Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea
Although stomach cramps may last for a few minutes, they can be quite hurting. Stomach cramps give an unpleasant feeling due to involuntarily contraction of the stomach muscles. When these irregular muscle contractions are followed by increased frequency in defecation (diarrhea), one can not take it lightly as these are the signs of an underlying digestive disorder.
Some cases, the cramping is confined to a specific part of the stomach, indicating that an organ within the stomach is not working properly. This could be your gallbladder, pancreas or the intestines. However, if the cramp like pain affects a major part of your stomach, it is often due to overeating and inactive way of life that leads to gas, indigestion and bloating.
Many individuals experience stomach cramps and diarrhea in the morning. This is often the result of bad eating habits, excessive alcohol or coffee consumption. Gastrointestinal disorders that cause these health issues are offered below:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Abdominal cramping accompanied by loose movements is an indication of irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is an intestinal problem that can cause moderate to severe stomach pain. Diagnosed in 20% of the world's population, this intestinal disorder particularly targets the colon (the large intestine), that leads to digestion problems. Overeating and excess alcohol consumption are the main contributing elements to IBS.
Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas can also trigger abdominal cramps and bowel dysfunction that manifests in the form of watery bowel movement. As we all know, pancreas is a tongue shaped, glandular organ, around 15 cm long and depends on the abdominal region at the rear of the stomach. The pancreas is mainly associated with producing enzymes and digestive juice that allow the body to absorb and digest ingested food. It is observed that pancreatitis is often diagnosed in alcoholics and people affected with autoimmune disorders. No matter what the cause is, pancreatitis symptoms that occur are bad digestion, gas, nausea and loose stools.
Cholecystitis: In cholecystitis, the gallbladder, a muscular organ located below the liver, appears inflamed. The main task of the gallbladder is to collect bile (gastrointestinal juice) from the liver and pass it on to the stomach to promote digestion. Formation of gallstones in the gallbladder is the most common cause of cholecystitis. Cholecystitis patients typically complain about cramping pain in the right side abdominal region and suffer from unwanted changes in healthy bowel function such as diarrhea. As the condition progresses, it may affect the liver and cause jaundice.
Diverticulitis: Studies show that people who have actually crossed 60 years of age, tend to deal with diverticulosis, a condition in which sac like structures (pouches, also referred to as diverticula) form on the the inner wall of the large intestine (colon). In most cases, these multiple pouches take place in the lower left region of the colon. These pouches are harmless and typically do not interfere with normal bowel function. Hence, many do not even realize that they are having diverticula. However, when these pouches get swollen due to an infection, the condition is referred to as diverticulitis. This condition is characterized by cramps that usually happen in the left side stomach. Apart from cramping, diverticulitis likewise disturbs normal bowel habits, which may lead to bloody and watery stools.
- Appendicitis: Appendicitis causes inflammation of the appendix, a small 4-inch tubular structure at the start of the large intestine.
- Cramps that cause sharp pain in the right side abdominal region is the most common symptom of appendicitis.
- Besides causing major stubborn belly discomfort and fever, patients may also experience diarrhea or irregularity.
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- Stomach Infections: Infections that target the digestive system can also trigger health problems such as stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis.
- Abdominal cramps in addition to diarrhea and vomiting are the common symptoms of a variety of stomach conditions.
- People with stomach problems, often lose the desire to have food.
- Abdominal pain is often regarded as a precursor to stomach ulcers.
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Formation of cancerous growth in the colon often activates chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain. Until the cancerous tumor ends up being quite large, symptoms usually are mild, hence, go unnoticed. However, once the cancer spreads significantly rectal bleeding that may manifest in the form of bloody diarrhea, is often observed.
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Crohn's Disease: When the digestive tract gets inflamed, the condition is referred to as Crohn's disease. The repercussions of Crohn's disease include loose stools and stomach pain. Sometimes, inflammation is detected in a particular portion of the digestive tract that leads to moderate stomach pain and diarrhea. Crohn's disease sometimes triggers formation of little sores (open wounds) on the outside wall of the intestine. If the condition is left neglected, the sores may spread to inner intestinal wall, which may decrease appetite, ultimately causing significant weight reduction. Inflammation of the tissue in the digestive tract is a cause for concern as ingestion of foods, especially tough foods such as toasts can injure the tissue and trigger excessive bleeding. As a result, blood in stools might be detected during bowel evacuation.
- Medications: Intake of certain medicines such as dexedrine, might also bring health problems such as watery stools and abdominal cramps.
- These side effects are typically observed when drugs such as dexedrine are mistreated.
- Overuse of prescription medications is one of the most common causes of abdominal cramps and frequent defecation.
Gastrointestinal disorder: Eating contaminated food items often cause food poisoning, which lot of times is not serious but can cause diarrhea and is accompanied by stomach cramps.
Maintaining good food hygiene, avoiding milk products and following food safety practices such as cooking it properly is the mainstay of the treatment for stomach cramps and diarrhea. Keep in mind, that an appointment with the doctor is essential when these health concerns do not go away or keep recurring at short intervals. Even an intestinal tract blockage can cause stomach upset and discomfort. Therefore, diagnosing the cause and treating it at the earliest will work in favor of the patient and prevent further complications.
Damion is a lead writer at zoejo.com, a site about health, lifestyle and fitness. Previously, Damion worked as a advertising guru at a well-known tech software web site. When he's not scouting for new content, Damion enjoys skydiving and rock climbing.