Stomach pain: this is how you can prevent pain

stomach pain
This can prevent pain

Above all, stomach pains and heartburn torment many Germans.

© Dragana Gordic /

Many people complain of stomach problems. Dr. Michael Schäffer explains in an interview why this is – and what helps against it.

Stomach cramps or abdominal pain after eating? Those who suffer from it are not alone. “About every second adult in Germany suffers at least occasionally from stomach problems,” says Prof. Dr. med. Michael Schäffer in an interview with the news agency spot on news. The surgeon and author of the book “Every stomach has its stimulus” (Heyne) can give the all-clear at the same time. “Fortunately, most of the complaints are rather harmless,” he says – and yet they plague those affected.

In his book he explains what leads to stomach problems and how best to deal with them. According to Schäffer, stomach irritation and heartburn are among the most common complaints. “An irritable stomach is the term used to describe unspecific stomach problems that persist for at least three months without an organic cause being found,” he says, and reveals how to strengthen the stomach and when those affected should be examined.

When should you be examined – and how?

Michael Schäffer: We are often plagued by heartburn or by unspecific symptoms such as pressure and fullness in the stomach area, slight abdominal cramps or nausea, especially after eating. If we find out for ourselves what is causing these complaints, we can counteract them by taking appropriate measures. As a first measure we should, for example, omit suspicious foods or alcoholic beverages – in connection with smoking.

If the unspecific symptoms or heartburn are particularly noticeable when lying down, it is recommended that there be at least three hours between dinner and bedtime. If unspecific stomach problems suddenly appear or do not go away within four weeks due to a conscious and healthy lifestyle, a doctor should be consulted.

If you experience serious symptoms, such as vomiting blood or severe pain that lasts for hours or days, you must of course immediately consult a doctor or the emergency room of a hospital. In addition to a general physical examination, a blood sample and an ultrasound examination of the abdomen are usually carried out and, as a specific measure for the stomach, a gastroscopy is arranged.

How can you take it easy on your stomach? Should you avoid certain foods or drinks?

Schäffer: Mildly seasoned, easily digestible dishes are gentle on the stomach. They should also be low in fat. “Black” grilled or cured dishes are poison for the stomach. Alcohol and smoking also have an adverse effect on the well-being of the stomach. Ice cold or too hot drinks are also stressful. Too much carbon dioxide in drinks causes discomfort in many people due to the gas formation in the stomach.

Are there any foods or drinks that will strengthen the stomach?

Schäffer: Several small meals a day are beneficial in contrast to a few opulent meals. There are no foods or drinks that actively or directly strengthen the stomach. Indirectly, a healthy lifestyle without obesity, exercise, little or no alcohol, no smoking and a stomach-friendly, low-fat, vegetable and vitamin-rich diet have a positive effect on the stomach.

In any case, freshly prepared food, as few ready meals as possible and no fast food should be on the menu. Anise, caraway, fennel and chamomile are particularly gentle on the stomach and therefore health-promoting. Steamed carrots, zucchini or young kohlrabi are recommended, as are oatmeal and low-acid fruit such as apples, pears and grapes.