Stomach spasms are uncontrollable muscular movements in the abdominal area. They may be sudden and painful. Although the occasional stomach spasm is normal, prolonged bouts are likely the consequence of an underlying condition. Disorders impacting the gastrointestinal tract, like gastroparesis and irritable bowel syndrome, are particularly prevalent with stomach spasms. Other causes can include infections or pregnancy.
Inflammatory issues with the lining of the stomach are one major cause of stomach muscle spasms. Invasive substances such as viruses and bacteria can infect these areas, causing irritation and resulting spasms. Individuals with levels of food sensitivity or food intolerance may also be vulnerable. Allergies to foods like dairy products can cause inflammation and stomach spasms in these cases.
Similar digestive disorders can create stomach issues as well. For example, gastroesopageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause imbalances in the amount of acid the stomach produces. The muscle that keeps acid out of the esophagus is also faulty in this condition. These combined abnormalities may facilitate both stomach spasms and esophageal spasms.
A disease known as gastroparesis also holds stomach spasms among its chief symptoms. The vagus nerve, which controls the muscular contractions that move food through the digestive system, malfunctions in this condition. As a result, muscular function in the stomach is hindered and food passes slowly in the tract. A number of stomach ailments can follow, including nausea, burning sensations, and spasms. GERD is one common cause of this condition, as are diabetes and other chronic disorders.
In addition, bowel disorders in the intestines can cause abdominal issues like stomach spasms. Irritable bowel syndrome serves as one such example. Changes in bowel habits — namely diarrhea or constipation — enlarge and irritate the intestinal tract, which in turn puts similar pressures on the connective stomach area. Spasms, along with pain and indigestion, may therefore result.
Uncomfortable stomach twitches may further occur in both a mother and a child. A somewhat common condition in infants called colic causes sudden short bursts of abdominal pain and muscle spasms. Unexplainable crying is the typical indicator of this problem. Stomach spasms that feel like cramps are also not uncommon in pregnant women. While they may be painful, these spasms are often not of a serious nature.
Treatment for stomach spasms depends on the origin of the contractions. Sometimes, the spasms are just part of a body’s quirks and will go away without damage or intervention. Any prolonged symptoms, however, should be examined by a physician. Correction of underlying conditions is usually key, and these treatments may range from antibiotics to antacids.