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 early morning. This is often the result of bad eating habits, excessive alcohol or coffee consumption. Digestion disorders that cause these health concerns 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 digestive tract disorder particularly targets the colon (the large intestine), that leads to digestion problems. Overeating and excess alcohol consumption are the main contributing factors 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 all of us know, pancreas is a tongue shaped, glandular organ, around 15 cm long and depends on the stomach at the rear of the stomach. The pancreas is primarily associated with producing enzymes and digestive juice that allow the body to take in and digest consumed 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 poor digestion, gas, nausea and loose stools.
Cholecystitis: In cholecystitis, the gallbladder, a muscular organ located below the liver, appears irritated. The main task of the gallbladder is to collect bile (digestive 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 stomach and suffer from unwanted changes in healthy bowel function such as diarrhea. As the condition progresses, it may affect the liver and cause jaundice.
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Diverticulitis: Studies show that people who have crossed 60 years of age, tend to experience diverticulosis, a condition in which sac like structures (pouches, also referred to as diverticula) type 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 safe and generally do not interfere with regular bowel function. Hence, many don't 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 typical 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 beginning of the large intestine.
- Cramps that cause sharp pain in the right side stomach is the most common symptom of appendicitis.
- Besides causing severe stubborn belly pain 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 throwing up 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.
- Colon Cancer: Persistent diarrhea followed by stomach cramps can also indicate colon cancer.
- Formation of cancerous growth in the colon often sets off chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Till the cancerous tumor becomes quite large, symptoms usually are moderate, for this reason, go unnoticed.
- However, once the cancer spreads significantly rectal bleeding that may manifest in the form of bloody diarrhea, is often observed.
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 found in a specific portion of the digestive tract that leads to moderate stomach pain and diarrhea. Crohn's disease sometimes triggers formation of small sores (open injuries) on the outside wall of the intestinal tract. If the condition is left untreated, the sores may spread to inner intestinal wall, which may decrease appetite, eventually causing significant weight reduction. Inflammation of the tissue in the digestive tract is a cause for concern as ingestion of foods, especially tough foodstuffs such as toasts can hurt the tissue and cause excessive bleeding. As a result, blood in stools might be detected during bowel evacuation.
- Medications: Intake of certain medications such as dexedrine, may also bring health problems such as watery stools and abdominal cramps.
- These side effects are generally observed when drugs such as dexedrine are abused.
- 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 a consultation with the doctor is essential when these health issues do not go away or keep repeating at short intervals. Even a digestive blockage can cause stomach upset and pain. Therefore, diagnosing the cause and treating it at the earliest will work in favor of the patient and prevent further complications.