You are finished eating a meal when you suddenly feel some discomfort. Feeling sick after eating a meal, especially a large meal, can indicate a problem in the digestive tract. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and biliary colic are some of the most common problems that can cause pain and discomfort after eating. 

Could it be heartburn?

Heartburn is very common. About 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. It’s the mild to severe pain felt in the chest area. 

The term ‘heartburn’ is actually misleading. It has nothing to do with the heart. This symptom has something to do with problems in the digestive tract. A common condition causing it is GERD.

GERD is a chronic form of acid reflux. It happens as a result of a weak or dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Aside from heartburn, GERD may also cause bad breath, damage to the tooth enamel, trouble swallowing, and persistently dry cough.

Could it be gallbladder pain?

Gallbladder attack or biliary colic is a kind of sudden pain that occurs due to gallstones.

Despite its name, gallstones aren’t really stones. They are solid materials that develop in the gallbladder, the small organ found under the liver. 

Most cases of gallstones are from hardened cholesterol. A person with a diet high in cholesterol or gallbladder that doesn’t drain well are at high risk of developing gallstones. 

Obesity, pregnancy, taking hormonal pills and having diabetes can also put you at risk for gallstones. 

Gallstones Symptoms

Some cases of gallstones are asymptomatic, which means you may not be aware of it until your doctor tells you. However, if you do get symptoms, you may experience:

  • Pain felt in the upper belly or upper back that may last for hours
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating, indigestion, heartburn, and other digestive problems

If you think you have gallstones, it’s important to see your doctor immediately. Your doctor may perform blood tests, ultrasound, and CT scan to confirm it.

Gallstones Treatment

Most cases of gallstones are treated with surgery, usually laparoscopically. If appropriate an open cholecystectomy may be performed. 

Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville and Cleveland, TN has surgeons who are well-experienced in treating conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including gallstones. 

To request an appointment with one of our surgeons, visit