Why Do I Have Cramps But No Period
Pelvic pain similar to a menstrual period can happen at times when no period is due or can occur because of conditions other than the monthly cycle. Sometimes it is hard to tell the exact reason for cramps that feel like a menstrual period.
The following diseases and conditions are examples of situations that can cause pain or cramps when not on your period.
Vague Upper Abdominal Pain Associated With Nausea And Belching
Sometimes stomach pain is hard to identify or comes with multiple symptoms. Vague pain in the upper and mid-abdominal area that is linked to nausea, burping, or belching could be signs of a heart attack, particularly in older patients. Physicians say tests like an ECG or cardiac markers can be lifesaving. They also warn that vomiting with back or jaw pain and shortness of breath can also be a sign of a life-threatening emergency.
Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. “Women are especially prone to gallbladder disease,” says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. “Overweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.” The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
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Gut Feeling: How To Know If Stomach Pain Is Serious
Abdominal pain is the single leading reason for emergency room visits in the U.S. according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accounting for more than 12 million of the nearly 139 million annual ER visits. Most people call it stomach pain, but it’s not always a stomach problem. Your abdomen holds many other organs, too, including your intestines , pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, spleen and appendix.
So its not surprising that, just as with chest pain or a headache, it can be difficult to tell whats really going on in there when your tummy’s not feeling well. Add in other vague symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and you could have the stomach flu, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney stones or any number of other conditions.
Here are some ways to tell what the source of your pain is and when you should seek medical care.
How To Prevent Stomach Cramps
Not all stomach pain can be prevented. But you may be able to reduce your chances of getting stomach cramps by:
- Washing your hands before you prepare and eat food
- Avoiding overeating and, if possible, refraining from eating right before bed or a workout
- Staying hydrated and eating foods high in fiber
- Checking expiration dates and tossing food that’s not fresh
- Avoiding foods you know you have a sensitivity to
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Treatment For Abdominal Pain In Adults
Your treatment depends on what is causing your pain, but may include:
- Pain relief your pain may not go away fully with painkillers, but it should ease.
- Fluids you may have fluids given into a vein to correct fluid loss and rest your bowel.
- Medicines for example, you may be given something to stop you vomiting.
- Fasting your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything until the cause of your pain is known.
How To Stop Stomach Cramps And Pain
Medically reviewed by Abbey Sharp, Registered Dietitian , BASc.
I discuss the common causes and symptoms of stomach cramps, and share helpful tips and remedies for pain caused by stomach cramps.
Lets be real, stomach cramps are not fun! Ive had my fair share of annoying tummy troubles and understand just how inconvenient and painful they can be.
So what exactly is the culprit behind those pesky stomach cramps anyway? Lets discuss the common causes of stomach pain and some helpful strategies to help get rid of cramps in their tracks.
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What Are The Treatments For Stomach Cramps
- Mild abdominal cramps can be treated with home remedies or OTC medicine. Home remedies like apple cider vinegar, ginger, and chamomile tea, in particular, are known to relieve mild pains and bloating in the abdomen.
- Stomach cramps that occur as a result of allergies and intolerances can be avoided by dietary changes. After tests and diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe you a customised diet, limiting the foods that trigger the allergy.
- Dietary changes are also effective to control overeating. In cases where it is uncontrollable, it is recommended to consult a dietician or a therapist to identify the underlying cause for overeating.
- If you have IBS, your doctor may prescribe you special medication like fibre supplements, laxatives, or antidiarrheal medication. Pain-relieving medication will be prescribed for IBS patients experiencing severe pains, cramps, and bloating.
What Are Abdominal Muscle Spasms
In more serious cases, uncontrolled and sometimes painful muscle movements, or spasms in the stomach are known by the NHS as dystonia.
Dystonia symptoms include10:
- Uncontrollable muscle cramps and spasms
- Parts of your body twisting into unusual positions such as your neck twisting or your feet turning inwards
- Shaking or tremors
- Uncontrolled blinking
Dystonia is not common, however, in rare cases it can lifelong condition that affects people in different ways. You can get help and advice about dystonia from your GP or the UKs Dystonia Society.
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Causes Of Acute Stomach Pain
- Eating Too Much. Eating too much can cause an upset stomach and mild stomach pain.
- Hunger Pains. Younger children may complain of stomach pain when they are hungry.
- GI Virus . A GI virus can cause stomach cramps as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Food Poisoning. This causes sudden vomiting and/or diarrhea within hours after eating the bad food. It is caused by toxins from germs growing in foods left out too long. Most often, symptoms go away in less than 24 hours. It often can be treated at home without the need for medical care.
- Constipation. The need to pass a stool may cause cramps in the lower abdomen.
- Strep Throat. A strep throat infection causes 10% of new onset stomach pain with fever.
- Bladder Infection. Bladder infections usually present with painful urination, urgency and bad smelling urine. Sometimes the only symptom is pain in the lower abdomen.
- Appendicitis . Suspect appendicitis if pain is low on the right side and walks bent over. Other signs are the child won’t hop and wants to lie still.
- Intussusception . Sudden attacks of severe pain that switch back and forth with periods of calm. Caused by one segment of bowel telescoping into a lower piece of bowel. Peak age is 6 months to 2 years.
How Do I Take Care Of Myself
You and your healthcare provider should come up with a treatment plan together. Have a prevention plan and a plan for what to do when a muscle spasm hits. Do the following every day:
- Exercise . If you get nocturnal leg cramps, do some walking before you go to sleep.
- Stretch. Stretch frequently including before and after you exercise and before you go to sleep.
- Purchase sturdy shoes.
- Drink plenty of water each day. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol.
- Take all prescribed vitamins and medications such as muscle relaxants.
- Prepare your bed space by keeping a heating pad and massage roller nearby.
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Taking Care Of Yourself At Home
Most abdominal pain goes away without special treatment. Be guided by your doctor, but there are some things you can do to help ease the pain, including:
- Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag on your abdomen.
- Soak in a warm bath. Take care not to scald yourself.
- Drink plenty of clear fluids such as water.
- Reduce your intake of coffee, tea and alcohol as these can make the pain worse.
- When you are allowed to eat again, start with clear liquids, then progress to bland foods such as crackers, rice, bananas or toast. Your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Try over-the-counter antacids, to help reduce some types of pain.
- Take mild painkillers such as paracetamol. Please check the packet for the right dose. Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs unless advised to take them by a doctor. These drugs can make some types of abdominal pain worse.
Why Does Your Stomach Hurt
Stomach cramps can range from mild achiness to severe, stabbing pain.
Common causes of stomach cramps include eating foods that can irritate your stomach, constipation, food poisoning, or a stomach infection. People who have anxiety may also develop stomach cramps.
Pregnant people may experience stomach cramps as the fetus grows. Menstrual cramps are also very common, though they actually take place in the uterus.
Sometimes stomach cramps are constant. In this case, a chronic digestive illness, such as irritable bowel disease, may be the cause.
Most stomach cramps go away on their own within a few hours or a couple of days. Changing what you eat and taking over-the-counter medication can help with symptoms while you recover.
Some stomach cramps may require medical attention. You should be concerned about stomach cramps if they last for a week or longer or are so severe that you cant function, or you also have symptoms like fever or blood in your vomit or stool.
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Dietary Stomach Cramps Causes
Causes of stomach cramps may be related to your eating habits, especially if you change them suddenly.
- Overeating: If you overeat, your stomach will be forced to stretch to accommodate a higher volume of food.
- Spicy or oily foods: Eating new or rich dishes that your digestive system isn’t used to can cause stomach discomfort.
- Dairy products: Some people’s bodies are not able to break down dairy products like milk, yogurt, or ice cream.
- Gluten: This is a type of protein found in grains like wheat and barley that should be avoided by people with Celiac Disease.
What Is Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is discomfort or other uncomfortable sensations that you feel in your belly area. Just about everybody at one time or another will get a bellyache.
Most causes of abdominal pain aren’t reasons to worry, and your doctor can easily diagnose and treat the problem. Sometimes, though, it can be a sign of a serious illness that needs medical attention.
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Severe Acute Pain In The Lower Right Side Of The Abdomen
A sudden pain in the lower part of the abdomen may be a sign of appendicitis. It may also be accompanied by a fever. Pain often begins around the belly button area and becomes worse with time. Vomiting or constipation or diarrhea along with the pain also indicate it’s time to go to the emergency room. Physicians recommend seeing a doctor right away if the pain comes on suddenly over several hours or is persistent. Appendicitis often requires surgery. If left untreated, a ruptured appendix can be deadly.
How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of A Stomachache
To find the cause of a stomachache, doctors ask about:
- your symptoms
- illnesses you’ve had in the past
- health conditions that other family members have
Be honest with your doctor, even if a symptom seems embarrassing.
The doctor will do an exam and sometimes might order tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or blood test. It all depends on what the doctor thinks is causing the problem.
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Heres How The Digestive System Works
Or how digestion should work when everything goes according to plan.
Your body employs multiple organs to turn the food you eat into energy. When everything is going well, you should barely notice this process, which is good because it can actually take a pretty long time. The Mayo Clinic estimates that it takes two to five days for a mouthful of food to go through all the various digestive processes and come out the other end looking unrecognizable.
First, though, this all starts with one bite. Between the chewing action of your mouth and the enzymes and lubrication from your saliva, you start to break down what youre eating, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains. Once the bite is small enough to swallow, your tongue pushes it to the back of your throat into your esophagus, which begins to contract automatically in a motion called peristalsis.
The first organ the newly chewed food encounters after this is the stomach. Muscles in your stomach walls churn the food and release acid and enzymes, slowly mixing the food into a paste called chyme. Your stomach gradually releases the chyme into the small intestine, which reduces it further by mixing it with enzymes from the pancreas and from bacteria, along with bile from the liver, all while pushing the chyme further through the digestive tract. The walls of the small intestine absorb the extracted nutrients and water, which move into your bloodstream.
What Do Muscle Spasms Feel Like
Muscle spasms range in intensity from mild, uncomfortable twitches to significant discomfort to intense, severe pain. The spastic muscle may feel harder than normal to the touch and/or appear visibly distorted. It may twitch. Spasms typically last from seconds to 15 minutes or longer, and may recur multiple times before going away.
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Other Causes May Include
- Stomach ulcers these are sores which can develop on the stomach lining, which are made worse by eating certain foods. Abdominal pain is usually the main symptom. See your GP as stomach ulcers require treatment.
- Irritable bowel syndrome a common condition which affects digestion. Adjusting your diet can help.
- Food intolerance whether its lactose, gluten, fructose or sulphites, an undiagnosed food intolerance could cause stomach cramps after meals. Try keeping a food diary to monitor your symptoms and identify a pattern.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Get medical help right away or call your local emergency number if you:
- Are currently being treated for cancer
- Are unable to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
- Are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool
- Have chest, neck, or shoulder pain
- Have sudden, sharp abdominal pain
- Have pain in, or between, your shoulder blades with nausea
- Have tenderness in your belly, or your belly is rigid and hard to the touch
- Are pregnant or could be pregnant
- Had a recent injury to your abdomen
- Have difficulty breathing
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First Up: Is It Actually Your Stomach That Hurts
Before we get into the most common causes of a crampy middle after eating, lets clear up something many of us have been unknowingly getting wrong since we were kids. When you say your stomach hurts, chances are youre talking about the part of your torso between your chest and your hips. This part of your body is technically your abdomen. Your stomach starts a bit under your chest on your left side and extends down into the middle of your torso.
Its no surprise, then, that figuring out exactly what hurts in this general area can be tricky. There are organs that overlap, Nitin Ahuja, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of clinical medicine in the gastroenterology department in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, tells SELF. The small intestine occupies a lot of space, and the colon sort of drapes around the entire abdomen and overlaps of the stomach as well.
Also, depending on what is going on, the nerves in the abdomen may not be as good at localizing pain, Dr. Ahuja says, so it might be hard to tell where the pain is coming from. Keep all of this in mind as you try to figure out what might be causing your post-eating cramps. Now, for the next bit of background information you need to know, since high school biology was a long time ago for some of us
Visit The Sydney Gut Clinic
If stomach cramps are persistent and if you experience them very often, it is necessary to treat the underlying cause behind them. Schedule an appointment with us to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
At Sydney Gut Clinic, we have a team of gastrointestinal specialists trained to identify the causes behind symptoms you experience and direct you to the best treatment options.
Which conditions can cause stomach cramps?
Stomach cramps are often a result of your body reacting to medical complications in the digestive tract. Most of the time they are triggered as a result of certain types of food.
If cramps occur outside your dietary habits, it may mean a different gastrointestinal condition like inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal obstruction, or even food poisoning and intestinal infections. Visit a gastrointestinal specialist to get an accurate diagnosis of the stomach cramps you experience.
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How Are Muscle Spasms Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will need to know, in addition to your medical history and medications, information about:
- How bad the pain is.
- When do the muscle spasms happen .
- How long the cramps last.
- What the muscle spasms feel like.
- When the muscle spasms started.
- Any other symptoms youre experiencing.