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What is an abdominal cramp?
The pain, especially due to contraction of a muscle that occurs in the abdomen region of the body. It is also called belly ache or abdominal pain.
About abdominal cramp –
It may occur in any organ of the abdomen, in any digestion related organ like stomach, small or large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, aorta (the large blood vessel running down inside the abdomen), appendix or kidneys. It may even start in some other region like the chest or pelvic region. The intensity of the abdominal pain may differ as per the causes. Mild cramps may be caused due to gas or cramp of viral gastroenteritis. In some life threatening conditions like colon cancer or appendicitis in its early stage, there may be a mild pain or no pain at all.
What causes abdominal cramp?
Some causes are not very serious like painful menstruation, gastritis (inflammation in the lining of the stomach), mild food poisoning, mild diarrhea, stress related gastrointestinal upset. Other causes like appendicitis, serious food poisoning, gall bladder attacks, ulcerative colitis and parasitic infections can be serious.
Home remedies for abdominal cramps –
Sufficient amount of water or other fluids has to be consumed. In case of mild pain and vomiting, solid food has to be avoided for the first few hours and then once the pain and vomiting ceases, mild food can be consumed. If the pain is intense, or after meals, or in case of heartburn or indigestion, antacids may be taken. It is advisable to avoid citrus fruits, high fat content food, fried stuffs, tomatoes, coffee, tea or alcoholic beverages. H2 blockers (like Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac) may also be tried. The physician has to be contacted if the situation worsens. Medications like Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other narcotic pain medications should not be taken without a prescription from the physician.
Prevention of abdominal pain –
These simple yet effective measures can be taken to keep abdominal cramps at bay –
1. Consuming well balanced and high fiber diet and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
2. Consuming sufficient quantities of water.
3. Eating small amount of foods at regular intervals.
4. Avoiding foods causing gas.
5. Maintaining regular exercise regimen.
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