Stomach cramps are considered as a common condition that affects individuals all over the globe. The condition is characterized by pain that feels like tightening or knotting in the abdominal area. In most cases, this can lead to the manifestation of headaches or other symptoms that makes it difficult for the individual to stand up straight or continue with an active lifestyle. Once the stomach cramps become severe, it might be caused by a serious underlying health condition that requires proper assessment by a doctor.
Causes of stomach cramps
The exact cause of severe stomach cramps can be extensive. In reality, it can be difficult to distinguish the precise cause. Throughout the years, doctors have used the accompanying symptoms to narrow down the possibilities and determine the appropriate course of treatment. Some of the common causes of stomach cramps include constipation, appendicitis, food poisoning, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, tumors, kidney stones, ulcers and even cancer.
The other symptoms that can occur can help the doctor identify the exact problem. Nausea and vomiting are usually linked with cramping. Constipation can also be used to determine the exact cause of pain. There is also increased pain while urinating and some individuals can also suffer from pain when attempting to eat. Muscle ache can also occur in different parts of the body depending on the cause of the stomach cramps. You can enroll in a first aid class so that you will know what to do to provide relief to the individual.
Intake of water
Once severe stomach cramps occur, the best measure to perform is to provide the individual with water or other clear fluids to drink. The individual should avoid solid foods for a few hours or at least 6 hours if he/she is vomiting.
Citrus drinks must also be avoided since they can worsen the stomach cramps as well as alcohol, caffeine and carbonated beverages. After a few hours, you can provide the individual with semi-solid foods such as applesauce.
The individual can be given over-the-counter medications that can help relieve the stomach cramps. H2 blockers are available and can provide a certain degree of improvement. Nevertheless, aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications should not be taken unless allowed by the doctor. Take note that acetaminophen is the only option if the stomach cramps is not related to the liver. In any case, if a particular medication aggravates the condition, it is best to consult a doctor right away.
When to consult a doctor
If the abdominal pain lasts for a long time, it is best to schedule an appointment with the doctor. In case the individual is undergoing cancer treatment, vomits blood, cannot pass stool or has blood-streaked stool, shoulder or neck pain, abrupt stabbing pain in the stomach or piercing pain between the shoulder blades, bring the individual to the emergency department at the nearest hospital.
Other possible cause that warrants immediate care includes pregnant women, those who sustained injury to the abdomen, if the belly is hard and sensitive to touch and difficulty breathing.