Intestinal spasms: causes and relief

Darmkrämpfe: Ursachen und Linderung

Intestinal cramps usually occur unexpectedly and can cause severe pain. This can cause a feeling of discomfort in us that tears us out of everyday life and distracts us from important things. Thus, our free time or work is ruined.

In this article, we look at what intestinal cramps are, where they come from, and what they indicate. We will then provide you with various tips and remedies for relieving symptoms and treating causes. Note that the cramps can have a variety of causes and should therefore be examined by a doctor in some cases.

the essentials in brief

  • Intestinal cramps are cramping pains in the area below the belly button. This happens when the intestine is irritated.
  • Symptoms also include bloating, wheezing, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Causes can be an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, inflammation in the stomach and intestines, air in the abdomen, narrowing of the intestines.
  • Tips for preventing intestinal cramps: eat healthily, drink enough liquid and move in the fresh desire. When it occurs, you can treat the symptoms or the cause. Warmth, fluids and pain-relieving medication are used to treat symptoms, and a healthy diet and medication specific to the disease are used to address the causes.

Background: What you should know about intestinal cramps

We want to answer the most important questions in connection with the development, symptoms and causes for you in detail. We also give important recommendations on when you should definitely see a doctor.

Why do intestinal cramps occur?

In most cases, intestinal spasms originate in the smooth muscles of the intestine. Various diseases can have a negative effect on the muscles and thus disrupt their regulation. This then causes the cramps and other discomfort.

Where can intestinal cramps occur?

These are spasms of the small and large intestine. Basically, they can be felt from the navel down. The area of ​​​​the stomach and gallbladder are considered boundaries. If pain is felt in these, bowel is probably ruled out as the cause.

What are the symptoms of intestinal cramps?

Basically, cramping and wave-like pains in the above-mentioned areas are always present as a symptom of intestinal cramps. All other symptoms appear depending on how severe the cramps are. The symptoms that occur also depend very much on what the causes are.

Depending on the cause, flatulence, intestinal noises, diarrhea , nausea and vomiting can also occur. It is very difficult to determine what exactly is the origin of your intestinal spasms. This requires knowing the possible causes and relating them to symptoms.(1)

What can be the causes of intestinal cramps?

The causes of intestinal cramps can be very different: from dubious and harmless to serious and life-threatening diseases. First, let's look at the common causes.

Caused symptoms
Nourishment Pain after eating, abdominal noises.
Accumulation of air in the intestine Bloating, noises in the abdomen
food intolerance Pain after eating, abdominal noises, colicky intestinal cramps
Inflammation in the stomach and intestines acute diarrhea
narrowing of the intestine severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting

Diet is the first aspect that we need to consider in this context. Be it spoiled, greasy and generally unhealthy food or excessive consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. All of which can lead to intestinal cramps.(2)

Some foods, such as beans or sauerkraut, can also cause bloating. Excessive consumption of these products causes air to build up in the intestines, which can lead to painful cramps. Once the air clears, the symptoms go away.(3)

Colic-like intestinal cramps can also indicate a food intolerance such as lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. You can recognize this by the fact that the pain always occurs after eating.(4)

If the intestinal cramps are accompanied by acute diarrhea, it can indicate inflammation in the stomach and intestines. This can be caused by viruses or bacteria.(5)

Narrowing of the intestine can basically lead to intestinal cramps. It can be congenital or chronic disease that causes narrowing. Likewise, protuberances or colon cancer, which cause narrowing of the intestine. (6)

When should you go to the doctor?

In most cases, the intestinal spasms are not particularly dangerous and do not require a medical examination. However, there are some cases in which a doctor's visit is absolutely necessary.

You should not underestimate intestinal cramps.

This is the case when the intestinal cramps are particularly severe or occur with bleeding such as vomiting blood or blood in the stool. People who are already suffering from an underlying disease of the digestive tract should definitely consult a doctor if they have intestinal cramps. A visit to the doctor is also unavoidable in cases where the intestinal cramps last for more than three days without any apparent reason.

Intestinal cramps: The best tips & remedies

Since in most cases there are no dangerous diseases behind intestinal cramps, it makes sense to try to eliminate them yourself first if the pain is not too severe. There are many remedies and tips that can successfully eliminate intestinal spasms.

In our article we distinguish between symptomatic treatment and treatment of causes. You will find out more about what they have behind them and what methods they include.

Symptomatic treatment

Symptomatic treatment is about eliminating symptoms of intestinal spasms. So in our case, it's about spasm relief and pain relief.


Heat is a miracle cure for pain that is available to everyone. You can place a hot water bottle or heat pack on the outside of your stomach.(7) Heat promotes blood flow to the affected area. The increased blood flow can relax the muscles of the intestine, which reduces pain.


In general, if you have digestive problems, you should drink plenty of fluids. On the one hand, this promotes digestion because the moisture in the intestine counteracts constipation. On the other hand, fluid intake is particularly important when fluid losses occur due to diarrhea or vomiting.(8)

Fluid intake in the form of warm herbal teas can be particularly helpful for intestinal cramps. On the one hand, you provide warmth from the inside. On the other hand, chamomile, peppermint, valerian, fennel or ginger work against inflammation, promote blood circulation and relax the muscles.


You can also relieve the unpleasant pain with medication. It is not about drugs that eliminate the cause of the cramps, but about drugs that relax the muscles and relieve pain.

Buscopan and magnesium relax the muscles and inhibit the release of digestive juices. Alternatively, painkillers can be taken. Please clarify the intake with the pharmacist or your doctor.

treatment of causes

The aim here is not to eliminate the effects of the pain in the short term, but rather to attack the cause of the intestinal cramps directly. If the causes of spasms are eliminated, the pain will also disappear.

The prerequisite for this approach is that you know what the cause is. As already mentioned, determining the cause is a difficult task. Observe and analyze exactly when the intestinal cramps come and what symptoms accompany them.


The first step is always diet. If that is the cause, then you can adjust your meal plan accordingly. Do not consume products that your digestive system cannot digest.

inflorescence vegetables

Inflorescence vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are indeed very healthy and are recommended for every healthy person. However, if you have intestinal cramps, consuming this type of vegetable is not recommended. (Image Source: Pexels/picmamba)

It may be that the problem is not the intolerance, but simply poor nutrition. Your digestive system is too sensitive and you've overloaded it with unhealthy food. You can attack the cause by following a diet for a few days. If you have an irritated digestive tract, you should initially avoid greasy food, alcohol, nicotine, fruit and especially flowering vegetables.(9)


In contrast to pain-relieving drugs, here we have drugs that work against the causes themselves. Which medications come into question here depends very much on the cause. Only the doctor can determine the exact cause and the necessary medication.

This makes sense if the pain does not decrease and lasts for several days. This indicates a possible inflammation or narrowing of the intestine. In these cases, the doctor prescribes appropriate medication.


Homeopathy is an alternative medical treatment method. It is based on the basic assumption of a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, that like can be cured by like. Homeopathic medicine is selected in such a way that the substances in the remedy cause the same symptoms in healthy people that the sick person suffers from.

When the intestinal spasms come from mental and physical stress, such substances as Nux vomica, Lycopodium and Ignatia are particularly useful. Intestinal spasms associated with constipation can be treated particularly well with Bryonia. Before use, you should definitely discuss the dose with a doctor, pharmacist or homeopath.

Please note that homeopathy has not yet been scientifically proven. There are no scientific studies that would prove the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines. Homeopathy is therefore considered a pseudoscience. Under no circumstances should you rely solely on homeopathic treatment.


Intestinal cramps are mostly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. In this case, they can also be eliminated quickly. Only in rare cases is it a serious illness. So pay attention to the symptoms and how long they last. It is best to behave in advance in such a way that the intestinal cramps do not occur at all. We have written our tips for this.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Spend your free time in the fresh air and move a lot. Jogging outdoors is recommended. Avoid stress and excessive consumption of alcohol, nicotine and coffee . These tips alone greatly reduce the likelihood of intestinal cramps. If the intestinal fights still occur, use our tips to eliminate them. If the pain is severe or persistent, consult a doctor.


  1. abdominal pain - causes: - intestinal diseases in the lower abdomen; Source
  2. INTESTINAL CRAMS; Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Buscher Source
  3. intestinal cramps; dr Nicolas Gumpert ; 04/03/2021 source
  4. INTESTINAL CRAMS; Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Buscher Source
  5. INTESTINAL CRAMS; Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Buscher Source
  6. INTESTINAL CRAMS; Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Buscher Source
  7. What helps best against intestinal cramps? dr Nicolas Gumpert ; 04/03/2021 source
  8. What helps best against intestinal cramps? dr Nicolas Gumpert ; 04/03/2021 source
  9. What helps best against intestinal cramps? dr Nicolas Gumpert ; 04/03/2021 source
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