You are getting through your day which seems fine, and then you are suddenly hit with abdominal cramps. Alternatively, you wake up with a dull ache low down that gradually gets worse through the day. While you may consider taking painkillers to help get rid of the pain, you are just treating the symptoms. It is important to get to the bottom of the reason for your cramps.
Abdominal pain and cramps can occur for all types of reasons. We often push them off as “that time of the month” but there could be something else happening. If the cramping persists, you may want to speak to a doctor to find the exact cause of them.
There are seven highly common reasons why we suffer from cramping in the abdomen. Here they are to help you determine if they are the reason you are getting cramps.
It is Just Wind or Indigestion
Let’s get the most common reason for stomach cramps out of the ways: indigestion/trapped wind. You can feel like these occur daily, especially if you do not think about why they are occurring.
Indigestion is often due to the speed of which you eat your food. The digestive system is unable to break it all down soon enough, and you are left with a backlog until it eventually gets to it. Alternatively, you may eat far too much for the digestive system to handle at once. This backlog can cause this feeling of being overfull, bloated, and uncomfortable.
It is not the diet that’s causing the problem (unlike the next reason for abdominal cramps). This is usually due to the way you eat. To help avoid abdominal cramps and indigestion, you will want to slow down with your meals. Avoid eating on the go and think about every mouthful you take. Make it a habit of chewing at least ten times before swallowing (unless soup of course!) to help your stomach and digestive system do less work.
After you have finished half of your meal, but your cutlery down and take a few breaths. Think about whether you are still hungry. You may be surprised to find that your portion sizes have been far too large all this time.
Trapped wind is slightly different. While it can come from indigestion, it can also occur for other reasons. One of those is the way you sit. If you curl your spine and crush your abdomen, you can make it harder for your digestive system to work. This can lead to more gas buildup, and it finds it harder to work its way through the intestines, causing pain.
Overeatingfiber, especially insoluble fiber, can also cause the problem. You can end up with this feeling of being bloated and just need to pass wind (or fart) to get the buildup out of the way. As soon as you do fart, you will feel the pain subside, usually almost wholly.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Crohn’s Disease/Etc.
IBS is one of the most common reasons for getting stomach cramps. However, you may have something more seriously wrong with your digestive system, such as Crohn’s disease. While there are some similarities, Crohn’s disease is considered an autoimmune disorder and much harder to deal with by many doctors.
IBS, Crohn’s disease, and other digestive complaints are often linked to the food that you eat. Your digestive system houses most of your immune system. It iseasy for the immune system to see something within the food that it incorrectly views as dangerous. The immune system attacks, causing inflammation within the body.
This is highly common with wheat, gluten, and dairy. However, other foods and ingredients may cause problems.
You may be surprised to hear that gluten tends to be included in a lot of unsuspecting foods, especially if you buy processed. Sausages are often the most surprising ingredients with gluten in them! You should always check thepackaging to make sure you are not accidentally eating gluten if your body cannot handle it.
A high fiber diet can also be a problem. You may get some digestive upsets if you have suddenly changed your diet, too
There are often other symptoms of IBS and other digestive complaints. Bloating is extremely common. You can feel like your stomach is twice the size that it usually is. Often the bloating causes a naturally round shape, and it isoften for women to feel like they are pregnant with the shape! Bloating will also make you feel heavy and sluggish.
You can also suffer from some bowel discomforts, especially with the likes of IBS. Your body is not able to process all the food correctly, causing trapped wind, constipation or loose stools.
Your Menstrual Cycle Is in That Position
Your menstrual cycle is perfectly normal, but that does not mean the symptoms and side effects are pleasant. One of the most commonly noted symptoms, especially for PMT, is cramping. You can feel the cramping relatively low down, around where your uterus and tubes are. You may sometimes feel the cramping only on one side.
The cramping can get worse throughout the day. Movement can cause problems, and you may find the only way to get rid of the pain is by using a hot water bottle on your stomach or lower back to help relax the muscles.
Cramping during this time of the month is linked to the muscles spasms within your body. It can also be as the blood starts shedding from around the area.
You will often have other PMT symptoms. Mood swings, headaches, and some bloating are common before your period starts.
The pain felt differs for all women. Some women just get a mild discomfort for a day or so monthly. Others can be left unable to walk in extreme agony for a few days. Some womenmust take days off work because they are unable to move due to their severe pain.
A Pregnancy Is Implanting
Some cramping can occur during the early stages of pregnancy. This is often felt before you even know that you are pregnant, around the two or three-week stage. It happens when the egg is implanting in the uterus lining.
It is known as implantation cramping. The feeling is due to the muscles being affected and nerves being touched while the egg implants within the lining. It isentirelynormal and should only be light. If you are trying to conceive, you may find the cramping a little more noticeable. In most of cases, the feeling is like light period pains, so are often mistaken for a failed attempt to conceive!
There are times that you will also experience a little spotting at this time. This is an implantation bleed and is just because some of the blood is dislodged from the lining of your uterus. It is often dark brown, as it is usually old blood and nothing to worry about.
If your cramping becomes more intense and you are bleeding more, you will want to talk to your doctor.This could be the sign of an early miscarriage. Bleeding and cramping do not mean a miscarriage, however. Around 50% of pregnancies start with some bleeding or pain, but only 50% of those pregnancies end in miscarriage. The odds are in your favor!
It is always better to be safe than sorry.
There’s an Ulcer or Cyst
Ulcers and cysts can lead to some abdominal cramping. You will usually feel the pain around the location of the problem, although it will depend on the type of cyst you are dealing with.
Stomach ulcers and others in the upper abdomen will often lead to the pain being further to the top of your stomach area. When you have a uterine or ovarian cyst or ulcer, you will usually find the cramping is much further down; often initially seemlike your period pains.
Most ulcers and cysts will disappear on their own, especially when it comes to cysts. Doctors will often recommend anti-inflammatory pills to help reduce some of the inflammation to help prevent some aggravation in the area. You may also find that your doctor recommends a change in diet, especially when it comes to an ulcer. Opting for less acidic food is important when dealing with stomach ulcers to avoid making them worse and risking them bursting.
Ovarian cysts are not necessarily damaging to your fertility chances. Most are minor issues that will resolve on their own. In a small number of cases, doctors will need to remove them for you, and they can cause some issues with pregnancy on the side that your cyst was. If you get many cysts on a regular basis, your doctor will want to find out why. This is common with the coil implant.
Urinary Tract Infections Can Cause Cramping
If you have a urinary tract infection, you may find that you experience some cramping. UTIs are ubiquitous, but they are not always life-threatening. It will depend on your method of treatment and how often you experience the infections. Most of the time anti-inflammatory products and antibiotics will help to clear up the infection. Make sure the infection is gone before ending your antibiotics to avoid a relapse.
UTIs have many other symptoms. Abdominal cramps are just among the first, and often initially feel like that time of the month. You may then start to experience a burning sensation when you urinate. This is the biggest symptom of a UTI and something that your doctor will talk to you about.
Some women will see a little blood in their urine. You will need to talk to your doctor about this as soon as you notice it.
It is not just urinary tract infections that can cause some of these symptoms. Kidney infections can also offer similar symptoms, as they are connected to your bladder. However, you will usually get the pain further towards your back, rather than around your abdomen, due to the location of your kidneys.
Kidney damage and other organ damage around the area can also cause abdominal pain. Internal bleeding may be a problem, especially if you have suffered trauma to your abdomen.
Pelvic inflammatory disease or pelvic cystic ovary syndrome are other common reasons for abdominal cramps. Your doctor will search for all these reasons, especially if initial searches for cysts or UTIs bring up nothing.
You May Have Another Illness in the Abdomen
It is important to track the type of pain you have and how long it persists. Most abdominal cramps will disappear after a day or so. They are also often easy enough to relieve through minor medication and some heat treatments. After all, they are mostly the muscle spasms that cause them.
When the pain persists, there is the sign of a more significant issue. One extremely common reason for pain doctors see is appendicitis. Your doctor will want to know the location of your pain and whether it has moved. Appendicitis can start off as the feeling of indigestion, depending on the inflammation around the organ and the severity of your condition. After a day or so, you will usually feel the pain more local around the right side of your body. There will be other symptoms, including vomiting and bowel issues at the same time.
There are other organs around your abdomen your doctor will also want to check. Your gallbladder is another commonly problematic organ, as it inflames due to your diet. The pain is often to the right of your abdomen and can be extremely intense. It can also disguise itself as a stomach bug or illness initially.
If you are concerned about the longevity of the abdominal cramps, talk to your doctor about them. They will help to locate the exact reason and can help through blood work and ultrasounds to get an instant diagnosis.
What’s the Reason for Your Abdominal Cramps?
Don’t instantly start panicking about your pain. There are many reasons for abdominal cramps. Many of them are routine pains that you will begin to expect monthly. If your menstrual cycle is regular, you will usually be able to plan out on a calendar when you will start to feel some cramping. The pain could also be due to the food you have eaten (or the speed or amount you have eaten).
However, there are some more sinister reasons for abdominal cramps. If the pain persists longer than a day, you will want to keep an eye on it and the intensity. Your doctor will want to hear about abdominal cramps to make sure there is nothing life threatening to happen and to help you get the necessary treatment you need.