Cramps are unpleasant and often painful. When the muscle contracts or shortens itself it causes the sensation of a cramp. Stomach cramps are relatively common and often their cause is not serious, according to Medline Plus. They may result from gas or bloating, which usually passes quickly, followed by diarrhea. If the pain lasts for more than a day and accompanies a fever it is probably serious and patients should contact a doctor immediately.
Inflammation of the Lower Abdomen
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, inflammation commonly causes pain in the lower abdomen. This may lead to a feeling of cramping. Inflammatory conditions that cause pain include infections in the small bowel, Crohn’s disease, infection of the colon or inflammation of the colon, appendicitis and inflammation of pouches that form inside of the colon.
Strenuous exercise can over-tax muscles, which may cause them to spasm and cramp. By that same token, in order to prevent abdominal cramps and pain, Medline Plus suggests exercising regularly. Exercising regularly is indeed important, but patients should keep it at a manageable level so that the body does not become over-stressed.
Tumors or Cancers
Many types of cancers can cause a cramping sensation, according to Medline Plus. These cancers and tumors may obstruct the bowel. When the bowel becomes obstructed, it becomes impossible to pass feces as efficiently as needed. The urinary tract may become affected by tumors located in the kidneys or bladder and may result in the symptom of pain.
Issues Unique to Women
The most common cause of lower abdominal cramping in women is usually associated with the menstrual cycle. If it occurs during the normal menstruation cycle and feels like an average menstrual cramp, then that may be what it is. However, cramps should still be taken seriously.
Medline Plus points out that cramps in women can indicate a serious issue with a reproductive organ, such as when tissue normally in the uterus becomes displaced, or with infection of the reproductive organs. If the cramps and bleeding become far more intense then what occurs normally with menstruation, then an ectopic pregnancy may be occurring.
Other issues affecting women include cancer or cysts in the ovaries, tumors in the uterus or womb, infection of the fallopian tubes and malignant tumors located in the uterus or cervix.