ABDOMINAL TWITCHING

ABDOMINAL TWITCHING

Abdominal twitching, or abdominal muscle spasm is a term used for involuntary contraction of the abdominal area muscles.

Like other muscles of your body, abdominal muscles may also go under this process. Twitching, in medical field, is known as fasciculation. Fasciculations are commonly felt by people, and are usually nothing to be worried about.

The common causes of this abdominal twitching may include muscle strain, dehydration, gas, or some drug use. But sometimes, this abdominal twitching, if felt in lower abdomen, may be related to some serious conditions like perforation of intestines, bowel obstruction, or some other causes.

In this article we will discuss about some possible causes of abdominal twitching including:

Further in this article, what will be discussed is:

 

 

MUSCLE STRAIN

If you are someone who is into exercising, you may have put a lot of strain on your abdomen. Vigorous crunches or sit-ups may result in your muscles tense, and abdominal twitching.

With abdominal twitching, you may also feel tenderness in your abs, and pain especially when you move.

 

DEHYDRATION

Dehydration occurs if you don’t drink enough water, if you are losing water via sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. With water that you lose, you lose electrolytes as well, like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all of which are needed by your muscles to work properly.

Other symptoms that you may experience if you are dehydrated are thirst, headache, dizziness, or dark yellow color of urine.

 

INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE

Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is a group of diseases that cause chronic inflammation of the intestines. This group includes two diseases known as Ulcerative colitis (UC), and Crohn’s disease. These disorders stay for life, but proper treatment helps patients to manage this condition.

Ulcerative colitis is swelling and ulcers or sores (erosions) in colon and rectum (parts of large intestine). Crohn’s disease is the swelling of digestive tract, which can be anywhere between your mouth to anus. Crohn’s disease mostly involves the small intestine, and the upper part of large intestine.

Symptoms of IBD or inflammatory bowel disease are:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal twitching.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Bloating and gas.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason.
  • Bloody stools.
  • Mucus in stools.

People who have inflammatory bowel disease or IBD are at a risk of developing colorectal cancer.

 

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

It is a common disorder people experience. Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a function GI (gastrointestinal) disorder. In IBS, your gut (or digestive tract) and brain have issues in working together properly.

IBS is an uncomfortable condition where your digestive tract becomes very sensitive, your bowel habits change, and you may have abdominal pain and twitching.

Irritable bowel syndrome can either be with diarrhea, constipation, or mixed (having both diarrhea and constipation). IBS usually needs a trigger, which can either be certain foods, medicines, or emotional stress.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal twitching.
  • Bloating.
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or both.

 

DIVERTICULITIS

Diverticula are small pouches that may be present in colon, and this condition is known as Diverticulitis. This condition is not dangerous, and there is no need to treat it. But sometimes, these pouches are infected and this a condition known as Diverticulitis. This is a dangerous and serious condition, and you may experience fever, nausea, and other symptoms.

You are at a increased risk of getting diverticulitis if you are a male, if you are above 40 years old, if you are overweight, or do not maintain healthy diet and exercise.

Symptoms of diverticulitis are:

  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Bloody stools.
  • Rectal bleeding.

 

AORTIC DISSECTION

It is a serious condition where the inner layer of your aorta (main artery of your body) tears down. This causes blood to rush around resulting in splitting of inner and middle layer of aorta. It is not commonly experienced.

Symptoms of aortic dissection:

  • Severe pain in chest of back which starts suddenly. You may call this pain tearing or ripping.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Dyspnea or shortness of breath.
  • Stroke symptoms- includes vision problem, inability to speak, paralysis on one side of body.
  • Inability to walk.

 

BOWEL OBSTRUCTION

This is a medical emergency, and occurs when something blocks your large intestines, be it a tumor or something else. By obstruction, stool and gas may start to accumulate in the intestine resulting in ruptured intestine.

In bowel obstruction you will experience following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain or cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Not being able to pass gas.
  • Constipation.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal twitching.

In children, symptoms might vary a bit, and may include:

  • Fever.
  • Bloody stools.
  • Vomiting with yellow or green color.
  • Fatigue.
  • Swollen belly.

 

INTESTINAL ISCHEMIA

Ischemia is a medical term used when blood flow to a particular area or organ is cut or reduced. Intestinal ischemia is when blood flow to your intestines slows down, or stops all together. This may happen because of a blood clot settled in your artery, or fat/cholesterol deposits built up in the artery.

Intestinal ischemia is divided into colon ischemia (which is known as ischemic colitis), acute mesenteric ischemia, and chronic mesenteric ischemia.

This condition may result in your intestinal tissue dying (because of lack of blood and oxygen to your intestines, condition which is known as gangrene), perforation of intestines (which may have further complications including peritonitis), and narrowing of your colon.

 

BOWEL PERFORATION

This is also a medical emergency, which occurs because of rupture of your intestines. This causes the contents of your colon to leak into your abdomen.

Symptoms of bowel perforation include:

  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Bloating.
  • Changed bowel pattern.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

If not diagnosed and not treated, this may cause severe infection of your abdomen- condition which is medically known as peritonitis. This peritonitis may result in widespread infection called sepsis.

Untreated bowel perforation may also lead in bleeding and death.

 

OTHER SYMPTOMS THAT MIGHT OCCUR WITH ABDOMINAL TWITCHING

Along with abdominal twitching, you may experience following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Swelling of abdomen.
  • Bowel habit changes.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Heartburn.
  • Nausea, which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath or dyspnea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Sweating.

 

PREVENTING ABDOMINAL TWITCHING

Abdomen twitches that occur because of non-serious causes you may relieve yourself of the twitches and pain that accompanies it by some home remedies, including:

  • Applying heat to muscles- it helps you relax your stiff muscles.
  • Massaging.
  • Keeping yourself hydrated and maintain the electrolyte balance in your body.
  • Over the counter pain killers, if you are experiencing pain.
  • Exercise in an appropriate manner so as to not exhaust your muscles, thereby preventing abdominal twitching.
  • Change in diet may alleviate your twitching and pain.
  • If you are constipated, you may increase the content of fiber in your diet.

 

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

Usually, this abdominal twitching is not harmful, and goes away without any intervention. But whenever this twitching becomes painful, or starts to happen more often, see a doctor.

Symptoms when seen should lead you to the doctor:

  • Vomiting.
  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fever.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Change in bowel habits.
  • Bloody stools.

Not seeing a doctor when these symptoms seen might lead to complications, which might be fatal in some cases. Hence, it is very important to never miss a symptom, and see a doctor as soon as these symptoms are noticed.

 

COMPLICATIONS OF ABDOMINAL TWITCHING

This abdominal twitching is usually because of dehydration or overexertion. This goes away in some time, without you going for any medical intervention.

But keep in mind this abdominal twitching may be because of some serious causes as well. In this case, seeing a doctor and getting diagnosed and treated is important.

If you have a serious underlying cause that is causing this abdominal twitching, leaving it untreated may cause severe complications.

Some of the complications that possibly can occur are:

  • Deterioration of your general health.
  • Bowel obstruction.
  • Bowel perforation.
  • Aortic aneurysm rupture.
  • Peritonitis.
  • Sepsis.

 

TAKEAWAY

Abdominal twitching is a common complaint people experience. This usually does not have a serious cause which is causing this condition. The usual causes that cause your abdominal muscles to twitch are dehydration, and overexertion. In such cases this twitching goes away very soon, and is not accompanied by pain or any severe symptom.

But it is not always that this muscle twitching is caused by non-serious causes. Sometimes some serious underlying causes might be the reason why your abdominal muscles twitch. This makes it important for you to concentrate and focus on the symptoms accompanying this abdominal twitching. Symptoms are important, and should lead you to a doctor are vomiting, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, rectal bleeding, change in bowel habits, and bloody stools.

Serious causes that might be the reason why your abdominal muscles twitch is inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, aortic aneurysm, bowel perforation, bowel obstruction, diverticulitis, or aortic dissection.

 

 

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