What are Stomach Cramps?
Stomach cramps is a painful squeezing sensation that comes and goes on in a span of minutes. The gravity of the pain can vary from time to time. Since there are many organs in these areas, stomach cramps or pain can be from different origins:
- Digestive system – this system includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestines liver, and pancreas
- Cardiovascular system – pain may originate from the heart
- Appendix – this is an organ in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen and serves little or no function anymore. When this organ is inflamed, the situation can be a medical emergency because once the appendix is inflamed will rupture, it will cause spread the bacteria inside the stomach leading to sepsis.
- Kidneys – this two bean-shaped organs lie deep within the abdominal cavity
- Spleen – this is located above the stomach and functions in the maintenance of the blood and in infection control
Due to the various origin of the pain that is felt in the stomach area, it also differs from the kind and the quality of pain:
- Generalized Pain – pain can be felt majority in the whole stomach or belly area, and this is more commonly observed in patients with stomach virus, indigestion, or gas. Severe cases can cause blockage of the intestines.
- Localized Pain – by the term localized, it means that the pain is felt in one area of the stomach. If the patient feels localized pain, then perhaps it affects a certain organ in your stomach like the appendix or the gallbladder.
- Cramplike pain can be associated with gas, bloating, or menstrual pain, and this is most often not serious
- Colicky pain is commonly associated with kidney or gall stones. This type of pain comes in waves that comes to a sudden start and abruptly ends.
Stomach Cramps Symptoms
The stomach is divided into four different quadrants and pain in these quadrants may vary according to its location. Here is the pain symptoms associated with the different quadrants:
Upper Right Abdominal Pain
- Pain on the upper right side of the abdomen
- It might refer pain to the right shoulder, right upper back and chest
- Nausea and vomiting
- Organs involved are liver, gallbladder, duodenum, head of pancreas, and hepatic flexure of colon
Upper Abdominal Pain
- Acute pain gradually starting at the upper abdomen that may extend to the side and back
- Get worse after eating large meal or several hours of heavy drinking
- Pain is often severe and may last for days
- Nausea, vomiting, tender abdomen, fever, rapid pulse
- Associated with pancreatitis, hiatal hernia, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)
Left Lower Abdominal Pain
Associated with ectopic pregnancy which exhibits pain in the lower abdomen, blood in stool, fever, unexplained weight loss, tiredness and joint pain
Lower Right Abdominal Pain
- This is an intense pain in the lower right side of the abdomen
- Pain begin in the lower right abdomen and becomes more intense and goes to the lower abdomen
- Pain gets worse when walking
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Associated with appendicitis
Other Pain Causes
- Sharp abdominal pain and spreads under the rib cage, around the front, and the groin
- Associated with kidney stones, pelvic inflammatory disease, heart attack, stomach ulcers, diabetic emergency
Stomach Cramps Causes
Here are the possible causes of stomach cramps or abdominal pain:
- Appendicitis – inflammation of the appendix
- Bowel obstruction – failure of the intestinal contents to pass through freely
- Cholecystitis – gallbladder inflammation
- Chronic constipation – associated with hard stools and is often characterized as having a bowel movement less than three times a week
- Dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm – this condition cause bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta and this is life-threatening
- Diverticulitis – inflammation of the small bulging sacs or diverticula of the inner lining of the intestines
- Food allergy – this can result to exaggerated immune response
- Heartburn, indigestion, GERD – the stomach contents reflux backward from the stomach into the esophagus irritating it because of the acidic contents of the stomach.
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis – these are forms of inflammatory bowel diseases
- Irritable bowel disease – this disease conditions lead to abdominal pain and cramping
- Lactose intolerance – the inability to digest lactose can lead to abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, flatulence and nausea
- Kidney stones
- Tumors and malignancies
Stomach Cramps Treatment
There are home care remedies on managing stomach cramps or pain:
- Sip clear fluid or water
- Do not ingest solid food for the first few hours as this can be difficult to digest.
- Avoid dairy products as this might cause lactose intolerance since dairy products can be quite acidic
- Avoid food items like citrus fruits, food with high fat contents, fried or greasy food, tomato products, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages.
- Take this medicine when the pain occurs high up in the abdomen and occurs after meals
- This can also be given when patients feel heartburn or indigestion
Called receptor antagonists, H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid in the stomach by blocking histamine , an important acid producer.
It includes the following:
Although stomach cramps may seem simple sometimes and can be relieved by home medications, it is always recommended to see your doctor for further examination because stomach cramps or pain this might just be preview of a broader and more serious condition happening in one of the vital organs in the stomach.
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