Stomach cramps and stomach pain occur when the muscles contract unintentionally, and they are felt in the left abdominal region just below the ribs.
They are often referred to as “strong”, “stinging” and “intense”.
The cramps can occur at any time, even on an empty stomach.
Causes of stomach cramps
Various factors can trigger the painful muscle spasms.
Many people who suffer from stomach cramps are unaware of the causes.
The main causes include:
- changes in lifestyle habits,
- stressful situations, etc.
Key risk factors include:
- cereals containing gluten (e.g. bread),
A carefully kept eating diary can help to locate the critical foods.
Lactose intolerance – the intolerance to milk sugar (lactose) present in dairy products, such as:
- other foods that contain dairy products.
Those who suffer from lactose intolerance do not produce enough enzymes to digest and break down lactose.
Symptoms depend on the amount of dairy products consumed and the severity of the disorder.
Lifestyle changes – a change in daily routine (e.g. on holiday) can affect bowel movements (bowel movements).
The airplane or hotel toilet may not be particularly comfortable or you may feel uncomfortable in a non-family environment.
Other eating or dehydration, along with climate changes, can also affect digestive habits.
Worry and stress – possible effects of stress are:
- mental or emotional tension,
- various symptoms, such as stomach cramps.
Stress sometimes makes the mind more receptive to sensations that come from the stomach, so that unpleasant feelings are perceived.
Nervous people often have problems with the stomach.
Hormonal factors – hormones can affect the stomach and menopausal women suffer from very intense abdominal cramps.
Women with stomach cramps report that the symptoms increase in the premenstrual phase.
Food poisoning – the most common symptoms of food poisoning are:
- Stomach cramps.
It is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. This is especially true for children.
If the symptoms persist or get worse, it is advisable to have the symptoms clarified by a doctor.
Viral infection – there are various viruses belonging to the genus of noroviruses that cause “intestinal flu” or gastrointestinal inflammation (gastroenteritis). These viruses cause symptoms very similar to those of food poisoning:
- Stomach cramps
- Joint pain.
There is no specific treatment for norovirus, other than letting the disease run its course.
It is important to drink enough water to avoid dehydration, especially in children.
Children should eat natural, unprocessed foods.
Cramps from stomach gases – Stomach cramps are often caused by gases trapped in the stomach.
This is a common problem that can be very uncomfortable, but is easy to treat:
- by changing diet,
- through the advice of a pharmacist who may recommend various over-the-counter remedies, such as Buscopan or Mebeverin.
Sudden colic with diarrhea – sudden stomach cramps that occur along with diarrhea are thought to be caused by gastrointestinal flu.
This means a viral or bacterial infection in the stomach or intestines.
Without treatment, the symptoms should disappear on their own in a few days.
A common cause of gastroenteritis is norovirus.
Stomach cramps and diarrhea that cause severe malaise (such as fever or chills) could be underlying a more serious infection, such as food poisoning.
Here, too, an improvement occurs without treatment.
If stomach cramps and diarrhea last longer than a few days, a chronic disease may be behind it, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Stomach cramps after eating
- Some diseases cause pain and cramps after eating, about 30 minutes after the meal; some examples:
gastritis (inflammation of the gastric mucosa) leads to slowed digestion; the food thus remains longer in the stomach and leads to a dilation of the organ.
- A stomach ulcer arises from the violation of the wall of the stomach, so defenseless tissues come into contact with the stomach acid, which can provoke severe pain and cramps.
Gastritis and ulcers can be provoked by taking anti-inflammatories such as spondylon or ibuprofen.
- Food intolerances and food poisoning can also trigger stomach cramps after eating.
Stomach cramps in pregnancy
Is abdominal pain normal during pregnancy?
Mild pain and cramps in the abdominal region are quite normal for a pregnant woman.
They are usually not a cause for concern if pregnancy does not involve any other complications.
The fetus exerts strong pressure on joints, muscles and veins.
This can lead to discomfort around the stomach.
During pregnancy, the hard and pliable tissue structures (ligaments) that connect the bones to support uterine growth lengthen.
As they shift, mild pain may be felt on one or both sides.
As the child grows, the uterus tilts slightly and the abdominal muscles may tense or cramp. Thus, especially on the side, painful cramps are noticeable, after which the uterus is tilted.
How to relieve abdominal cramps during pregnancy?
Most abdominal cramps can be alleviated with rest and relaxation, the following home remedies can help:
- Stay seated for a longer period of time.
- Lie down (on the non-painful side) and put your feet up.
- Take a warm bath.
- Place a hot water bottle or grain pad on the painful area.
Sometimes sexual intercourse and reaching orgasm can provoke cramps and mild back pain. An orgasm can trigger wave-like movements that reach to the uterus and can cause cramps.
During sexual intercourse during pregnancy, these wave movements can be perceived as cramps or tension, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. This is nothing to worry about, because there is no evidence that an orgasm can bring about the birth process.
The cramps can be relieved if sexual intercourse is done carefully and deliberately; afterwards, a gentle back massage can help.
Stomach cramps caused by disorders that do not affect digestion:
- Side effect of chemotherapy
- Indigestion caused by toxic chemical substances
- Aneurysm of the aorta
- acute congestive heart failure
- Excessive physical activity
- Stomach cancer
Symptoms of stomach cramps
Those who suffer from colic often describe it as knife-like pain.
They are caused by spasms in the digestive system, which cause pain and discomfort.
Often, stomach cramps also occur along with other symptoms, including:
- constipation or diarrhea,
- stomach pain,
- bubbling in the stomach,
- loss of appetite.
If you feel a feeling of anxiety at the entrance to the stomach, a doctor must be consulted immediately, because a heart attack is also a possible cause.
Treatment of stomach cramps
With gastritis, the doctor may prescribe acid-binding drugs (antacids).
Buscopan® contains the active substance butylscopolamine bromide, which has an antispasmodic effect.
Buscopan relaxes the muscles in the digestive tract so that the pain and discomfort are relieved.
This drug is a derivative of natural substances obtained from the leaves of Duboisia.
Natural remedies for stomach cramps
Many people believe that digestive problems can be solved with herbal teas, but continue to eat incorrectly.
In reality, the problem of the population is the accumulation of toxins through excessive nutrition and incorrect combinations.
The body can not digest proteins together with carbohydrates and fats; in addition, fruit must be consumed alone.
Typically, the following mistakes are made:
- Eating too many foods at once.
- Eat before the previous meal is digested.
- Drink at the end of the meal.
The consequences are:
- The fermentation of sugars and carbohydrates in the intestine due to the formation of gas and low fatty acids, which provoke irritation of the intestinal mucosa, as well as:
- abdominal swelling,
- Stomach ache
- The putrefaction of proteins in the intestine that leads to the formation of waste products, such as ammonia.
The toxins accumulate in the blood and can cause diseases and symptoms, including stomach cramps.
Diet for stomach cramps Stomach cramps
can be caused by certain foods, such as:
- spicy food,
- fried foods,
- certain vegetables, legumes and fruits containing fructose or sorbitol (e.g. plums and apricots).
The best way to find out if there is an intolerance to certain foods is to keep an eating diary for a month.
There, everything must be noted, what is eaten and drunk, and whether and what complaints occur.
Accordingly, eating habits must be changed and the harmful foods must be avoided in order to observe whether the stomach cramps subside as a result.
Hot herbal teas can be very helpful for abdominal cramps.
We recommend herbs and plants with a calming effect, such as:
These herbs are also available as an extract and you can take them as drops.
Sport and lifestyle
Regular exercise helps to reduce stress and calm the intestines.
A daily walk, half an hour of swimming, a yoga or Pilates class already make a considerable difference.
Exercise also has a positive effect on mood and improves the ability to cope with stress; It also has a number of health benefits, such as:
- lowering cholesterol,
- Weight loss.
Relaxation and stress management
The stomach and intestines can also benefit from learning to deal with stress and taking time to relax.
Try yoga that:
- deep breathing,
- Postural exercises
An alternative is a massage or relaxing on the sofa with quiet music.
A hot bath releases muscular tension and helps the body relax.
Anyone who feels overloaded should find out the cause and seek help.
Those who do not express their feelings can become anxious and depressed.
- Abdominal cramps and abdominal pain: causes, in children, in pregnancy
- Abdominal cramps: home remedies and therapy
- Stomach ache