Stomach Spasm, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

A stomach spasm and nausea could mean a number of things. This condition could cause pain or no pain. You may have experience stomach cramps immediately after eating. What are the symptoms of this condition? Explore more in this article as we cover in details including treatment and how to get rid naturally with home remedies.

Stomach Spasm causes
Stomach Spasm causes

Stomach spasm like other muscles cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction. Stomach cramps can cause severe pain, they are however harmless. In both men and women, a common cause of the cramps are long periods of exercise especially in hot weather.

Stomach spasm meaning

Stomach spasm is contractions of the abdominal muscles, intestines, and stomach. The spasm can feel like a muscle twitch or cramp depending on what part of the body is spasming. Most cases of abdominal spasm are harmless but can at times be signs of an underlying condition.

Understanding what the underlying cause of the spasm can help in managing and getting rid of the symptom. During an abdominal spasm, the muscle feels rigid and tense, in most cases, the stomach may feel tender to touch.

For most people, a majority of the spasm occurs in the deepest layer of the stomach muscles that stabilize the trunk. Bellow, we have outlined some of the possible causes of the spasm.

Stomach spasm symptoms

Depending on what the underlying cause of the spasm is, they may be accompanied by other symptoms. Common such symptoms will include:

  • Severe abdominal pains
  • Swelling abdomen
  • Flatulence
  • Change of bowel habits
  • Constipation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
    Stomach Spasm Symptom
    Stomach Spasm Symptom

Some of the symptoms above such as chest pain, shortness of breath and increased heart rate warrants urgent medical attention. We recommend you have your health care provider examine the possible cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

Stomach spasm and nausea

Nausea and abdominal spasm can be a sign of pregnancy. According to WebMD, early sign of pregnancy can often be mistaken for the start of menstrual cycles. When the spasms are early signs of pregnancy you are also likely to have light cramping and bleeding.

Gastroenteritis is the other possible cause of nausea and stomach spasm. Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This results from bacterial toxins or viral infection. Common symptom includes diarrhea and vomiting.

When faced with nausea, juices, and soft drinks should be avoided. You will need to drink plenty of water, stay away from greasy foods and have enough rest. See your doctor if the symptoms persist.

Stomach spasm no pain

Most cases of muscles spasm are often painful, it is however not uncommon to have painless spasm.  When the pain occurs, it will often vary from a cramping to burning to sharp or tearing pain. In some people, the pain can be spasmodic where the pain comes and goes.

You are also likely to have the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Red spots in stool
  • Bloating and constipation

What causes stomach spasm?

Muscles lining your stomach facilitate movements and allow for change. Stomach muscle helps in Channing food with the stomach acid and digestive enzymes. It is through the movements of these muscles that food is pushed through the digestive tract.

Strong stimulation of these muscles is what causes stomach spasm. The same can also result from injuries to the muscles and muscles strain. Here are some of the possible causes of stomach spasm.

1. Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine. Unlike inflammatory bowel disease, it does not cause bowel tissue changes.

Symptoms of his condition will include stomach pain, cramping, bloating, night sweats and constipation.

2. Inflammatory bowel disease

IBDs are chronic inflammatory condition, they include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. While Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, ulcerative colitis only affects the colon. Both these inflammations cause stomach spasm.

IBD can be shown by diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, constipation and abdominal cramps and pain.

3. Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is a stomach and intestine inflammation, the inflammation can be caused by conditions such as Norwalk virus, rotavirus, and Helicobacter pylori.

With this inflammation, you are likely to notice the following:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea vomiting

4. Panic attacks

Panic attack according to mayo clinic is a sudden episode of intense fear that can trigger physical reactions. When a panic attack occurs, you may feel as though you are losing control or having a heart attack.

When having a panic attack, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Tingling sensation
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Trembling and shaking among others.

5. Intestinal ileus

Intestinal ileus or intestinal obstruction is a blockage that keeps food from passing through to your small intestines. Causes of this obstruction may include fibrous bands of tissue in the abdomen that form after surgery.

Other causes of intestinal obstruction may include:

  • An inflamed intestine
  • Colon cancer
  • Hernia
  • Infected pouches in the intestine

Intestinal ileus causing stomach spas can also have the following symptoms vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain and swelling of the abdomen.

When not treated, complications of this condition will include tissue death and infection of the intestinal walls.

6. Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. This condition affects the innermost lining of the large intestine and the rectum. Symptoms will often develop over time not sudden like most conditions.

Ulcerative colitis can be shown by the following symptoms:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Inability to defecate despite the urgency
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal pain

7. Chagas disease

Chagas disease is also an inflammatory disease. This infection is caused by a parasitic infection-Trypanosoma cruzi which is found in the feces of the triatomine bug.

This condition is common in South America, Central America and Mexico which are said to be the primary home of the bug.

This disease can infect anyone when left untreated, it can cause serious heart and digestive problems. Treatment form this condition focuses on killing the parasite in acute infection. Treatment will also involve managing signs and symptoms of the condition at a later stage.

Symptoms of this condition will include swollen glands, nausea, diarrhea, body aches, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

8. Dehydration

Dehydration is also a possible cause of muscles spasm and camping. It occurs as a result of losing electrolytes from dehydration caused by sweating, and chronic diarrhea.

For a healthy body, your muscles need electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Without these electrolytes, your muscles may start to work abnormally and seizing up.

When dehydrated, you can show the following symptoms:  dizziness, yellow urine, and extreme thirst.

9. Infectious colitis

Infection colitis can cause stomach spasm or cramping due to irritation and inflammation of the colon. This condition can be caused by parasites such as Giardia and bacteria such as Clostridium, E.coli, and Salmonella

Stomach spasm pain

For painful muscles spasms, the most likely causes will include the following.

10. Muscles strain

Muscle strain result from overworking your abdominal muscles. These kinds of spams are likely to occur in people who do lots of strenuous and frequent exercise.  This includes sit-ups and crunches.

Other symptoms will include rib pains, tenderness, and pain that keeps growing.

11. Premature labor

Premature labor also known as Braxton Hicks contraction can also be the cause of the painful muscles spasm. False labor as it is commonly known may feel more like a tightening of muscles than the pain of actual labor. They aren’t regular.

The contraction is however harmless, it is, however, a good idea to have your doctor look at it as soon as possible, this will help prevent any complication or health risk to both you and your baby.

Stomach spasm after eating

If you notice the cramps immediately after eating, the possible causes are likely to include the following:

12. Constipation

Constipation occurs when your stool is hard and dry. Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent and hard to pass.

According to mayo clinic, occasional constipation is very common, however, chronic constipation that interferes with the ability to go about daily tasks.  Other symptoms will include:

  • Lumpy stools
  • Straining while having bowel movements
  • Feeling as though you cannot completely empty your bowel

13. Gastroparesis

This is a condition affecting the normal spontaneous movement of the muscles in your stomach. After eating, strong muscular contractions propel the food through your digestive tract. When faced with gastroparesis, your stomach’s motility is slowed down or fails to work properly.

The actual cause of gastroparesis is unknown, however, damage to a nerve that controls the stomach muscle. This condition will have the following symptoms:  vomiting, bloating, abdominal cramps, malnutrition, and acid reflux.

14. Food allergies

Food allergy or intolerance can also be the cause stomach spasm after eating. Allergic reactions occur when your immune system mistakes the food you eat as a something harmful, this triggers the release of histamine that can cause stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting among others symptoms.

For example, people with lactose intolerance can develop these symptoms after eating dairy products. Food allergies can be shown by the following symptoms:

  • Nausea after eating
  • Vomiting
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea

Some form of allergies can be life-threatening, as such urgent medical attention is required. See your doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms above.

15. Esophageal spams

Esophagus spasm can cause your stomach to have painful cramps. Even though the spasm occurs in the esophagus, the pain may feel as though originating from the stomach. This condition is common in women than in men, the exact cause of the spams is not known.

Esophagus spasm can be triggered by eating hot or cold foods.  In such cases, you may feel like you are unable to swallow the food or as if something is stuck in your throat. Some people may experience chest pains.

Treatment, medicine, medication for Stomach spasm

Treating stomach spasm will often vary depending on what the underlying cause of the cramps are. For mild cramps, you can either let them clear on their own or carry out some light stretching exercise to reduce the cramps.

In case of recurrent cramps that disrupts your sleep and daily activities, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to relax the muscles. According to health line, common treatment option would include the following:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Antispasmodic medication in cases of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections such as gastritis and gastroenteritis
  • Amninosacylates in cases of Crohn’s disease
  • For painful spams, over the counter pain reliever can be helpful
  • When the cause is stomach acid, then antacids can be used

How to cure stomach spasm naturally with home remedies

Not all case of stomach spasm will need to be treated in a hospital. Minor cases can be treated at home with simple self-care methods. There are simple exercises you can do to prevent the cramps from occurring in the first place.

You can naturally treat stomach cramps using the following:

1. Massage

Gently stretch your stomach muscle then rub it to relax the cramps.

2. Replenishing your fluids

When caused by dehydration, then treatment will involve replenishing your electrolytes. You can do this by drinking plenty of sports drinking and eating fruits such as banana.

3. Chamomile tea

You can also use chamomile tea to calm stomach upset that might be causing the spasm. Chamomile tea can also be a great remedy to get rid of stomach gas.

4. Hot compress

Applying heat to your stomach can help relax the muscles. A heating pad can be really effective if the underlying cause of the spasm is a muscle strain.

You can prevent having stomach spas in the following ways:

  • Avoid being dehydrated. Dehydration is a common cause of muscles cramps. You will need to drink plenty of water to remain hydrated and t=reduce the chances of having a spams. This will often depend on what you eat, level of activity, your general health, and the weather.
  • Gently stretch your muscles after and before bed.  Light exercise before bed can help prevent muscle cramps when sleeping.
  • When the cause of the spams is gas, changing your diet can be a great way to prevent the cramps.
  • Limit your intake of spicy foods which can irritate your stomach and cause the spasm
  • You will also need to cut your consumption of alcohol

References:

  1. Muscles cramps: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/syc-20350820
  2. painful stomach cramps: https://symptomchecker.webmd.com/multiple-symptoms?symptoms=muscle-cramps-or-spasms-(painful)%7Cstomach-cramps%7Cstomach-cramps%7Cvaginal-bleeding&symptomids=282%7C585%7C585%7C552&locations=24%7C22%7C24%7C32
  3. What causes stomach spasms: https://www.healthline.com/health/stomach-spasms#overview1
  4. How to naturally treat stomach spasm: http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/stomach-spasms/
  5. Chagas disease, causes, symptoms and treatment: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chagas-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20356212