If you’ve ever had a sudden, uncontrolled, tight feeling in the muscles of your stomach, then you’ve probably had stomach cramps. They’re uncomfortable and sometimes hurt. Anyone can get them.
Most of the time, stomach cramps aren’t serious and don’t need to be diagnosed. If they happen often, are severe, or last for more than a day, this could be a sign of a more harmful medical problem, and you should see a doctor.
- Upset stomach
It may take minutes, hours, or days for symptoms to appear.
Older adults, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get food poisoning. Most people get better without seeing a doctor.
In the meantime, rest and avoid the food that might have made you sick.
- Blood in your poop
- A high fever (temperature over 102 F)
- Throwing up many times, which can lead to dehydration
- Signs of dehydration (peeing less, dizziness, very dry mouth and throat)
- Diarrhea that lasts more than a few days
Also call the doctor for diarrhea in a child under 6 months old or for an elderly adult with chronic medical problems or a weakened immune system.
You may hear your doctor call this viral gastroenteritis. People also call it stomach flu, but it’s not caused by the flu virus.
There are different types of stomach viruses. Norovirus is the most common in the United States.
Since a stomach virus and food poisoning have similar symptoms, like cramps, it’s easy to confuse the two. You get a stomach virus through close contact with someone who has the virus, such as sharing food or kitchen utensils, like a fork or knife. You can also get the virus by eating or drinking unsafe food and water. Unlike food poisoning, the virus can spread easily to other people — at least for the first few days you have it.
This is either when food irritates your digestive system or your body has trouble breaking it down. Lactose — a sugar found in milk and other dairy foods — is the most common food intolerance. Symptoms may only crop up when you eat a large amount of the problem food or eat it often.
Take an antacid to treat other symptoms of food intolerance like heartburn or stomachache.