Stomach Aches and Cramps

Stomach aches or cramps are usually caused by a tummy upset or a bug that is temporary. Several products are available in pharmacies to treat this type of problem and your pharmacist can give you routine advice.

A sudden stomach cramp along with diarrhoea is most likely due to gastroenteritis. This is caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and bowel.

Norovirus is a common cause of gastroenteritis. Another cause of severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea is food poisoning, which can make you very ill but will generally resolve itself without any treatment.

In the case of cramps and diarrhoea that last for more than a few days or are recurring, medical advice is needed as there are several possible causes.

Acute abdominal pain

Where you have sudden, very severe and unbearable abdominal pain, you may need to go straight to your GP the emergency department as this could be something acute and serious.

Sudden and severe pain could be caused by a pulled muscle or infection, but other possible causes include:

  • Appendicitis
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney stones
  • Perforated peptic ulcer.

Another possibility is diverticulitis, which is inflammation of the small pouches in the bowel.

Recurring abdominal pain

There are many causes of recurring abdominal pain and your GP will make a diagnosis based on medical history and symptoms. These range from conditions that can be treated with remedies from the pharmacy like constipation, heartburn and period pain, to more serious medical conditions that will require ongoing management and prescription medicines. These include conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, peptic ulcers and urinary tract infections.