Why Do I Have Stomach Cramps When I Drink Soda?

Carbonation may cause increased gas in your digestive system that may result in pain, bloating and cramping. If you're sensitive to gas-forming foods, such as broccoli, onions and beans, you should avoid consuming soda beverages. Certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and sensitivities to food additives, may also cause cramping from drinking soda. Talk with your doctor to determine the cause of the cramping.

Friends hanging out and drinking soda at a cafe. (Image: Allan Danahar/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Increased Gas

Increased gas can cause pains, a knotting feeling, the feeling of fullness and cramping in your abdomen. Gas develops from either undigested carbohydrates that interact with bacteria in your colon or from swallowed air while eating and drinking. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, carbonated beverages, such as soda, contain air bubbles and consuming soda can increase the amount of air in your digestive tract, leading to sharp jabbing pains and cramps. Gas is considered a normal part of digestion, but when it causes pain, cramping or discomfort, it should be assessed by a medical professional.

Aspartame

If you're intolerant or have an allergy to aspartame, you may develop stomach cramps from ingesting diet sodas. Diet sodas commonly use an FDA-approved artificial sweetener called aspartame. While considered safe for human consumption, if you're intolerant to the substance, you may develop stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that the reports of adverse reactions to aspartame have not been proven. If you notice that other foods that contain aspartame trigger similar symptoms, discontinue use of the sweetener and talk with your physician.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If you have irritable bowel syndrome, you may develop diarrhea whenever you drink soda or other carbonated beverages, according to a study published in the June 7, 2012 issue of "BMC Gastroenterology." IBS is a common digestive condition that causes stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea and constipation from eating. The condition is not fully understood, but certain foods and beverages may trigger your symptoms. If you've been diagnosed with IBS, avoid drinking soda to prevent stomach cramping and pain.

Considerations

If you develop severe stomach pain, blood in your stools, blood in your vomit, severe diarrhea, a fever, light-headedness, hives, swelling in your face or shortness of breath, call your doctor immediately. These may be signs of a more serious condition that could lead to further complications.

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