What Causes Stomach Aches: Causes Of Stomach Cramps
Are you suffering with intermittent bouts of stomach aches? If so, you are most likely questioning, “Where or what is the source of my pain.” Many individuals will suffer from this very common symptoms, which is linked to innumerable underlying medical conditions.
Causes Of Stomach Ache
Abdominal pain is definitely a sign that there is something abnormal going on inside of your gastrointestinal tract. Many victims of abdominal ailments will exhibit other abnormal signs including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, acid reflux, fever, chills, and constipation.
Viral gastroenteritis or a “stomach bug” is a very common condition that is linked to norovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus, and enteric adenovirus. Viral gastroenteritis is a highly contagious infection, which is only spread through direct person-to-person contact.
This condition is more often seen in younger children that attend school and daycares. Most non-infectious viruses can survive for up to 24-hours on a hard surface, while infectious viruses can only survive for up to 15 minutes on a hard surface.
The incubation period (from time of contamination to onset of symptoms) of viral gastroenteritis is 4-48 hours. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Decreased appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Joint/muscle cramps and pain
What Causes Stomach Cramps
Bacterial gastroenteritis is another condition that may be linked to your stomach cramps. This form of gastroenteritis is linked to a variety of bacterium including E. coli, salmonella, shingella, staphylococcus, Yersinia, and campylobacter jejuni. Food poisoning is often linked to bacterial gastroenteritis.
Foods that are improperly stored, prepared, or passed the expiration date can become contaminated by the above bacterium. Dairy products, meat, and mayonnaise are at a higher risk, because they can become spoiled quicker than other types of food.
Bacterial gastroenteritis includes:
- Abdominal cramps/pain
- Hematochezia (bloody stool)
- Decreased appetite
Treatment includes preventing dehydration, by consuming plenty of fluids. Antidiarrheal and antiemetic medications can alleviate nausea and diarrhea. Rest is necessary for the healing process, so be sure to get plenty of it.
Antibiotics may be required if you exhibit body temperatures over 101 F degrees, severe hematochezia, and signs of dehydration (vertigo, polydipsia). After abnormal symptom to monitor for is stomach pain that is not relieved, even after a bowel movement.
Stomach Hurts After Eating
GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when the esophageal sphincter does not close properly, which will allow gastric acid to reflux back into the esophagus. This will cause the esophagus to become irritated and permanent damage over time. Symptoms include heartburn, angina (chest pain), sore throat, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), acid reflux, dry non-productive cough, and a sensation of a lump in the throat.
IBS or irritable bowel syndrome involves the large colon. Most victims of IBS are often able to manage their symptoms, which include abdominal cramps and pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, by monitoring their diet and keeping their stress levels at a minimum level.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s diseases are classified as IBD. The immune cells will accidentally attack the food products, bacteria, and other materials found in the intestines, because they think it is a foreign antigen.
Ulcerative colitis affects the large colon and Crohn’s disease affects all of the digestive tract. When the immune cells are alerted of a foreign antigen, leukocytes (WBCs) will be sent to combat it, but instead they will attack the mucosa. This will cause inflammation, which will lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms.
Crohn’s disease causes diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, fever, nausea, vomiting, hematochezia, decreased appetite, and unexplained weight loss. Medications are administered to alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s and to slow or stop the immune process.
Ulcerative colitis causes abdominal pain and cramping, loose stool, hematochezia, decreased appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and a sensation of severe urgency to have a bowel movement. These symptoms are normally mild and are often triggered by specific contributing factors. The only cure for ulcerative colitis is to remove the colon.
What Helps With Stomach Aches
You can start treating your stomach aches at home by avoiding solid foods and drinking plenty of liquids.
- Eat cracker or dry toast
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sodas, and spicy foods
- Eat 6 small meals, instead of 3 large meals
- Avoid eating for up to 2 hours prior to going to bed
- Devise and stick with a healthy diet (plenty of fruits and veggies)
- Antidiarrheal and antiemetic (anti-nausea medications)
- Antacids for indigestion
- Sunbeam 2013-912 Express Heating pad or water bottle
- Heather’s Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules
If abdominal pain lasts longer than 7 days, you should follow up with your primary care physician or a gastrointestinal physician.