Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea

The unpleasant symptoms of diarrhea, stomach pain and cramps are a nearly inescapable part of life. The sudden onset of these symptoms often signals the presence of an infection. The common causes include bacteria, viruses and parasites. When stomach pain and diarrhea occur frequently and last for a long time it often indicates underlying chronic digestive disorder which requires further evaluation. Simple home remedies can help relieve mild symptoms.

Causes of Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea

1. Food Poisoning

This condition results from the improper preparation, storage and handling of food. Contamination from viruses, bacteria, parasites or even just a toxins these organisms release causes diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low-grade fever, decreased appetite and fatigue. Severe cases can cause bloody diarrhea and must be quickly evaluated by a physician. Fortunately food poisoning is often self-limited, but young children and elderly persons may need medical care such as IV fluids and anti-nausea medicine.

2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The intestines are lined with muscles that contract to propel the food contents through the digestive tract. When the muscles contract to slowly, the food and digestive products become stagnant and constipation is often the result. On the other hand, too rapid transit through the intestinal tract results in improper absorption and diarrhea. Both conditions can produce gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach cramps and pain and even produce mucus in stool.

3. Lactose Intolerance

Dairy products, including milk and yogurt, contain a sugar called lactose. Certain persons are intolerant of lactose and the symptoms include bloating, excess gas and flatulence and stomach cramps. There are some over-the-counter products that help aid lactose digestion, but for those with severe intolerance avoidance is the best solution.

4. Crohn's Disease

This is a serious disease causing inflammation of the digestive tract. The small intestine is most often affected. The ileum is often involved and symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, joint pains, malabsorption, weight loss and fever.

5. Gastroenteritis

This generic term implies inflammation in the intestinal track. It is caused by viruses, bacteria or the toxins generated from the bacteria themselves. Common symptoms include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, vomiting and also muscle aches. Sometimes a low-grade fever can accompany gastroenteritis. Most the time symptoms resolve their own with proper care such a hydration and eating a bland diet.

6. Other Causes

A variety of other causes can result in abdominal pain and cramps. Common causes include: traveler’s diarrhea, diverticulosis, diverticulosis, antibiotic use, drug toxicity, hypothyroidism and a variety of other infections caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella or cholera.

Remedies for Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea

Many times a simple change in your diet and lifestyle will provide significant relief for stomach cramps and diarrhea.

1. OTC Medications


Over-the-counter acid reducers such as antacids can help with stomach pain, cramps and bloating. Antacids can even neutralize the amount of acid in your stomach or actually cut down the production of the acids by your stomach. Be aware that some antacids can worsen constipation. Be sure to drink plenty of water. When a person finds himself or herself relying on these medications on a frequent basis, it’s time to see a doctor.

2. Cumin


The health benefits of cumin extend beyond helping with abdominal cramps and pain. Try adding cumin seeds to boiling water to create hot cumin tea. Ready-made options are available in many health food stores as well. Also try adding ¼ teaspoon of powdered cumin in a glass of buttermilk. Mix in ¼ teaspoon of black pepper and drink this three times a day to alleviated cramps and pain.

3. Ginger


Ginger has been used for centuries to help digestive processes. Ginger helps soothe nausea and is helpful in pregnancy. Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties to alleviate arthritis pain and stress. Try finely chopping ginger and seeping with your favorite tealeaves for 2-3 minutes. Chewing on candied ginger slices during the day will also ease stomach distress.

4. Peppermint/ Chamomile Tea


Brew traditional peppermint or chamomile tea to soothe stomach problems. Mint also is an excellent remedy. Add a small amount of honey to improve the taste. These are ideal when you’re sick, have eaten too much or are affected by the flu.

5. Baking soda


Baking soda is an acid reducing remedy. Place one-half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of lukewarm water. Make sure to mix thoroughly and drink the solution. Try another half a glass in 30 minutes if the symptoms persist.

6. Orange peel tea


Chop an organic orange peel. Put it into a pot and boil with 1 pint of water. After it is cool, add a splash of honey or sugar. This will aid in digestion and relieve stomach cramps and gas.

7. Fenugreek seeds


Mix one half-teaspoon Fenugreek seeds with water and drink the mixture. This works well for adults with diarrhea, but the safety and benefit in children has yet to be established. Be wary if you have ongoing chronic diarrhea. It’s time to see a doctor.

8. Blueberries


Blueberries are among nature’s most potent antioxidants. The also possess antibacterial properties and are useful in combating diarrhea. Swedish doctors regularly prescribe a cup of dried blueberry soup to help with intestinal problems. Blueberry root also works well for relieving diarrhea.

When to See a Doctor

When a persistent change in bowel habits develops, or if there are other signs such as severe pain, fever or blood in the stool, it is time to see a doctor. Serious conditions, such as colon cancer, are best treated early on in the disease process.

Your doctor can search for the cause of symptoms, rule out other potentially more serious or dangerous conditions and recommend appropriate ways to alleviate your symptoms.

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