How to Get Rid of Stomach Cramps: 7 Causes and Cures

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Stomach cramps are the worst. They lead to missed workdays and hours of agony in the bathroom. Worse, they can stem from different causes. 

Discovering what lies behind your pain is half the battle in finding relief. Here’s how to get rid of stomach cramps depending on what brought on your pain. 

1. Muscle Strain 

Your abdominals have a thick wall of muscle protecting them. However, the tissue isn’t different from elsewhere. You can strain these the same way you can your bicep or hamstring, often when you lift or twist the wrong way. 

You treat this cause of stomach cramps the same way you would any other muscle strain. You can remember the treatment by the acronym RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. 

  • Rest: Take a day or two off from the gym. If need be, use a cane or walking stick to help you when rising from chairs. 
  • Ice: Please ensure you wrap your ice pack in cloth so that it doesn’t stick to your skin. 
  • Compression: You don’t want to squeeze your abdominals too tightly. However, you might get some support and relief from a girdle if you have one. 
  • Elevation: You can’t elevate your abdominal area, but you can ensure your chair has a supportive backrest so that your muscles can relax. 

2. Dehydration 

Stomach cramps can indicate dehydration. Health experts generally recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. However, your needs vary depending on your weight, activity level and climate. 

To get rid of stomach cramps from this cause, sip up. However, you don’t want to guzzle if you’re parched — you could end up vomiting and dehydrate further. Your best bet is to carry a reusable water bottle with you and use it throughout the day. 

3. Menstruation 

When Aunt Flo pulls into town, it’s normal to experience a few stomach cramps. However, you can take measures to ease the ache. 

Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory treatments are often your best bet. Ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin fall into this category. 

You might also have luck with seed cycling to regulate your hormonal cycles. This holistic method involves eating flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds during certain times of the month. The lignans these plant-based foods contain make the magic happen. 

4. Gas 

You probably don’t wonder why you have stomach cramps if you ate a monster-sized bean burrito for lunch. However, those legumes are the only things that cause gas. 

You can treat this cause of stomach cramps with an OTC antigas treatment. Some people report considerable success using activated charcoal. The extra spaces in the charcoal trap gas molecules and work even better with simethicone, which breaks apart gas bubbles.

5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a little-understood disorder. It produces symptoms similar to those seen in inflammatory bowel disease. However, medical tests don’t show the extensive scarring seen in ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease. 

Many things may contribute to irritable bowel syndrome. Some people believe undiagnosed food allergies might contribute to this condition. If you suspect this cause, you can try an elimination diet to see if you can unearth the offending substance. It may take time — be patient. You can also talk to your doctor about allergy testing if you have coverage. 

Another avenue to explore is the gut-brain axis. Your intestinal bacteria can send messages to your brain — and vice-versa. Try stress-mitigation techniques like yoga, meditation and journaling to see if taming your tension decreases your symptoms. 

6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

UC and Crohn’s are potentially disabling diseases. UC affects only the colon, while Crohn’s can cause painful, scarring lesions anywhere along the digestive tract. 

Your doctor will need to perform tests such as sigmoidoscopy to confirm your diagnosis. Treatment is often lifelong and consists of both medications and possible surgical intervention. 

7. Something You Ate 

Your stomach could cramp up in knots if you ate something that didn’t agree with you. If you find yourself getting sick about six hours after a questionable meal — or even one you thought was fine — suspect this cause. 

In most cases, you don’t have to do anything but wait to get rid of this cause of stomach cramps. Time will eventually heal you as the offending substance passes through your digestive tract. However, if you develop a fever, dizziness or lose consciousness, you should seek medical attention. 

How to Get Rid of Stomach Cramps

Please don’t let a pain in the gut interrupt your day. Learn how to get rid of stomach cramps by determining the cause and choosing the right remedy. 

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