A defining portion of the digestive tract, the stomach guarantees proper digestion thanks to its chemical (mixing food items and gastric juices) and mechanical (churning) activity.
Indeed, this J-shaped organ can contain up to 4 quarts (liters) of food.
Although eating well is great, eating too much is big problem! This can lead to pain in the stomach.
And that’s not all!
Actually, other dietary habits, physiological and psychological factors may have a negative influence on this organ of the digestive system, and make life quite unbearable. In this article, what counts at this point is that stomach cramps can even reach the point where the patient is handicapped in his day to day activity.
As of this day, 20% of persons in the Western world complain of feeling stomach cramps at least once a week.
Stomach burns or stomach cramps are among the most common ailments in the world.
So what is it exactly? What might be its causes and symptoms? What solutions are there to alleviate, soothe this pain? Is relying on plants effective? If yes, how much?
Stomach cramps, what you need to know…
Definition and source of pain
The root word for stomach comes from Ancient Greek “στόμαχος”.
For Man, this is the part of the digestive tract, shaped like a pouch, that is located between the esophagus and the duodenum. It receives chewed food items that are drenched in saliva. These food items accumulate and then vigorous churning reduces these food bits into small shreds for it to be better digested.
Stomach cramps, what signals their presence?
Various symptoms make it easy to identify stomach cramps.
With distinctive pain patterns, stomach cramps are revealed by involuntary but often painful muscle contraction around the stomach cramps cavity.
There are several degrees in the intensity of these stomach cramps, and they’re usually located in the epigastric area (above the belly button and below the rib cage). They can last up to several hours.
Most often, this pain occurs (during the night) when the patient suffers from:
– digestive disorders that appear after meals
– temporary gastritis
– duodenal (or gastric) ulcers
But where does the pain (burning sensation, cramps) come from?
Source and causes of stomach cramps
There are multiple causes for stomach cramps.
The exact location of this abdominal pain often helps pinpoint the cause.
Most often, stomach cramps are triggered by:
– an inflammation of the stomach, liver, pancreatic peritoneum, intestine or colon
– an unbalanced diet, with rich, fatty, spicy foods
– intestinal occlusion
– drinking of nerve-stimulating drinks (alcohol, coffee, caffeine sodas…)
– various cancer-related pathologies
– digestive disorders (gastric reflux, gas build-up in the intestine, constipation…)
– renal colics (kidney stones) or urinary tract infections
– food poisoning
Note also that stomach cramps may appear during the last trimester of a pregnancy. This is due to production of progesterone which tends to release and loosen the muscles of the digestive tract.
Certain cases of painful menstruation connected to ovarian cysts or ectopic pregnancy have been recorded to cause or trigger stomach cramps.
Stress is also one of the possible indicators that can trigger stomach cramps.
Usually, the most affected persons are also those who tend to be irritable, hysterical, anxious and who wolf their food down without chewing it during meals.
The fact of eating very fast is thus detrimental to your health.
Treating stomach cramps with plants
To treat stomach cramps, it’s important to know what causes them.
Laxatives, antispasmodic, stomach plasters, black charcoal, and other medicines administered for benign pain are well-known.
However, certain natural remedies have been seen to be effective to treat these kinds of ailments.
To treat and soothe stomach cramps with plants, specialists will recommend herbal tea. The most common of these are based on or prepared from licorice, white willow, ginger, mallow, peppermint, basil, lemon balm, chamomile and even dill.
To that, you may add cabbage or potato juice.
How to prepare these plants
Although cabbage juice usually is taken in the form of small vials or ampules that can be purchased in a pharmacy, drugstore or organic lifestyle store, herbal tea and infusions are preparations you can do yourself:
– Ginger herbal tea (except in case of stomach ulcer)
Peel and then chop or grate a bit of fresh ginger. Boil it. Let steep for about 15 minutes. Filter, then drink 1 cup a day for a few days.
– Chamomile infusion
In a cup of boiling water, toss ⅓ oz (10 g) chamomile flowers. Let sit for ten minutes or so. Filter it out, and then drink (after meals).
– Peppermint infusion
In a cup of boiling water, toss 1/6 oz (5 g) of dried peppermint flowers and leaves. Steep for 8 minutes. Filter. Add a little honey and drink (after meals).
– Lemon balm infusion
In a cup of boiling water, pour 1 teaspoon lemon balm. Steep for a while. Filter and drink (after meals).
These infusions can be taken during bouts of stomach ulcers, or more regularly if you’re vulnerable to chronic pain.
Nota Bene: However, if symptoms persist, a medical opinion must be sought after.