Autism: Stomach Pains

04 Nov

The anxiety, I think, goes first to my stomach. My response to food is much the same.

My parents have told me that I used to constantly say I had a stomach ache – even if the pain was in my feet. It got to be that whenever I told them my stomach hurt, their first question was, “where does it hurt?”

They also stopped believing me when I told them that my stomach hurt over food, and so would make me eat the food anyway. What was really hard was when I ended up in the hospital at the age of 7 after an allergic reaction to Kraft Dinner. I told them. I knew this was the truth. It wasn’t until my early 20’s when I tried eating it again, with the same response (over only 1 tsp of the food) that I was actually believed.

Only as a teen and adult, I have realized that while I may have used the term “stomach ache” to refer to any pain (I have an expressive language disability, which made describing what I was experiencing to others especially difficult as a child) I do very often have a stomach ache, and it is very often caused by foods I have eaten.

I have an allergy to eggs. I have been tested for that one. I have an intolerance to dairy. That hasn’t been proven, but is very easy to tell with the strong reactions I have. I can’t even drink a little bit of milk in tea without curling up in a ball in pain. I was nearly 30 when I figured that out, though, so who knows how long I was suffering with it before that point.

As far as I was concerned, my stomach always hurt. It was hard to tell when it got worse – until I took out the dairy, that is.

My stomach still hurts most of the time, though I can really tell the difference when I have chosen something made with butter as opposed to margarine. I will sometimes push through it, because I like it so much (like for ice cream) but then the pain is my choice. When I was a child, I was supposed to eat what was given to me; I had no choice, and I was almost always sick.

There were also the times when I hadn’t eaten much to have that response. Christmas time and birthdays were always hard on me. Going to school, being asked to work in a group, being called on in class, the annual 5 minute speech (which I never quite understood how I got through, and others in my class always thought I was going to faint or be sick to my stomach – such things are cruel for people such as me… almost abusive, but that is a thought for another time.) I was always sick.

I know if I eat a lot of wheat or soy, that will also cause me troubles with my stomach. I have to stick to small amounts of these foods. Others may say it is all in my head… no. It is in my stomach, and it is very real.

So these days when I say my stomach is hurting, it still remains a common comment. I hope, though, that now that my past issues have been proven, people will be quicker to believe me, and hopefully try to understand.

Today my stomach hurts. It hurt yesterday, too, and much of the last couple of weeks.

I really need to look at the foods I have been eating.


Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Autism: Reality


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2 responses to “Autism: Stomach Pains

  1. NickyB.

    November 4, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Great idea to look at the foods. You will probably figure out what is causing the pain now.


  2. Grainne

    November 5, 2015 at 8:56 am

    My son is autistic and has the same sorts of troubles with both food and expressive reasoning when someone asks him what is wrong. He’ll say his stomach is upset almost every time there is anything wrong with him…that or his head hurts. I often try to get him to point to the pain for me so I know what’s wrong but it frustrates him so much I don’t push it…just try to treat the whole and reduce any anxiety I can.

    It’s great that you’ve made those connections between your diet and the stomach upset. You’ve made me rethink some of the ways I ask Colt to cope with his stomach pains in the future, although we never force him to eat a food he doesn’t like. We’ve been lucky – veggies and fruits are his go-to foods that he’s always loved so there’s no dinnertime argument over eating his vegetables. 🙂



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