Natural cures for stomach cramps

Alternative medicine helping stomach pain and cramps

Stomach cramps, or general pain around the stomach, can be caused by any number of conditions. Abdominal pain is a common complaint in children and adults and usually passes quickly. However, for some people, stomach cramp symptoms can be persistent and for women, menstrual cramps are an ongoing problem with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Stomach cramp is painful, uncomfortable and can incapacitate people for days on end. If your stomach cramps are severe it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible as there may be a serious underlying condition.

For those people who suffer stomach cramps on a regular basis, natural cures and complementary therapies are a good alternative to traditional medications. In this article, we’ll attempt to cover the main causes of stomach cramps and take a look at the natural ways you can overcome stomach pain.

What causes stomach cramps and abdominal pain?

Stomach cramps are essentially the muscles in the abdominal area contracting. As we said previously, stomach cramps can be caused by any number of conditions but illness, menstruation, or eating foods too quickly are the most common causes. Digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease can lead to stomach cramps. Digestion related stomach cramps are typically accompanied by symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea or fever. Viral or bacterial infections such as gastroenteritis can cause abdominal cramping as can hernias. Children often suffer stomach cramps due to over-eating or constipation. Stomach cramps can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection.

A woman’s monthly menstruation can cause mild to severe cramps lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Menstrual cramps are caused when the body releases chemicals that contract the uterus and push the lining out of the body. This contraction leads to abdominal pain and can vary in its severity. Higher levels of the chemical called prostaglandin within the bloodstream can make the cramps worse. Menstrual cramps can also worsen if blood clots or tissue pass from the uterus into the cervix.

Relieving stomach cramps and menstrual cramps

Heat is often used as the first treatment for cramps. Try having a bath or placing a heat pad on the abdomen or behind the lower back to ease tension in the abdomen and improve circulation.

When suffering stomach cramps or menstrual cramps the last thing you want to do is move about but sometimes exercise can help relieve the pain. Movement can reduce tension in the muscles and increase circulation to the abdomen. If your stomach pain is caused by trapped wind, brief exercise can release the wind from your body so don’t just sit there in pain, even a quick walk around the block may help.

Yoga has a variety of positions that can make a difference to stomach pain caused by trapped wind, menstrual cramping or stomach aches.

Acupressure and Acupuncture are two other complementary therapies that can help to relieve cramps. Pressure applied to specific areas on the lower leg has been found to ease stomach pain. For non-specific abdominal pain, between 6 and 10 acupuncture sessions on a weekly basis should give long-lasting relief.

Herbal medicine has a number of natural remedies that alleviate stomach and menstrual cramping. Mint is known to aid digestion while nausea can be eased by fennel or ginger. Herbs such as cramp bark, false unicorn root and black cohosh are beneficial for menstrual cramps. Supplements such as magnesium can alleviate cramp pain and reduce reliance on medication.

Nutritionally, you should avoid large meals if you suffer stomach cramps on a regular basis (especially if you have a digestive disorder). Cold drinks are known to cause quick spasms in the stomach muscles and food allergies can also result in abdominal pain. Allergy intolerance testing can identify any foods you may have problems with while a trained nutritionist can develop a diet that will be fit for anyone with digestive disorder problems.

There’s no need to suffer in silence with stomach cramps or menstrual cramps, nor do you need to rely on conventional drugs to help. Visit a trained practitioner for the therapies we have mentioned above and start to relieve the pain of stomach cramps.

Article submitted by
Daniel Alexander, GoToSee Journalist

Date published
4/11/08

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