Muscle spasms in stomach are the twitching feelings or sharp pains that you experience in your upper or lower abdomen. These cramps happen because of the contractions of your gut or stomach walls. The spasms may cause you mild twitching to sharp cramping pains in the stomach. (1)
Stomach spasms are not life-threatening. But if they are persistent, they could indicate some underlying health condition. It is essential that you don’t ignore a stomach spasm and learn the exact cause and treat it at the earliest. (2)
In this article, you’ll learn
- Common Symptoms of stomach spasms
- Causes of stomach spasms
- Best natural remedies for stomach spasms
- Tips for preventing stomach spasms
Common Symptoms of Muscle Spasms in Stomach
Other than twitching and acute pain in the stomach, you can detect a stomach spasm from the following signs: (3)
- Bloating and satiety
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sweating profusely
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blood in stool
Causes of Muscle Spasms in Stomach
- Food poisoning
Food poisoning is one of the primary reasons for stomach spasms. (4) Consuming contaminated food and drink, any bacteria or virus such as salmonella may cause you food poisoning. Food poisoning may also cause you vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, muscle pains, fatigue, etc. (5)
There are many ways that you form gas in your stomach. Eating too fast, drinking carbonated beverages, and smoking can lead to excess air reaching your stomach. The accumulated air may create burps. These burps are usual and may not cause you stomach spasms.
However, a bacterium Helicobacter pylori may cause you chronic belching, gas or bloating. (6)
It is because this bacterium creates acid reflux, ulcers, and gastritis. Abdominal spasms or cramps accompany these stomach disorders.
- Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu
Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu is the infection in your intestines. (7) It is similar to food poisoning. You may suffer from stomach flu because of consuming contaminated food and drink. Viral gastroenteritis can cause stomach spasms, diarrhea, nausea, and fever.
Indigestion or dyspepsia is one of the common digestive problems that cause stomach spasms. Indigestion happens due to the stomach acid reacting with the mucosa or the sensitive protective lining of your stomach. (8)
As a result, you feel irritation, discomfort, and pain in the upper abdomen. Some of the possible reasons for indigestion are: Eating or drinking contaminated food, an infection and even some medications.
Heartburn or acid reflux is another reason for abdominal spasms. It is a widespread digestive problem. The estimation of American College of Gastroenterology shows at least 15 million Americans suffer from heartburn on a daily basis. (9) You experience heartburn when your stomach acid travels backward into your food pipe or esophagus.
- Gastroesophageal reflux or GERD
When you experience heartburn persistently or more than twice a week, it becomes GERD or chronic acid reflux. (10) GERD may cause you a severe form of abdominal spasms or pains.
Constipation is infrequent bowel movements that cause difficulty in passing feces and a hard stool. (11) When you have constipation, you naturally strain yourself to release the stool. This process may stretch your intestines and cause you lower abdominal cramps.
Postmodern world is full of anxiety, insomnia, social, and psychological stress. These conditions have the worst effects on your digestive health. Mild or chronic stress can lead to severe stomach cramps. The research at Harvard Medical School proves the existence of ‘brain-gut axis’ or the connection between the stressful brain and an upset stomach. (12)
- Menstrual cramps
Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrheal before or during your period can also cause twitching pain in your lower abdomen. Your uterus muscles contract and it may press the nearby blood vessels.
Thus there’s an interruption in the oxygen flow to the uterus. That’s why you feel severe pains in your stomach, the thighs and the hips. (13)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
It’s a complication in your large intestine due to some infection, weak nervous system, intestinal muscle contractions and changes in gut microflora. (14) IBS can lead to stomach spasms along with diarrhea, constipation, and gas.
- Food allergies
Stomach spasms may also occur as a result of food allergies. You suffer from food allergies when your immune system reacts to specific food items that you consume. There are 8 types of food items responsible for nearly 90% of all food allergies: Eggs, Shellfish, Milk, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Wheat, and Soy. (15)
Appendicitis is an inflammation of your appendix tube in the large intestine. You suffer from a sudden excruciating pain due to appendix inflammation. It is advisable to go for a surgery and remove the appendix when you diagnose this condition. (16)
Abdominal spasms and bleeding are early signs of pregnancy. You experience the pains in the lower abdomen.
You might have experienced hunger pangs at some point in your life. When your stomach is empty, it sends a signal to the brain for food. You experience a twitching and cramping feeling in your stomach at this time.
Even a lack of liquid intake can cause your stomach muscles to cramp and pain. Because of dehydration, the body’s internal tissues begin to fail, and abdominal muscles are part of them.
Peptic or gastric ulcers are wounds in your stomach lining and small intestine. Helicobacter pylori bacterium, spicy food, excessive use of painkillers may cause you ulcers. Severe stomach spasms are the most common signs of ulcers. (18)
Home Remedies for Stomach Spasms
1. Warm water
Warm water is the primary home remedy to relax your stomach muscles and relieve discomforts. You can place a hot compress or warm towel on your stomach region to relieve pains. (19)
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera gel has a reputation for reducing digestive and skin disorders. It is full of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. (20) These can effectively combat the bacterial infections and soothe the pains in your stomach. Just mix 4 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel with water and drink it every morning. You’ll notice the relief instantly.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar or ACV is a ‘cure all’ home remedy. It has potential benefits for your stomach disorders as well. The anti-oxidants of ACV are particularly beneficial to relieve stomach spasms caused by excessive gas. (21)
Add a tablespoon of ACV with warm water and consume it twice a day. ACV will reduce the gas in no time and relieve the stomach pains.
4. Baking soda
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is not just a cooking ingredient. It has exceptional medical values. In fact, baking soda can efficiently cure indigestion, heartburn and give relief from ulcer pains. Its natron minerals can neutralize the stomach acid and ease abdominal cramps. (22)
Mix ½ a teaspoon of baking soda with 2 cups of warm water. Drink the solution after your meals to get rid of stomach cramps.
5. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds can effectively treat your stomach disorders such as gas, acid reflux, etc. and relieve pains.
They come from the aromatic fennel herbs and are an essential ingredient in Asian cuisine. These sweet-scented seeds contain a long list of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and flavonoids.
Just munch on a teaspoon of fennel seeds after your meals to relieve stomach cramps.
Ginger is an easy to reach kitchen ingredient at your home. From ancient time onwards, it is a popular home remedy for stomach disorders and pains. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can effectively soothe the stomach muscles cramps and fight off infections. (23)
Suck and munch on a piece of ginger or make yourself a cup of ginger tea to benefit from this miracle ingredient.
Yogurt has probiotic properties. These can help ease the discomforts and pains in the digestive tracts. Yogurt is a very potent agent to treat indigestion. Help yourself with a cup of yogurt after each meal to boost your digestive system. (24)
8. Peppermint leaves
You can chew on a few peppermint leaves or brew them with your tea to relieve stomach spasms.
9. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is rich in anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the stomach walls and relieve pains. You already know that stressful life is a prominent cause of stomach spasms. Chamomile tea is an antidepressant and can deal with your stress as well. (26)
Drink a cup of chamomile tea before you go to bed every night. You’ll see an excellent result in few days.
Tips for Preventing Muscle Spasms in Stomach
In case you are suffering from abdominal pains because of indigestion, stress, heartburn, gas, constipation, etc. the following tips can help you prevent it. You need medical attention for stomach spasms that come with inflammations and ulcers.
- Drink enough water throughout the day. If you are dehydrated, your body loses electrolytes. This results in bouts of stomach spasms.
- Maintain hygiene. It is essential to wash raw vegetables and fruits before eating them. You should also drink purified or boiled water. This way you can avoid inflammations and food poisoning. Washing hands before eating are the priority to prevent contaminations.
- Fiber diet. Your abdominal health depends much on your lifestyle and food habit. You need to recheck your diet for avoiding stomach spasms. A low fiber diet may help you with gas problems. Whereas, increasing fiber intake can resolve constipation and IBS related abdominal pains.
- Alcohol and spicy food. Avoid spicy, fatty foods and alcohol intake if you are suffering from stomach spasms. These can worsen the stomach condition by causing gas and bloating.
Stomach spasms can be as simple as a natural muscle contraction in your stomach.
You can treat such spasms at home with the above mentioned natural remedies.
However, persistent stomach spasms are an indicator of some underlying stomach diseases. It is advisable that you consult with a doctor immediately in such severe conditions.
If you have tried any of the home remedies mentioned above, share your experience with us. Write in the comment section below.