Stomach cramps are experienced as pain or discomfort anywhere in your belly, ranging from the area near your ribs to the pelvis. You may feel them as a dull ache, a burning or twisting pain or even as sharp spasms in your abdomen. Stomach cramps are also referred to as abdominal, belly, gut or tummy aches and are fairly common disorders.
The kinds of pain
All stomach pain may not feel the same, and some types might hurt more than others. Here are the most common types of pain people experience:
- Generalized pain: This is the kind pain felt in more than half of your belly. Some of the common causes for this type of pain are food poisoning, indigestion or acid reflux.
- Localized pain: This pain is felt in only one area of your abdomen. This could be due to the inflammation of the appendix or any other organ in the stomach.
- Cramp-like pain: You will experience bouts of spams in a particular area. One of the reasons for this pain could be acid reflux or gas.
- Colicky pain: This pain is felt in waves and is often experienced by people who have kidney stones.
Location of the cramp within the abdomen
Apart from either being constant or sporadic, your pain might also appear in different regions of your abdomen. If the pain is higher up, closer to your breastbone, it might be due to acid reflux. Food poisoning causes your lower abdomen to hurt. Pain near the upper-right of your abdomen is usually related to issues with the gallbladder or ulcers, and lower-left abdominal pain could be due to complications related to the colon.
Reasons for stomach cramps
The reasons for stomach cramps can be mild or severe. Sometimes, you may be experiencing pain because you ate a roadside snack that your stomach can’t digest. At other times, you may have a serious infection in another again, the symptoms of which appear as cramps. If you’re experiencing pain in your abdomen, it’s always best to visit a doctor so that you can know the exact cause of it.
Gastroenteritis: In this stomach condition, you experience severe stomach pain, loose stools and vomiting due to the inflammation. This condition needs to be diagnosed by a doctor and requires serious intervention.
Food poisoning: Ever relish a plate of pani-puri from a street-side vendor and then suffer a bad bout of diarrhoea the next day? We’ve all been there, and you very likely experienced an episode of food poisoning. This takes place when your food is contaminated with germs or harmful chemicals that damage your stomach lining and cause pain.
Kidney stones: A kidney stone is a small, hard deposit that forms in the kidneys. It can cause blockages in your body and it may feel like you are having a stomach ache.
Acid reflux: Acid reflux is a very common condition that causes a burning sensation, also known as heartburn, in your lower chest area. It occurs when stomach acid flows back up your food pipe.
Appendicitis: Appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix gets inflamed, causing severe pain.
Ulcers: Ulcers are sores on the lining of your stomach or small intestine. Most ulcers are caused by bacterial infections. However, repeated use of over-the-counter painkillers, heavy alcohol consumption, psychological stress, and smoking can cause ulcers too.
Home remedies for stomach cramps
If you’re stomach pain does not go away over a longer period of time, or if the pain spreads to your chest, neck or shoulders and causes vomiting or shortness of breath, visit a doctor immediately.
If you’re able to localize the pain to your stomach, some of the following home remedies can help you deal with the symptoms:
Drinking water: Water helps flush out toxins from your stomach and can help ease the pain. You can also try out some detoxing mocktails to keep your body toxin-free.
Heating pads: Lie down and place a heating pad where your stomach is hurting. Do this for about 15 minutes. Heat relaxes the outer muscles of the stomach, helping to ease the pain.
Ginger or chamomile tea: Both ginger and chamomile have anti-inflammatory properties. They help relax stomach muscles and ease spasms. You can also try out other natural remedies for bloating and gas to ease stomach aches.
Apple cider supplements: Stomach acid is vital to your digestive process. Stress and a poor diet can reduce the levels of acid in your stomach. Setu’s Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies can help these levels to aid digestion! ACV also has antimicrobial properties and can help kill unhealthy bacteria.
Sleeping positions: Certain sleep positions can also improve digestion and reduce stomach problems. Read more at the link above!
1) How does a doctor diagnose stomach pain?
Your doctor might recommend a single test or even a series of tests on your blood, urine or stool, and may suggest you do an x-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan.
2) What foods should be eaten when one experiences stomach pain?
Pain in the stomach may often be accompanied by vomiting or constipation or diarrhoea, and hence you need to watch what you eat! Make sure you increase your liquid intake by consuming soups, juices or coconut water. Boiled rice, fruits, and curd are also easy to digest and can help settle an upset stomach.
3) How can I assist my doctor to diagnose the cause of my abdominal pain?
Before visiting your doctor, make a mental note of when the pain first started, its frequency and intensity, what provides relief, and any other symptoms. These points will help your doctor provide you with remedies for your cramps.
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