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Muscle Spasm

Muscle spasm, also known as cramps is an involuntary and painful contraction/movement of the muscles. Muscle spasms may cause stiffness or swelling in the muscle. Muscle spasms can occur in any muscle of the body. It is called Charley horse when it occurs in the leg. Spasms are risk-free and die down within a few minutes. The most frequent cause for muscle spasms:


  • Exercising heavily, more than the normal routine.
  • Exhaustion of the muscles
  • Calcium and magnesium deficiency/insufficient levels in the body
  • Dehydration in the body
  • Pregnancy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Excessive medications
  • Excessive intake of alcohol

Muscle spasm symptoms include rigid or tight muscles and severe pain. The muscle appears to be knotted.

  • Stretch the affected muscles just immediately after the spasm.
  • Stop all activities and relax.
  • Heat therapy will help initially and after a little pain relief, ice therapy will improve on the relief.
  • With severe pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will help.
  • In very severe cases, anti-spasm drugs are prescribed.
  • If any nerve is the cause of the spasm then physical therapy should be given.
  • While active in sports activity and spasm occurs, drink water as dehydration during play causes spasms.
  • In severe cases, massage therapy might be recommended.
  • Injections are given directly to the spot in extreme cases.
  • Acupuncture too helps.

Primary Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea or painful menstrual periods is a common complaint with many women and adolescent girls. It is characterized by cramps and pain in the lower abdomen. Dysmenorrhea can be broadly classified as Primary and Secondary. While primary dysmenorrhea is identified with menstrual cycles, secondary dysmenorrhea can be traced to pelvic diseases such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, lesions and other causes such as IUD or uterine fibroids. Primary Dysmenorrhea usually surfaces with early ovulatory cycles and can start in the teens or 20s. Primary dysmenorrhea is not indicative of any abnormal condition. Accompanying symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal bloating. It is noticed that symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea reduce after pregnancy and in latter years. Pain can be a dull ache or spasmodic and cramping. Since the uterus goes into spasms to expel the endometrial tissue during menstruation, it leads to pain and cramps when the cervical passage is narrow. Pain radiates to the lower back and thighs.


A physician will conduct a pelvic examination to check for any possible growth, lesions or abnormalities. Those with a history of dysmenorrhea are usually advised to take medications a couple of days prior to menstruation. Adequate rest, good diet and exercise play a role in relieving the symptoms of dysmenorrhea. Mild analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can relieve the pain and discomfort. Often oral contraceptives are prescribed to regulate the hormones and alleviate the symptoms of dysmenorrhea.


Gastroenteritis

You have devoured your favorite shrimp salad at dinnertime. In a few hours you might be racked by stomach cramps and diarrhea. You will probably experience vomiting and low grade fever too. This is a classic case of gastroenteritis - a condition where the intestines are inflamed due to bacterial or viral infection. Gastroenteritis infection can also be caused due to food poisoning, food allergy, intestinal parasites, viral infection, medication or food consumed while you are traveling. Gastroenteritis can affect anyone but it is usually more severe in infants, the elderly and immunosuppressed people. Gastroenteritis in children can be serious if left unattended. It is the leading cause of death among children worldwide.

Viral and Bacterial Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis is caused by a viral infection that affects the stomach and intestines. In fact, viral gastroenteritis is one of the most common ailments in the U.S. A person can contract this viral gastroenteritis infection from contaminated food or drinking water. Within a few hours, the first symptoms are noticed. While viral gastroenteritis infections usually clear up without medicines within a few days, bacterial gastroenteritis needs to be treated. Rotavirus is the most common cause for viral gastroenteritis. It affects infants and young children and can surface as an outbreak during some seasons. Rotavirus can also affect other age groups. The Norwalk Virus is another cause of infectious gastroenteritis. It is common in school-going children. Viral gastroenteritis is usually treated with self care measures. Bacterial gastroenteritis infection can be caused by Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E coli), Campylobacter or Shigella. These bacteria can be found in poultry, eggs or meat. Once they enter the body, they multiply and produce toxins. After a few hours of eating, symptoms of bacterial gastroenteritis appear.A stool assay can help in identifying the specific agent for the gastroenteritis and aid treatment.

Treating Gastroenteritis

Usually the reaction to gastroenteritis infections hinges on your immune systemís ability to resist the infection. A person suffering from gastroenteritis will probably feel nauseous and experienced a bloated feeling. Abdominal cramps and mild to severe watery stools may be noticed for a couple of days. Severe cases of gastroenteritis can result in dehydration. Signs of dehydration to look out for are dry skin, excessive thirst and absence of urination for many hours. If a person suffering from gastroenteritis experiences severe abdominal pain or high fever or blood in the stools, consult a health professional at once. With little children, it is essential to give them clear fluids to replace lost fluids due to vomiting and diarrhea. Infants can be breast fed normally. Gastroenteritis can be very serious in infants. If you notice dry mouth, sunken eyes and irritability, consult a doctor immediately.


  • Drink plenty of water and fluids to restore fluid and salt requirements of the body
  • Avoid milk and dairy products
  • Take adequate rest till symptoms persist
  • Consume bland foods and avoid spicy foods, fried foods and alcohol
  • Consume electrolyte solutions
  • Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen as they irritate the gastrointestinal system
  • Avoid sharing food and water and utensils with others for fear of spreading the infection
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: November 19, 2019