You need to eat small amounts of food to avoid hunger pangs  

Monday October 11 2021

You need to eat small amounts of food to avoid hunger pangs. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Doctor, I get pains in my stomach whenever am hungry. I did tests such as gastroendoscopy, H.Pylori, serum lipase all which turned negative. So what is the problem? When I eat everything is okay.  James Paul Bond, Kireka

Hunger , which represents the body’s need to eat food, results from absence of food in the stomach or low blood levels of sugar. 

Once the stomach is empty, or blood sugar is low the stomach then produces high amounts of a hormone Ghrelin which circulates to the brain causing hunger.

Also, the body signals hunger when blood sugar levels are low sending a signal to your brain, to trigger the need to eat.

A person even if he has not eaten, produces acid in the stomach. If one has peptic ulcers, then the acid will enter the wounds and cause stomach pain. Upon eating the stomach acid mixes with food and may not then enter the ulcers to cause pain. This however gives temporary pain relief so that when the food exits the stomach, the pain returns.

Because the doctor suspected peptic ulcers as the cause of your pain, this could have been the reason why endoscopy and Helicobacter pylori germ tests were done. Over 90 per cent of peptic ulcers are caused by the said germ. Peptic ulcers may have symptoms that may be confused with problems of the pancrease, this is why serum lipase test was done.


Your kind of meal related pain may not have been due to peptic ulcers but mere hunger pangs or pains. Also known as hunger pangs, or hunger pains are feelings of discomfort deep in the stomach due to stomach muscle contractions which begin to occur when the stomach has been empty for several hours. When this is the reason behind the hunger pains, a quick snack is usually sufficient to eliminate the discomfort.

Please eat little food many times to avoid hunger pangs. However you should avoid too much carbohydrate, sugar or fat which can easily lead to obesity.