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Cause of Stomach Cramps: What is the Possible Reason?

Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, MD · General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 03, 2021

Cause of Stomach Cramps: What is the Possible Reason?

The cause of stomach cramps can vary widely from person to person. Especially since people use the term stomach cramps to refer to stomach pain in general.

In most cases, stomach cramps are not a sign of anything serious, but it’s still a good idea to get it checked out, especially if it is a recurring problem. Read on to learn more about possible causes of stomach cramps, and when you should be worried.

What Causes Gas and Bloating in the Stomach? – The Different Culprits

What is a possible cause of stomach cramps?

Stomach cramps are commonly used by people to describe a general pain or discomfort in their abdomen. However, “true’ stomach cramps affect the muscles of the stomach, and people usually mistake it for any abdominal pain they feel.

This means that when a person says they have stomach cramps, it’s not always as simple as having indigestion or a stomachache. In some cases, it could be a more serious illness, or it could be as simple as having eaten too much food in a short span of time.

Here are a number of common conditions that can cause stomach cramps:

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS can be a possible cause of stomach cramps.

IBS can cause symptoms such as muscle cramps, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and even constipation. All of these symptoms can cause discomfort and pain in the stomach, which people usually refer to as stomach cramps.

The best way of dealing with irritable bowel syndrome is to be mindful of the food that you eat. You might notice that these symptoms usually appear when you eat or drink certain types of food and drink.

By avoiding these trigger foods, or eating less of these foods, you can control the symptoms of IBS.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning is another possible cause of stomach cramps. What happens is that when you consume food that has toxins or harmful bacteria, they start to irritate the lining of your stomach.

Aside from cramps, food poisoning can also cause diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Food poisoning usually goes away after a week or so, but if you feel the symptoms getting worse, or if you’re not getting any better, it would be best to visit your doctor.


Gastroenteritis refers to inflammation caused by parasites, bacteria, or a virus in the stomach. It is also one of the most common causes of stomach cramps.

Most cases of gastroenteritis are caused by a norovirus infection which comes from contaminated food or drink.

Gastroenteritis usually doesn’t require any treatment, and patients can recover in a few days. However, there is still a risk of dehydration because of diarrhea and vomiting, so if the symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to go to the hospital.

Eating too much, too quickly

Lastly, eating too much food in a short span of time is another cause of stomach cramps. People can experience discomfort and pain from eating too much, too quickly because the stomach tries to stretch beyond its usual capacity.

This can cause pain and discomfort, and not to mention other symptoms such as indigestion and acid reflux.

The best way to deal with this would be to chew your food slowly, and don’t eat too much food. This way, your stomach can accommodate all of the food you’re eating, and it can also digest the food properly.

Key Takeaways

In most cases, stomach cramps shouldn’t be a serious cause for concern. However, if you frequently experience stomach cramps, or the pain is becoming unbearable, it would be a good idea to visit your doctor.

It might be highly unlikely, but it’s possible that recurring stomach cramps can be a sign of a more serious illness. Getting it checked out sooner rather than later can help reduce the risk of serious complications, and ensure that you get the treatment that you need as soon as possible


Learn more about Stomach Ulcers here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Elfred Landas, MD

General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 03, 2021

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