Stomach Spasms: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

They appear as involuntary contractions in the abdomen.

In a stomach spasm, the muscle is tight and stiff, and the stomach is tender to the touch. There are a wide variety of causes for muscle spasms.

Understanding your cause of stomach spasms can help prevent and treat them more efficiently.

Causes of stomach spasms

Muscle tension in the abdominal wall and overexertion can also lead to these muscle spasms.

In cases where you feel hungry, your stomach muscles contract.

This type of stomach spasm will be immediately relieved when you start eating. Likewise, overeating can cause stomach spasms since the muscles are very dilated.

But also, there are a wide variety of digestive problems that can cause stomach spasms, such as:


  • Gastritis.
  • Peptic ulcers.
  • Constipation.
  • Intestinal obstructions.
  • The gases.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Appendicitis.
  • The gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Stomach infections.
  • Food intolerance.
  • Poisoning.
  • Stomach irritation.
  • Crohn’s disease .
  • The abdominal exercise.
  • Stress.
  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Food allergy.
  • The pregnancy.

Symptoms of stomach spasms

Stomach spasms can be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the cause that causes them.

These include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling of the abdomen.
  • Flatulence or belching.
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Discolored stools
  • Burning in the stomach.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Chest pains, pressure, and shortness of breath.
  • Urine in the blood.
  • Swelling in the groin or abdomen.
  • Fainting or changes in levels of consciousness.
  • Fever and perspiration.


A doctor can diagnose the underlying cause of stomach spasms based on the following:

  • Physical exam.
  • Medical history.
  • Blood test,
  • Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan.

In many cases, stomach spasms will resolve independently and are not a cause for concern.

However, stomach spasms that are severe or frequent may indicate a more severe condition that should be investigated.

If a person experiences any of the following symptoms, they should seek immediate medical treatment:

  • Blood in the stool.
  • Chest pain.
  • Labored breathing
  • Emotional distress due to spasms.
  • Fever.
  • Severe pain
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowish skin.
  • Weightloss.

Treatment of stomach spasms

Treatment for stomach spasms will depend on the underlying cause. Possible options include:

Home remedies

Keep the patient hydrated and drink sports drinks in moderation, which may be recommended to treat stomach spasms.

Many people get relief from stomach spasms with home remedies.

Pregnant women should speak to their doctor before using home remedies, as they may not be suitable or safe during pregnancy.

Some home remedies that can be effective include:

People who experience spasms due to muscle tension may find relief by resting their stomach muscles and avoiding abdominal exercises.

Applying a heat compress or hot water bottle to the stomach can relax the muscles and relieve spasms.

Gently massaging your stomach muscles can improve blood flow and relieve cramps and spasms.

Drinking lots of water can help prevent dehydration, which can cause stomach spasms or make them worse.

Sports drinks that replenish electrolytes can also help but should be used in moderation, as they are often high in sugar.

Hot baths using Epsom salts are a popular home remedy for many cramps and spasms.

Warm water relaxes muscles, and Epsom salts are high in magnesium, which helps with muscle cramps.


Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for stomach spasms.

The medication used will depend on the underlying cause of the stomach spasms.

The types of medications that may be recommended include:

  • Aminosalicylates and corticosteroids: These drugs can be used to treat forms of inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Antacids – These medications reduce stomach acid levels that may be contributing to gastritis-related spasms.
  • Antibiotics: These can be prescribed for bacterial infections that cause gastritis or gastroenteritis.
  • Antispasmodic drugs: People with IBS may experience a reduction in spasms when using these medications.
  • Pain relievers: like ibuprofen, acetaminophen can relieve pain.

Other treatments

Stomach spasms caused by gas, dehydration, and muscle tension can usually be treated at home.

Other severe stomach conditions or spasms usually require treatment from a doctor.

Your doctor will try to determine the underlying cause of your stomach spasms and treat that cause.

Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics for gastritis or gastroenteritis caused by bacteria.
  • Medicines such as aminosalicylates and corticosteroids for ulcerative colitis and some cases of Crohn’s disease.
  • Antispasmodic medication if you have irritable bowel syndrome or very severe spasms not controlled by other treatments


The following steps can help prevent stomach spasms from occurring:

  • Keep the patient hydrated: Dehydration causes stomach spasms, so it is essential to drink enough fluids. Higher fluid levels may also be necessary during hot weather and intense exercise.
  • Exercise correctly: do not overwork your muscles, leading to spasms and injuries. Using proper form when exercising, staying hydrated, and scheduling regular rest periods can help prevent cramps.
  • Avoid irritating and greasy foods: Some foods cause digestive problems and cause stomach spasms and other symptoms. Consider limiting alcohol, spicy foods, and high-fat foods.
  • Make other dietary changes if necessary – People may find that making dietary changes alleviates symptoms. For example, limiting fiber intake can reduce painful gas. It may be helpful to consult a doctor or dietitian to determine what to eat and what to avoid.
  • Management of underlying conditions – Stomach spasms that are related to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease may disappear or subside once the disease is kept under control through medications, lifestyle changes, or both.