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What causes abdominal cramps? 42 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Painful Menstrual Periods

Menstruation is a monthly occurrence for women in which the body sheds the uterine lining, which is later passed through the vagina. Pain, cramping, and discomfort during menstruation is normal. Excessive pain is not.

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Food Poisoning

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Food poisoning occurs when you consume foods contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Symptoms are usually uncomfortable but not severe.

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Gas & Flatulence

Flatulence is a medical term for releasing gas. It occurs when gas collects inside the digestive system. Food choices, swallowing too much air, and digestive problems can all lead to excess gas.

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Giardiasis is an infection in your small intestine. It's caused by a microscopic parasite. Giardiasis spreads through contact with infected people.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine and causes many uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and pain.

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The Many Sides of Bacterial Gastroenteritis

Bacterial infections are common causes of gastrointestinal infections. This type of infection is also called "food poisoning" and is often caused by poor hygiene or ingesting foods contaminated with bacteria.

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Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, is caused by a number of different viruses. Its symptoms usually last for two to three days.

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PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

PMS symptoms start five to 11 days before menstruation and typically go away once menstruation begins. The cause of PMS is unknown.

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Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerence occurs when a person's small intestine can't break down lactose, an enzyme found in dairy foods. The condition can cause many gastrointestinal symptoms.

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Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on a woman's uterus. Heavy bleeding, pain in the pelvis or lower back, cramping, and bloating could indicate fibroids.

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Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) is an event that results in the loss of a fetus during early pregnancy. There are many types and causes. Symptoms include heavy spotting, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and more.

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Threatened Abortion

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Threatened abortion describes vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy. It could indicate risk of miscarriage. During miscarriage, women may have abdominal and lower back pain, and may pass clot-like material from the vagina.

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Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterine cavity. The lining is called the endometrium.

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Ectopic Pregnancy

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg fails to attach to the uterus. In most ectopic pregnancies, the egg will attach to the fallopian tubes. Less common, it may also attach to the abdominal cavity or cervix...

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Colitis is inflammation of the colon, often causing discomfort and pain in the abdomen, as well as other gastrointestinal symptoms. Colitis has many possible causes, which determine the type.

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Urethritis is an infection of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder and semen out of the body. Symptoms include burning while urinating, abdominal pain, and discharge.

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Malabsorption Syndrome

Malabsorption syndrome occurs when the intestine's ability to absorb important nutrients is compromised. Certain conditions, such as Celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and dairy allergies may lead to malabsorption.

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This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

When people with severe allergies are exposed to their allergen, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis can result: a series of symptoms such as rash, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing and shock.

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Food Allergy Basics

Food allergies are overblown responses by the immune system to foods that aren't typically harmful - like eggs and peanuts. Continue reading and learn more about food allergies, and how to prevent or treat sever...

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Fecal Impaction of the Colon

Fecal impaction occurs when waste becomes trapped in the colon, causing abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. It can occur after frequent bouts of diarrhea.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.