What are the Common Causes of Stomach Pain and Cramping?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Stomach pain and cramping can be defined as discomfort anywhere between the chest and groin. This form of pain comes in many forms and is often a symptom of other illnesses. Appendicitis is a potentially serious problem for those suffering from extreme abdominal pain. Somewhat less serious conditions associated with stomach pain and cramps include heartburn and food poisoning. Abdominal discomfort is usually one of the first signs of a life-threatening illness such as colon cancer so it is important to visit a doctor if any stomach pains manifest themselves and remain a problem.

There are many different organs in the abdomen. Stomach pain and cramping can originate from any of them including the kidneys, the spleen, the appendix, and the aorta. The amount of pain felt in no way reflects the condition’s seriousness. Mild problems such as gas could cause excruciating pain. Cancer of the colon, in contrast, may be accompanied by a relatively small amount of pain.

Stomach pain and cramping could be a symptom of something more serious such as appendicitis. This is an inflamed appendix that could rupture. The patient experiences extreme pain as the abdomen becomes stiff and tender. A fever is also present, and this condition can constitute a medical emergency. It is important for patients suffering from what they suspect might be appendicitis to immediately go to hospital for care and possibly have the appendix removed.


Another common cause of stomach pain and cramping is heartburn. Symptoms of this condition include a feeling of burning which emanates from the esophagus. This sensation rises in the chest and may also affect the neck and throat. Heartburn occurs when the muscle that shuts off the esophagus as food enters the body fails to close properly. This leads to acidic reflux backing up into the esophagus, thereby causing the pain.

Food poisoning can also be a cause of stomach pain and cramping. This happens when food or liquid containing parasites, viruses, or bad bacteria such as E. coli is consumed. Food and drink can get contaminated in a number of different ways.

Meat, especially poultry, could come into contact with bacteria from the intestines of even one of the animals being processed. Water could come into contact with human waste or manure. If a food preparer does not properly wash his or her hands, for example, food poisoning could result. Even undercooked food or raw eggs can contribute to food poisoning.

One of the most serious illnesses that may cause stomach pain and cramping is colon cancer. This form of cancer begins in the large intestine, also known as the colon. This is one of the most common forms of cancer in the world. Along with diarrhea and unexplained weight loss, pain in the lower abdomen are a common symptom for colon cancer.


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