Stomach Spasm

The Underlying Causes Of A Stomach Spasm And Related Conditions

A stomach spasm is an involuntary muscle contraction or cramp, can be in the abdominal area or the stomach. It may be a stabbing or burning sensation, as if something is clamping down on part of your insides. Other ways to describe it are a lurch, twinge, or “jumping”. A visual representative of this might be to think of the palm of your hand opened and relaxed, then involuntarily forming a tight fist. 

A stomach spasm is not usually serious.  However, if you have a painful spasm it can be alarming.  Spasms or cramps tend to be sudden and unexpected, adding to your stress about their possible causes.

These muscle contractions may be very brief, almost instantaneous, or may continue for several minutes or more. Long lasting spasms or very sharp pain should be diagnosed promptly to rule out serious problems. The spasm may be related to problems of the colon, appendix, urinary tract, cervix or vaginal problems in women, among others.

Some conditions that could cause a stomach spasm include:

  1. Menstrual period
  2. Diarrhea, indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Severe stress or situational anxiety
  5. Stomach flue, food poisoning
  6. Strenuous exercise or lifting in which the stomach muscles are pulled or over taxed
  7. Over use of laxatives or antacids
  8. Diverticulitis

Several other conditions could be related to stomach spasm or pain, which necessitate medical intervention as quickly as possible.  Those include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Stomach cancer
  2. Inflamed pancreas
  3. Ulcer
  4. A rupture or tear of an internal organ
  5. Blood flow blockage
  6. Appendicitis
  7. Peritonitis: inflammation of lining of the abdominal cavity
  8. Heart attack
  9. Pneumonia,
  10.  Twisting of the testicles
  11.  Diabetic ketoacidosis,
  12.  Porphyria
  13.  Sickle cell disease
  14.  Poisoning and insect bites, such as black widow and scorpion
  15.  Gastroparesis

There is also some research on the relationship between stomach spasms and the vagus nerve.  This encompasses 2 nerves, called vagi (plural of vagus), which run between the brain and the stomach, and affect the heart. This nerve is named vagus, meaning wandering, because it connects many parts of the body and affects multiple bodily functions. The vagus nerve helps the brain interpret the bodies’ dietary needs and regulating of the heartbeat.                                                                    
Gastroparesis is caused by damage to stomach muscles or the vagus nerve. It is not the same as GERD but is often misdiagnosed as such. Gastroparesis is related to stomach motility – which means the immobilization of process for digestion of food.  If you suspect this you can take bifidopholis and acidophilus.  Walking immediately after meals for one hour may help also. At the same time, discuss with your doctor.

As you can see a stomach spasm is difficult to trace.  You should become familiar with symptoms of the above conditions in order to see if they match your symptoms.  Then seek treatment professional diagnose of any disorder(s) you suspect are causing the stomach spasm.

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