What works best against intestinal cramps?
Intestinal cramps are complaints that usually originate from the smooth muscles of the intestine. These muscles are used to move the chyme through the digestive tract.
The regulation of the intestinal muscles can be disrupted as part of various diseases. This can cause bowel cramps and other ailments such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. To treat the symptoms, home remedies and medication can be used to relieve the symptoms and combat the cause of the bowel cramps.
Read more on the subject at: Intestinal cramps
These treatment options are there!
The treatment options for intestinal cramps are divided into different groups: there are drugs and remedies that have a purely symptomatic effect and those that counteract the cause of the intestinal cramps.
Symptomatic treatment options consist, for example, of applying heat to the stomach. Adequate fluid intake (especially if fluid is lost through vomiting or diarrhea) is also important.
In addition, antispasmodic or pain reliever drugs can be used. If you take care to eat as little fiber-rich food as possible during intestinal cramps, you can temporarily protect the intestine and thereby improve the symptoms.
Other drugs such as magnesium counteract the cramps in the muscles and therefore substances that have a more causal effect. The causal therapies also include, for example, the treatment of underlying chronic diseases (e.g. chronic inflammatory bowel disease). The treatment of pathogens in the intestine is only partially possible, so there are hardly any drugs that work against viral pathogens.
Bacteria that occur as pathogens in the intestine can be fought with antibiotics, but this also catches the bacteria that naturally occur in the intestine and therefore often weakens the intestine more than fighting the disease.
Read more on this topic at: Cramps in the upper abdomen
Warmth against intestinal cramps
Heat is a popular home remedy that is particularly effective against intestinal cramps. The heat can be applied to the abdomen from the outside, for example in the form of a hot water bottle. The warmth improves the blood flow to the warmed part of the body.
In the case of intestinal cramps, the improved blood flow can relax the muscles. In addition, the body can better fight the triggering cause with improved blood circulation. It is important when applying heat that the skin is not damaged. A long and / or too hot application of heat can do more harm than good and cause further health problems.
Bringing heat from the inside into the intestine is difficult, but warm teas can also have a calming effect on the intestine and therefore also help against intestinal cramps. In some cases, cold therapy is also perceived as more pleasant.
Drugs for intestinal cramps
Medicines can both trigger intestinal cramps and counteract them. There are many drugs that upset the balance of neurotransmitters (substances that are required for the transport of information through nerves) or electrolytes (blood salts) and, depending on their severity, lead to increased abdominal cramps. On the other hand, there are antispasmodic drugs, such as the Buscopan, which relaxes the muscles. Electrolytes can also be used to improve the muscles' ability to relax. Strong pain relievers such as opioids reduce the activity of the intestinal muscles and therefore help against intestinal cramps.
Buscopan for intestinal cramps
Buscopan is an active ingredient that is used to relieve cramps in the digestive system. Above all, the smooth muscles that surround the gastrointestinal tract are influenced by the active ingredient, so that the muscles relax.
Since the intestinal cramps are triggered by pronounced activity of the smooth muscles, Buscopan, as a so-called spasmolytic, is the first choice for intestinal cramps.
Taking Buscopan not only relaxes the muscles (this leads to a reduction in cramps but also to a decrease in peristalsis, i.e. the natural movement of the intestine through which the pulp is transported). The Buscopan also inhibits the release of digestive juices.
Magnesium against intestinal cramps
Magnesium is an electrolyte (blood salt) which has its greatest effect on the muscles. When the individual muscle fibers, for example those of the muscles in the intestinal wall, contract, magnesium is required as a factor involved in releasing the connection between the individual strands.
Magnesium contributes to the relaxation of the muscles again. If there are intestinal cramps, a lack of magnesium can be the cause. In this case, the important cofactor that allows the muscles to relax again is missing and the muscles are permanently contracted, which is perceived as muscle cramps.
By taking magnesium, this process can be interrupted so that the intestinal cramps decrease. Magnesium can also be taken as an antispasmodic for cramps in the so-called skeletal muscles (e.g. calf muscles).
Home remedies for intestinal cramps
For intestinal cramps, the most effective home remedies are heat applications. For example, it helps to lie down with a hot water bottle. This allows you to enjoy physical rest and relax your mind at the same time.
The warmth on the stomach increases the blood flow and thus improves the relaxation of the cramping intestinal muscles. Warmth can also develop its effect internally. Herbal teas with peppermint, fennel and chamomile are particularly helpful in treating intestinal cramps.
In addition, the tea can be used to ensure a sufficient amount of water to drink, which also improves recovery after intestinal cramps. Soups (e.g. vegetable broth) can also alleviate the symptoms of intestinal cramps. Often, electrolytes (blood salts) can also be absorbed through the soup, which were eliminated, for example, through accompanying vomiting or diarrhea.
Other home remedies that are good for intestinal cramps are vegetable oils. So you can take half a teaspoon of chamomile oil or sea buckthorn oil up to three times a day, this also has a relaxing effect on the intestines.
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Homeopathy for intestinal cramps
For intestinal cramps, there are a variety of homeopathic remedies that can be taken against the symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause, different active ingredients are used.
If the intestinal cramps are due to a mixture of physical and psychological strain (stress), relaxing substances such as Nux vomica, Lycopodium and Ignatia are the best help against the symptoms.
On the other hand, Bryonia can be used especially for constipation that is associated with intestinal cramps. If, on the other hand, diarrhea is an accompanying symptom, it is better to use Colocynthis.
The dose in which the agents are best taken differs depending on the active ingredient and can usually be taken from the sales package. When using homeopathy, it is important to remember that the remedies cannot only interact with one another.Even with classic drugs, harmful effects can arise from taking them at the same time.
Therefore, one should consult a doctor, pharmacist or homeopath before use, who includes both homeopathic and classic drugs in his treatment plan.
What can you eat if you have intestinal cramps?
In the case of intestinal cramps, the cause is often a generally irritated digestive tract. Usually the symptoms improve after a few days, so that a faster diet can take place again.
When it comes to nutrition, it is initially important that you drink enough fluids. This is guaranteed, for example, with teas, juices and vegetable / meat broths.
In addition, there are foods that are low in fiber. E.g. Rusks and white bread are suitable foods in the acute phase of intestinal cramps. On the other hand, fruit and especially bloating vegetables should be avoided for the time being. Even foods that are heavy in the stomach and are particularly rich in fat should only be on the menu again after the intestinal cramps have subsided.
These pain relievers can cause intestinal cramps
The pain relievers that can trigger intestinal cramps are primarily those substances that are freely available. Taking aspirin, ibuprofen or diclofenac (Voltaren®) can lead to an increased incidence of intestinal cramps.
All of these drugs belong to the group of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In addition to intestinal cramps, if taken more frequently, they can also damage the gastric and intestinal mucosa and cause bleeding in the digestive tract. Stronger painkillers from the group of opioids have the opposite effect on the intestines: They inhibit the movement of the muscles and can even lead to constipation.
What can be done against mental intestinal cramps?
Mental intestinal cramps often have their origin in a mixture of physical and emotional complaints. Therefore, the treatment should address both the physical symptoms and the psychological background.
As with other bowel cramps, eating a diet that calms the digestive tract helps. Food that is as gentle as possible should therefore be eaten.
Adequate fluids are also important for recovery. In addition, the psychological factors (most often stress) that trigger the intestinal cramps should be treated. In many cases, a few days of relaxation are enough to forget the stress of everyday life. In the case of deeper emotional complaints, the family doctor can be called in first, and a psychotherapist can be called in later.
For diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, there are even special clinics that specialize in the interaction between the intestine and the psyche.
Are you often stressed? - Then find out more about the: Consequences of stress
When do I have to see a doctor?
If you have intestinal cramps, a visit to the doctor is not always necessary. However, if the pain from the intestinal cramps is particularly severe, the symptoms should be clarified.
Colon cramps that occur together with bleeding (vomiting blood, blood in your stool) should also be treated by a doctor. Anyone who suffers from an underlying disease of the digestive tract should also have the complaints clarified if they develop intestinal cramps.
In addition, intestinal cramps that cannot be treated with home remedies and medication require clarification. If the symptoms persist for more than three days for no apparent reason, you should also see a doctor.