medications for certain diseases such as ulcers or gastritis. Prefer paracetamol or antispasmodics. Obviously, if the pain is intense and has lasted for several days, consult a doctor to ensure that it is not hiding an underlying illness or injury.

Solène Senejko

Ingénieure Alimentation & Santé