Get Informed, Get Well Soon – Stomach Spasm SOS
Sooner or later it hits all of us – unpleasant stomach spasm can rob patients of their sleep and all plans for the day have to be put off. But why do we experience these spasms, and what is the best way to provide first aid? Read on to find out about ways to calm down your tummy and give yourself a break.
To move and digest food, the bowel is usually working 24/7. However, there are several reasons why this natural mechanism may be irritated and disturbed, and stomach spasm is a reaction to a troubled system.
Generally spoken, stomach spasm is a temporary condition and can usually be related to stress, agitation or even too much coffee. Bad eating habits are certainly cause for stomach issues, as well as a particularly hearty meal containing ingredients that your tummy may not be used to. Similarly, fried and oily foods can have the same effect, as well as excessive intake of alcohol. If one of these things is reason for the discomfort, it usually lasts for about a day and is nothing to worry about. However, if it lasts for many days or even weeks, it is crucial to see a doctor about it. For instance, spasms can occur as a result of irritable bowel syndrome where the patient does not only experience stomach pain, but also diarrhoea and occlusion.
Furthermore, there are various severe reasons that could cause stomach spasm, such as gastro-intestinal diseases (one of the most common form is salmonella), food poisoning (often related to fish), tapeworms, unknown allergies, appendicitis and a disturbed blood flow. Especially when it may be a sign of tapeworm, allergies or appendicitis, the patient must seek medical attention and get treated.
While severe causes need to be treated medically with the help of a doctor, stomach spasm can generally be healed with home remedies or over-the-counter medication.
For a harmless indigestion it is sufficient to take a break (a day off work), drink plenty of herbal teas such as camomile, peppermint, ginger and fennel, and simply relax. A hot-water bottle can also ease the discomfort, and the pain should be gone within a few hours. Very important is a strictly healthy diet in the following weeks and it is crucial to avoid foods that are too fatty, too spicy or too heavy. If you also experience diarrhoea, salt can help which you can eat in form of pretzel sticks.
Water is also important, and it should not be taken in ice-cold but rather at room temperature or lukewarm. Babies in particular can experience stomach spasm in their first 3 months because their bowel mechanism is simply not stable enough. Since babies are usually not huge fans of camomile tea, slightly sweetened fennel tea seems to be a good alternative to calm the little ones down and ease their pain.
Women often experience shivering (ague), fever and stomach spasm before their monthly period begins. This is often related to hormones rather than infections or virus. If this is the case, the best remedy is also relaxing and keeping warm while your doctor may be able to give you further advice if this is a regular body reaction to ‘the time of the month’.
If home remedies are only showing little or no effect, the next step is the chemist. You may choose herbal options, but for severe cases your pharmacist may be able to recommend you a stronger medication which is suitable for your particular case. It is important to remember that invasive medication, such as many regular painkillers, can damage the already irritated stomach or bowel.
So before you reach for pharmaceuticals simply give yourself and your tummy a break and spend the day in bed with a cup of herbal tea.