Stomach pain is a common complaint with children and adults and can be caused by a number of things. With women there is usually a monthly complaint of menstrual cramps and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Stomach pain usually passes rapidly but in some cases symptoms are persistent so sufferers are often in a state of pain and discomfort. Severe stomach cramps can last for days. If this is the case for you and you find yourself incapacitated for days on end then get medical attention as soon as you can to check for a more serious underlying condition.
If you are one of those people who regularly suffers from stomach aches or cramps, this article talks about alternatives to conventional medications with complimentary therapies and natural cures. It also talks about common reasons why people suffer from stomach ailments.
Cramping of the stomach is the muscles in your abdominal area contracting and this can happen for various reasons; menstruation, eating too quickly, illnesses, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease as examples. With digestive stomach cramps you often suffer from diarrhoea, vomiting or fever too. Bacterial or viral infections like gastroenteritis and also hernias cause stomach cramps. Children often have stomach cramping because they have eaten too rapidly or they are constipated. Stomach cramping can also be a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
Monthly female periods cause light to severe cramps in most women and they are caused by chemicals being released by the body to contract the uterus and push out the lining. The cramps can last from a few hours to a few days and really varies from woman to woman. If you have higher levels of the chemical prostaglandin in your blood your cramps will probably be more severe. Cramps are also made worse if tissue or blood clots pass from the uterus into the cervix.
In terms of natural aid to relieve you of some of the pain you are suffering from, the use of heat is a common remedy. You can try using a hot water bottle on your tummy or place it behind your back or have a relaxing bath. These methods usually ease tension in the stomach area and improve your circulation. Exercise (although it is probably the LAST thing you want to do!) can relieve menstrual and stomach cramps because movement reduces the tension and improves the circulation too. If it is trapped wind that is causing you pain a brisk walk or some short exercise should release the wind from your body.
Yoga is fantastic for releasing trapped wind and helping relieve pain caused by menstruation and stomach aches.
Herbal medicines can help. Mint aids digestion, fennel and ginger ease nausea, cramp bark, false unicorn root and black cohosh help ease menstrual pain and the supplement magnesium can reduce or eliminate cramp pain.
Complimentary therapies such as acupuncture and acupressure are known to help in relieving abdominal cramps. There are specific areas in the lower legs that if applied pressure to will ease stomach pain.
If you suffer frequently with stomach cramps then avoid large meals and eating too quickly. Drink warmer drinks as cold beverages can make your stomach spasm. It might be worth checking with an allergist or nutritionist to see if you have a food allergy or intolerance.
It is important that you do not feel that you should suffer in silence with stomach and menstrual cramps. You do not have to just rely on conventional painkillers. Seek help from a trained practitioner who may be able to ease your pain in a more natural way.
By Eirian Hallinan