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Stomach pain after eating spicy food during pregnancy
How Spicy Foods Impact Pregnancy
By Megan Glosson
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While there are many rules about food during pregnancy, many women don’t know about the benefits and effects that spicy food has on a pregnant woman.
As most women learn during their first trimester, there are lots of hard and fast rules about what pregnant women can and cannot eat during their pregnancy. While some foods like cold cuts and raw fish are a definite no-no, other things, like a spicy curry, are a little less clear cut. There are, however, some specific ways in which spicy foods impact pregnant women, along with some clear benefits.
RELATED: Why To Steer Clear Of Junk Food While Pregnant
How Spicy Food Affects Pregnant Women
Despite what you may hear, it's perfectly fine to eat spicy food during pregnancy. In fact, many women crave spicy food during pregnancy, and those cravings can be strong! However, BabyCenter says many women do experience side effects from spicy food when pregnant.
First and foremost, spicy foods increase a pregnant woman's risk of heartburn. Spicy foods often aggravate heartburn. Since many pregnant women already experience elevated rates of heartburn anyway, spicy food can make this even more problematic. Some women avoid spicy food while pregnant for this reason, whereas others just try to stay hydrated and only eat spicy food in small quantities.
During the first trimester, spicy food can also aggravate morning sickness symptoms, which can lead to additional nausea and indigestion. As you move into the second trimester, spicy food can still cause nausea and indigestion, but it can also cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Spicy food can also increase GERD or acid reflux symptoms, which can be very uncomfortable for women during pregnancy.
Also, women with health conditions like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or other bowel conditions may experience increased abdominal pain if they eat spicy food while pregnant. This is because spicy foods can trigger inflammatory bowel symptoms in people who already have these conditions. While this doesn't impact every pregnant woman, it can cause severe discomfort for those who do.
If you eat spicy food during pregnancy and you experience side effects or unpleasant symptoms, check with your doctor before you treat the symptoms with any type of over-the-counter medication for heartburn or indigestion. Unfortunately, not all of these medications are safe during pregnancy. Also, you should consult your doctor if you notice severe or persistent GI symptoms, like bloating, cramps, or diarrhea since these can be problematic at certain points in your pregnancy.
Benefits Of Eating Spicy Food During Pregnancy
via Pexels/Tim Samuel
While the effects of spicy food may push you to avoid them during pregnancy, the experts with Health Digest say spicy food can actually provide pregnant women with many benefits. It's just a matter of whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
For example, capsaicin in peppers contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can boost your immune system and health. These anti-inflammatory properties can also help with pain and inflammation caused by pregnancy. Capsaicin can also boost metabolism, which according to the Cleveland Clinic, can help with weight management and overall gut health.
Furthermore, some experts say that exposing your baby to a variety of food, including spicy items, can help expand your child's food preferences. This is because babies often absorb the flavors of your food through amniotic fluid. By exposing your child to spicy food and other flavors, you can help prepare them to eat better when they begin to try table food.
Myths About Spicy Food & Pregnancy
Many people have heard the myth that eating spicy food during your last trimester can help induce labor. However, the experts at Healthline say there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim. In fact, many women try this method only to find it doesn't work.
There's also a myth that spicy food can somehow harm your baby during pregnancy. However, this myth is also completely false. There's no evidence to suggest this. In fact, there's actually evidence to show that spicy food does offer several unique benefits during pregnancy and beyond.
Before trying any sort of home remedy to induce labor, always consult with your doctor to make sure that the method is safe. In many cases, your doctor will be able to tell you if the method, like eating spicy food, holds any real chance of working or if it will put you or your baby at risk. This is especially important for women with high-risk pregnancies as any small issue can quickly become dangerous for mom and baby.
While there are many myths out there about spicy food, not all of them are accurate. With that being said, spicy food can cause side effects during pregnancy, but it can also provide numerous benefits too. By having all the information available to you, you can make the most informed decision about how much spicy food you eat (or don't eat) during your pregnancy.
Sources: BabyCenter, Health Digest, Cleveland Clinic, Healthline
Spicy Food in Pregnancy: Myths and Facts
You used to have a low-to-medium tolerance for spicy food, but no more — now that you’re pregnant, you crave literally anything with the word “buffalo” in it, from chicken wings to roasted cauliflower to convenience-store potato chips.
Is all that heat safe for you and your baby? Here’s what you need to know if pregnancy has left you dumping hot sauce on practically everything (seriously, only your breakfast cereal is safe at this point).
Pregnancy makes you crave all kinds of stuff, none of which usually makes any sense. Pickles and ice cream, strawberry jam on hamburgers, marinara sauce over canned tuna — you name it, and a pregnant person has eaten it.
There’s generally one explanation: Hormones, which are to blame for pretty much everything.
There’s no trick to decoding your cravings, but there are some myths floating around the internet about why many women crave spicy foods during pregnancy.
Some people think it happens more if you’re having a boy, while others wonder if it’s some sort of natural instinct to cool down (literally — eating spicy food makes you sweat, and sweating lowers your body temp).
Either way, your taste buds often change during and after pregnancy, so don’t worry if you’re suddenly craving five-alarm chili. It probably isn’t a “sign” of anything worth noting.
Here’s some good news: Eating spicy food during pregnancy is 100 percent safe for your baby. Really! It can’t hurt your little one.
One small word of warning, though — 2019 research suggests that eating certain foods during pregnancy can change the “flavor” of your amniotic fluid. However, no studies have looked at spicy food intake specifically.
Nevertheless, you could be influencing your baby’s taste buds with all those buffalo chicken wraps, and they might show a preference for certain familiar flavors later on. Not that that’s a bad thing, just FYI.
Here’s the not-so-good news: While eating a lot of spicy food isn’t bad for your baby, it can cause some unpleasant side effects for you. Nothing dangerous, but satisfying the craving might not always be worth the pain of heartburn, indigestion, and GI distress afterward.
If you’re not used to eating spicy foods but pregnancy has given you a hankering for chili peppers, it’s smart to start slow.
Don’t eat spicy foods in high amounts or at every meal. Make sure you stay well hydrated. Prepare spicy food safely, by choosing quality ingredients and washing your hands after handling peppers.
And try to build up your tolerance to heat in increments rather than jumping straight to that ghost pepper tabasco with the skull and crossbones on the label, OK?
In the first trimester, eating spicy food isn’t likely to cause many issues, although it can aggravate morning sickness. If you’re already having trouble with all-day nausea and queasiness, spicy foods may make things worse.
In the second and third trimester, eating spicy food may cause:
heartburn, as your growing uterus forces stomach acids higher into your esophagus
diarrhea, gas, and bloating
an increase in gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) symptoms
If you’re getting close to the end of your pregnancy and thinking about giving your labor a jump start, everyone from your mother to your grandmother to the guy in the apartment next door will probably tell you to eat something spicy.
This advice is so prevalent, in fact, that researchers actually studied it alongside other labor shortcuts (like walking, sex, and laxatives) back in 2011.
Researchers asked 201 postpartum women if they had tried to naturally induce labor and, if so, what methods they had used; of the 50 percent who reported they had tried self-inducing, 20 percent claimed they had eaten spicy foods to get the job done.
The only problem? There’s no science here to back this up. If you’re sitting pretty at 38 weeks with no dilation, chowing down on a plate of wings isn’t going to make your body suddenly ready for birth.
You might be willing to deal with the heartburn that comes with eating spicy foods if it means satisfying a powerful craving, but keep in mind that getting rid of pregnancy heartburn isn’t as easy as chugging Pepto-Bismol like it was in your pre-pregnancy days.
Not all over-the-counter drugs for heartburn, indigestion, and nausea are considered safe for pregnant women. Give your doctor a call if you’re experiencing severe or persistent GI symptoms, like:
Listen, mama: If you’ve got the stomach for it (pun intended), then you can eat all the spicy food you want during pregnancy! It won’t hurt you or your baby.
If you’re not used to heat, go slow — and if you start having uncomfortable side effects, limit how much and how often you douse your food in tabasco.
causes of nausea and stomach pain in pregnant women
Pregnant women experience hormonal changes that can exacerbate chronic diseases or introduce new diseases. The digestive system is also being rebuilt. Therefore, many complain that the stomach hurts during pregnancy, although there was no such symptom before. In order not to miss a serious pathology and start treatment on time, you can learn to distinguish between different painful conditions and eliminate their causes.
How to understand that it is the stomach that hurts
If you put three fingers in the midline on the area just below the xiphoid process, which connects the right and left halves of the ribs, you can find the approximate position of the stomach. This is a hollow muscular organ, which is usually located almost vertically. Its glands produce hydrochloric acid and mucus, which does not allow the walls of the organ to be digested and prevents damage.
If the mucous membrane becomes inflamed, pain occurs. It can be sharp, cutting, burning, aching and is localized in the intercostal region, slightly below and to the left of the xiphoid process of the sternum. Hungry pains during pregnancy are not uncommon, sometimes they are accompanied by nausea, belching, appear at night in a dream. In some diseases, pain increases after eating.
But gastric pathology is not characterized by girdle pain, a feeling of fullness in the right hypochondrium, bitterness in the mouth, cramps in the lower abdomen. These are signs of diseases of the pancreas, liver or intestines.
Causes of stomach pain in pregnant women
After pregnancy, progesterone is intensively synthesized in the ovaries, and from the 12th week it is produced by the placenta. One of the functions of this hormone is to reduce the tone of the smooth muscles of the internal organs so that the uterus does not contract and reject the embryo. But at the same time, the muscles of the digestive tract also fall under the influence of progesterone. Therefore, in pregnant women, peristalsis slows down, the muscular sphincter located between the stomach and esophagus relaxes.
As the gestation period increases, the uterus grows and displaces the organs. Therefore, the stomach moves from a vertical position to a horizontal one. At the same time, intra-abdominal pressure increases, gastric juice during the digestion of food can be thrown into the esophagus and burn the mucous membrane. This process is more pronounced after thirty weeks, but the first signs may appear early.
The nature of pain during exacerbation of gastritis
Causes of severe pain in the abdomen may be associated with acute gastritis or exacerbation of chronic. Various factors lead to it:
malnutrition - lack of protein, iron or vitamins;
irritant effect of drugs - antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
infections - more often the presence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori;
the influence of harmful substances - alcohol abuse, smoking, as well as work in hazardous industries.
The disease can be exacerbated by stress, lack of diet or gout, chronic kidney pathologies.
In case of exacerbation of gastritis, the stomach begins to hurt after eating, the sensations increase when overeating due to stretching of the walls of the stomach. Often the symptoms are associated with the use of spicy, fried, fatty foods or carbonated drinks. The pregnant woman feels that she has pain in the right hypochondrium, under the pit of the stomach. She is sick, there is an eructation sour, sometimes vomiting. Protracted gastritis disrupts the digestion of food, so there is flatulence, rumbling in the abdomen and a violation of the stool.
If the secretion of hydrochloric acid is reduced in chronic inflammation of the stomach, then the symptoms of the disease are less pronounced.
Features of pain in gastric ulcer or mucosal erosion
In most pregnant women, the symptoms of peptic ulcer disappear due to a decrease in acidity and an increase in mucus production. But in 1 out of 4,000 women, the pathology worsens. This occurs in the autumn-spring period in the 1st or 3rd trimester.
An ulcer is characterized by severe hunger pains that bother between meals or at night. A woman is often sick, sometimes vomiting appears, which alleviates the condition. Additional symptoms are heartburn, sour belching, constipation.
If the ulcer is left untreated, anemia develops and, in severe cases, gastrointestinal bleeding. In the latter case, the pregnant woman will vomit clotted blood that resembles coffee grounds, the pain in the abdomen will become severe, blood pressure will drop, and the skin will turn pale.
Sometimes, after overeating or physical exertion, the ulcer perforates and a through hole is formed in the wall of the stomach. At the same time, the stomach hurts very badly and unbearably sharply, sticky sweat appears on the skin, dry mouth, and thirst intensifies. Vomiting with perforation of the ulcer is rare. Then flatulence appears and after two hours the condition improves, but this is the appearance of well-being. Later, the pregnant woman develops peritonitis.
Bleeding and perforation of the ulcer are dangerous for the pregnant woman and the fetus. When the first symptoms appear, you need to call an ambulance. Otherwise, the likelihood of death from complications is high.
Other causes of stomach pain
In the later stages, stomach pain is more common and is not always associated with gastritis or ulcers. Sometimes other diseases or lifestyle habits are to blame:
eating stale food;
irritant effect of spicy, salty, sour or fatty foods;
stress or nervous strain;
long break between meals;
concomitant diseases of the liver, gallbladder or intestines;
acute infections, including food poisoning.
Sometimes inflammation of the duodenum, or duodenitis, is masked behind gastric pain. Pathology often occurs in the 1st trimester or 4-5 weeks before delivery. For duodenitis, nocturnal hungry pains are characteristic, which decrease after eating. Pregnant women have reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen.
Pain in the stomach in early pregnancy
According to statistics, from 21 to 80% of women experience a pathology of the digestive tract for the first time during pregnancy, and symptoms appear already at an early stage of gestation. They may be associated with toxicosis. Why it develops is not exactly known, but it is associated with a violation of the hormonal and nervous regulation of metabolism in the body. This leads to nausea, vomiting, salivation, gradual dehydration and deterioration. In severe cases, the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates is disturbed in a pregnant woman, body weight decreases.
If a woman is often sick and vomits, the lining of the esophagus becomes irritated and inflamed. Therefore, from the first weeks there is pain in the stomach.
Due to toxicosis, a pregnant woman develops an aversion to certain types of food or smells, and her appetite decreases. Irregular eating can increase pain in the stomach, and later lead to gastritis.
Treatment of stomach pain during pregnancy
Caution must be exercised in the choice of treatment in pregnant women. Many drugs are dangerous for the fetus, so the therapist should select the therapy regimen. He will also conduct an examination to distinguish early toxicosis from exacerbation of gastritis, peptic ulcer or other pathology.
A pregnant woman is prescribed a diet. All spicy, irritating foods are excluded from the diet. You can not drink coffee, strong tea, carbonated drinks, chocolate, fatty and fried foods that relax the esophageal sphincter. Recommend food in small portions, but at least 5 times a day.
Coating preparations are used to reduce pain. They are not absorbed into the bloodstream, so they will not harm the fetus, but they protect the gastric mucosa and alleviate the condition. In addition to them, doctors recommend drinking tea from chamomile flowers or alder seedlings, which has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pregnant women with exacerbation of chronic gastritis or ulcers are additionally prescribed antispasmodics based on drotaverine or papaverine to relieve pain. Drugs that increase intestinal tone, which include metoclopramide, also help.
How can I reduce or prevent stomach pain?
In order not to get sick during pregnancy or to prevent digestive problems, you need to eat right. For this, dishes are boiled, stewed, baked, cooked from vegetables, cereals, dairy products and lean meat. Spicy seasonings, fried and fatty foods, other heavy foods during pregnancy should be excluded.
To relieve the condition, do not overeat during the day, it is better to eat 5 times, but in small portions. Sleeping on an empty stomach is bad, but late dinner is also harmful. Therefore, it can be replaced with a glass of unsweetened yogurt or kefir.
Doctors do not recommend lying down immediately after eating, as there is a higher risk of stomach contents entering the esophagus and heartburn. To avoid this, you need to sit in a comfortable chair for an hour or go for a walk.
Stomach pain caused by an ulcer or gastritis can be avoided by being tested before pregnancy. To do this, you need to consult a doctor, take an analysis for Helicobacter pylori and do fibrogastroduodenoscopy. Upon confirmation of the diagnosis, the therapist will prescribe a treatment that will prevent heartburn and severe complications for the expectant mother.
Pain in the stomach during pregnancy
Gastralgia is a cramping pain in the stomach that occurs in diseases of the stomach itself, as well as in autonomic neuroses. Stomach pain is usually felt in the 4th left intercostal space. The stomach, located above the horizontal line passing through the navel, under the costal arch of the chest (this place is called the epigastric region).
Symptoms of pain in the stomach during pregnancy
The intensity of pain in diseases of the stomach may be different. In women with chronic gastritis, stomach pain is not very intense. Therefore, the patient may not pay attention to it for a long time. Slightly intense pain can also be observed in stomach ulcers, stomach cancer, and stomach cancer. However, with gastric ulcer, and especially with duodenal ulcer, the pain is severe, sometimes very severe, forcing the patient to immediately take measures to alleviate the condition.
With perforated ulcer the intensity of pain is so high that the patient may develop pain shock. In patients with duodenitis, the intensity of pain can also be very significant. It is difficult to judge the nature of the disease by the intensity of pain, since this characteristic of pain is largely determined by the individual, personal perception of it. It has been noted that in patients who have undergone gastric surgery, the intensity of pain, even with an exacerbation of peptic ulcer, may not be large. In these patients, during an exacerbation of peptic ulcer no pain at all.
The nature of pain in the stomach during pregnancy
The nature of pain in diseases of the stomach may indicate not only a particular disease, but also the presence of complications. So the appearance of persistent burning pain in patients with gastritis, peptic ulcer may indicate the addition of solarite. In patients with chronic gastritis with reduced secretion, heaviness, a feeling of fullness in the epigastrium are usually noted. A feeling of fullness in the epigastrium also appears with pyloric stenosis. The cause of intense pain in these patients is more likely to be attached:
In patients with chronic gastritis with preserved secretion, the pain is often dull, aching. With gastric ulcer, the nature of the pain is usually the same, but it can also be cramping, sharp. Intense cutting, stabbing, cramping, sucking pain is characteristic of duodenal ulcer and exacerbation chronic duodenitis . "Knife" pain occurs when the ulcer is perforated.
Causes of pain in the stomach
This characteristic of the pain syndrome has a very important diagnostic value. First of all, it is necessary to pay attention to the relationship of pain with food intake and the nature of the food taken. With chronic gastritis , early onset of pain is usually noted - almost immediately after eating, especially if the food is rough, sour. At gastric ulcer the same pain occurs after eating, but no later than 1-1.5 hours after eating.
Pyloric canal ulcer causes pain 1-1.5 hours after eating. With the localization of a peptic ulcer in the duodenum, late pain usually occurs - later than 1.5-2 hours after eating. However, this characteristic is closely related to the quality of the food taken. Food with a high alkaline buffering capacity (boiled meat, dairy products, except for sour-milk products) causes a later onset of pain. Coarse plant foods, vegetable marinades, brown bread, canned food cause an earlier onset of pain.
So-called early pains can cause the patient to fear eating. Patients begin to refuse food. A different picture is noted in patients suffering from duodenitis , duodenal ulcer. Their pain is “hungry”, nocturnal in nature and is relieved by taking liquid (milk) or soft (porridge, mashed potatoes, minced meat or fish) food, taking soda.
In addition, the occurrence of pain may be associated by the patient with physical activity , neuropsychic overload. Patients with duodenitis and peptic ulcer disease sometimes associate the appearance of pain with these causes, and not with food intake. Patients suffering from stomach cancer often cannot associate the appearance of pain with any specific causes.
Stomach pain factors
They often coincide with the causes of pain. In diseases of the stomach, as mentioned above, the pain is usually not constant. Therefore, the reasons for the increase in pain are discussed only when the pain is permanent. Top Causes of Stomach Pain During Pregnancy:
Among gastritis, one should dwell on their classification, since it can help in the treatment of this disease. So , varieties of gastritis:
Bacterial gastritis (not so long ago, a microorganism - Helicobacter p., which, settling in the stomach, causes a number of disorders, has become a common cause of gastritis).
Acute stress gastritis (stress of various etiologies, severe injuries, diseases).
Erosive gastritis (from prolonged use of drugs, alcohol, spicy food, etc.).
Viral, fungal gastritis (we should talk about a decrease in immunity).
Eosinophilic gastritis (due to allergic reactions), but there are other significant factors.
Atrophic gastritis (thinning, atrophy of the gastric mucosa, etc.).
Peptic ulcer of the stomach and / or 12 duodenal ulcer.
Other causes of stomach pain during pregnancy
Stomach pain can be caused by overeating, indigestion, constipation, physical overwork and slight tension in the abdominal muscles. It can also indicate disease or infection, damage or injury, allergies, emotional stress or other unknown factors that remain undiagnosed.
Stomach pain associated with cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may be caused by viral or, less commonly, bacterial infections, symptoms of which persist for 24-72 hours. Food poisoning usually presents with stomach pain and diarrhea. Common infections such as pneumonia and tonsillitis may be accompanied by stomach pains.
Sometimes stomach pain develops into constant pain and tension in the lower abdomen. These symptoms may be caused by appendicitis. In this case, you should immediately consult a doctor.