Your Stomach

By AFM – November 5, 2013

Sure, everybody’s got one…but how much of what you know is fact?
FACT: The size of the stomach is not representative of weight. How big your stomach is remains constant as an adult (unless you have surgery). Eating less will not cause your stomach to shrink, and having gastric by-pass surgery will not guarantee that you are thin.

Common Problems
The Stomach Flu – The common name for gastroenteritis, a contagious condition caused by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomit. Usually last one to two days. Interestingly, the stomach “flu” is not at all a type of influenza.

Ulcers – An open, painful sore. Ulcers don’t just happen in the stomach, but these (known as peptic ulcers) are the most common. Causes include bacterial infection, use of particular types of painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen (among others), and excess acid.

Heartburn – Heartburn has more to do with your stomach than your heart. The painful burning feeling is actually the results of an improperly functioning esophagus, which is allowing stomach acid to seep out.


The stomach is the organ in your body where food goes and begins to be digested after you swallow it. It’s located in the upper left part of the abdomen and is the first segment of your digestive system located within the body.

About those Butterflies…
The phrase “butterflies in the stomach” refers to a common feeling of nervousness, stress, and excitement. Did you know that those butterflies are actually just your adrenal glands, which sit atop each kidney, releasing adrenaline to the rest of your body? As the adrenaline is pumped through your bloodstream to your lungs and muscles, organs such as the stomach are somewhat neglected, resulting in a fluttering feeling of nausea.

Rejoice, Snackers
Ever wonder why your stomach is growling so loudly? The digestive system’s process of moving food along the digestive path is amplified on an empty stomach, as though it’s echoing against an empty cave. Snacking on small meals throughout the day will help keep your stomach from rumbling.

Does gum really stay in your stomach for seven years? No. Although a piece of gum will not be broken down in the same way that other foods are, it still gets moved along the digestive tract and out the other end. Unless you swallow a tennis ball-sized piece of gum or the entire pack of Bubble Yum, you should be fine.

FUN FACT: Puke smells primarily because of bile, which is a chemical in your stomach that breaks down fatty foods. When you vomit, your abdominal muscles are pushing out bile, half-digested food, mucus, bacteria, and extra saliva (to help protect your teeth from all that yucky stuff).


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