Stomach Cramp

A stomach cramp is a painful squeezing sensation that comes and goes over a span of minutes. It builds-up and then decreases.

The squeezing sensation does not always originate from your stomach. It may originate from the intestines. Some stomach pains may have nothing to do with your digestive tract.

If the reason for the pain is digestive disorders, you are likely to have other symptoms. Stomach cramps causes may include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): This is a digestive problem that can cause pain, cramps, and intermittent episodes of diarrhoea and constipation. The abdominal pains are in fact spasms of the intestines.

  • Lactose intolerance: This is another common cause of stomach pains. It is the inability to digest the sugar in dairy products.

  • Diverticulosis: This will also cause spasms and cramping. It can also cause haemorrhaging.

  • Fibre and Water: Inadequate fibre and water can cause constipation, diarrhoea and cramping.

  • Food poisoning (salmonella, shigella etc): Inappropriately handled food is another culprit. It may give you stomach cramps in no time! Other symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhoea.

  • Viral infections: Food poisoning is linked to most viral infections.

  • Stress: Apparently, stress plays a role in stomach cramps. It does not cause the cramps, but it can aggravate them.

  • Cholecystitis: This is an inflammation of the gallbladder. Gallstones may or may not be present.

  • Appendicitis: This is an inflammation of the appendix.

  • Bowel obstruction: This may cause stomach cramps, nausea, bloating, vomiting, etc.

  • Pancreatitis: This is an inflammation of the pancreas.

  • Intussusception: This is a serious possible cause of pain in an infant. She may cry and indicate the abdomen as the source of pain. It is also called telescoping intestines.

  • Dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm -- bleeding into the wall of the aorta

  • Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis: These are types of inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Parasite infections (Giardia)

  • Sickle cell crisis

  • Chronic constipation

  • Heartburn

  • Gastroesophageal reflux

  • Ulcers

  • Food allergy

  • Hernia

  • Kidney stones

  • Urinary tract infections

    Stomach Cramp Relief

    The following remedies for stomach cramps will suppress symptoms of various gastrointestinal problems. If the pain persists, see your doctor.

  • Food: Eating the right foods and keeping stress under control can help you minimize the possibility of stomach cramps.

  • Water: When your stomach cramps are caused by constipation, drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day will help alleviate the symptoms.

    Avoid coffee and carbonated drinks. The caffeine found in coffee and carbonated beverages diuretic. This means it can quickly deplete the body's water supply.

  • Clear liquids: In the event of food poisoning or viral infections, drink clear liquids like water until your symptoms subside.

  • Lactose Intolerance: Limit your lactose intake if gas, cramps and diarrhoea follow soon after you take a glass of milk.

    To test whether you are lactose intolerant, eliminate all dairy products for three days and then add an eight-ounce glass of skim milk to your diet.

    Add more dairy products, like non-fat yoghurt and cheeses, into your diet. If cramping returns, you are lactose intolerant. You can use Lactaid. It is available in tablet or liquid form.

    Lactaid contains a natural lactase enzyme that can help in the digestion of dairy products and prevent symptoms from developing.

  • Bran: Miller's bran or any other fibre supplement added each morning to your oatmeal could help end your stomach cramps.

    Boosting the fibre in your diet can help end constipation and diarrhoea. It can also control diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome.

    However, eating too much fibre without giving your body time to adjust may cause more gas and diarrhoea.

  • Relax: Many causes of cramping are related to stress. Try to get your stress level under control!

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