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Stomach Cramps

Bryan Applications, S

The portion of the alimentary tract extending from the lower end of the esophagus, or gullet, to the beginning of the duodenum, or first part of the small intestine, is called the stomach. Its shape differs according as it is full or empty. When full, it is somewhat pear-shaped, but the narrow, or pyloric part is placed horizontally, running to the right, while the rest, the cardiac part, is more vertical.

The uppermost part rises above and to the left of the opening of the gullet into the stomach and is known as the fundus of the stomach. It reaches as high as the left sixth costal cartilage, and is usually filled with air. When distended by flatulence, it may press on the heart and cause palpitation.

The part of the stomach between the fundus and the pyloric portion is usually called the body. The opening from the gullet into the stomach is called the cardiac opening, and from the stomach into the duodenum the pyloric opening. The part of the outline of the stomach connecting these openings on the right, or posterior side, is called the lesser curvature, and the part on the other side the greater curvature, the latter being four or five times the length of the former. When the stomach is empty it forms a tube simply, except that the bulging of the fundus persists.

The stomach is covered with peritoneum, and from the greater curvature the layers of this membrane are prolonged downwards to form the apron-like structure known as the great omentum. Similarly from the lesser curvature the membrane is prolonged upwards to the liver to form the lesser or gastro-hepatic omentum. Other folds connect the stomach with the spleen and with the diaphragm. Below, the stomach is in close relation to the pancreas.

There are three muscular coats in the stomach, an outer or longitudinal, a middle or circular, and an inner or oblique. At the pyloric opening the circular coat is greatly thickened to form what is called the pyloric sphincter, which, by contracting, is able to shut off the stomach from the bowel.

The stomach is lined by a mucous coat, between which and the muscle coats there is a layer of loose, fibrous tissue called the submucous coat. In this run blood vessels, lymphatics and nerves, branches of the right and left vagus, and fibers from the sympathetic system. When the stomach is empty the mucous coat is thrown into folds or rugae, most of them being longitudinal; these are smoothed out as the stomach fills up.

The internal surface of the stomach, when viewed through a magnifying glass, displays an immense number of small openings which represent the ducts by which the gastric glands pour their secretion into the stomach. These glands are tiny tubular structures in the mucous coat, lined with cells, which secrete the digestive ferment pepsin and the milk-curdling ferment rennin. There are no other cells in the pyloric glands, but in the glands elsewhere there are cells which, because they are situated outside the others, are called parietal cells, and because they secrete the hydrochloric acid of the gastric juice, oxyntic cells.

In addition to these substances and water, of which it contains a very large amount, gastric juice contains some mucus and a small quantity of a fat-splitting ferment or lipase. Gastric juice is being secreted all the time, but in the intervals of digestion is neutralized, partly by regurgitation of the alkaline secretion of the duodenum and partly by an alkaline secretion from pyloric glands. An increased flow for digestion may be stimulated psychically, that is, by the thought, smell or sight of food, by the swallowing of food, and sometimes by an internal secretion known as gastrin.

About every twenty seconds a wave of contraction passes along the stomach from the fundus to the pylorus, and the sensation of hunger is probably due to these contractions becoming more vigorous. During digestion the contractions cause partially digested food to pass into the duodenum in the form of chyme. Besides digesting and liquefying food the gastric juice has an antiseptic action on bacteria contained in food.

Diseases of the stomach:

An increase in the amount of gastric juice causes acidity, or hyperchlorhydria. If the juice contains too little hydrochloric acid the condition is called hypochlorhydria. This may occur in gastritis and certain nervous disorders. An absence of hydrochloric acid, described as achlorhydria, or achylia gastrica, occurs sometimes without any evidence of indigestion. It may be found, however, in association with pernicious anemia and other disorders, including cancer of the stomach, in which it is a very constant feature.

Dilatation of the stomach is caused by narrowing, or stenosis, of the pyloric opening, or by atony or weakness of the muscle wall, induced by constant over-filling of the organ or otherwise. Pyloric stenosis may be due to the contraction of scars of ulceration, to cancer, or to hypertrophy of the pyloric sphincter. Congenital hypertrophic stenosis is sometimes found in infants, and causes pain, vomiting and wasting.

The obstruction, however, may contain large quantities of fluid in which fermentation occurs, and which is vomited from time to time, the vomited matter usually being grayish in color, with a sour smell, and showing a frothy scum on the surface when it is allowed to stand. In thin people the peristaltic movements of the stomach may be visible. When the fact of dilatation is established, the next step will be to determine whether there is obstruction and its cause.

Treatment consists in daily lavage of the stomach, though it will be necessary to consider the question of an operation to relieve obstruction when this exists. Meals should be small and frequent, consisting chiefly of meat.

A condition which may be confused with dilatation is that of dropped stomach, or gastroptosis. This usually occurs in association with sagging of the abdominal viscera generally, or visceroptosis.

Cancer of the stomach usually occurs in late middle life, and more frequently in men than in women. There is sometimes a history of a gastric ulcer, or of bouts of indigestion, but often there is nothing of the kind. It should be considered a suspicious circumstance when dyspepsia occurs in a middle-aged man, previously free from anything of the kind, particularly when the symptoms are not entirely, removed by ordinary simple treatment. The suspicion may be groundless, but the possibility of cancer should be thoroughly investigated.

Cancer usually manifests its self-first as dyspepsia, and there may be little or no real pain, though later on pain may be severe and more or less constant. Sometimes there is vomiting, and there may be blood in the vomit, but it is not likely to be copious, and generally will have been altered by the gastric juice and look like coffee grounds. From a fairly early stage, however, it may be possible by microscopical examination to discover blood in the stools. Later the stools may be tarry.

The patient loses flesh and becomes anemic. If the growth is at the pyloric end of the stomach, as is most often the case, there may be evidence of dilatation of the stomach, and if at the cardiac opening, difficulty in swallowing. A microscopic examination and a chemical analysis of the stomach contents are also helpful, but early and reliable information is usually furnished by an X-ray examination.

It is important that the disease should be diagnosed at the earliest possible opportunity, as an operation then may cure it, but if time has been given for the growth to invade adjoining organs, or to be carried to distant organs, the condition is hopeless.

Rupture of the stomach may be caused by a blow when the organ is full, but this occurrence is uncommon. The usual cause of rupture is perforation of a simple or a malignant ulcer. Rupture usually causes considerable shock, but this may be recovered from in an hour or two, and the patient may complain of little more than thirst. Liquids should be withheld, however, and the patient should attempt to relieve his thirst by sucking a pebble. Immediate surgical treatment is urgently necessary. See: Digestion.. Gastritis.. Indigestion..

Application and treatment:

Cramps are a painful spasmodic muscular contraction and may be caused by mental stress, spoiled or indigestible foods, gallstones, stomach or duodenal ulcers, disorders of the pylorus, spine or female disorders. People of weak nervous constitution are victims.

Stomach Cramps

Convulsions:

Convulsion is a violent involuntary series of contractions of the voluntary muscles coming from hysteria, infantile disorder of early infancy, a lesion of the central nervous system and other spasms from infections or disorders such as; epilepsy, asphyxia (suffocation and coma), (worms in the brain), poisoning, lockjaw, (tetanus bacteria), hydrophobia (rabies), apoplexy (brain stroke or hemorrhage), meningitis (inflammation of the 3 membranes that envelope the brain), head injuries, nutritional deficiency, slow pulse from brain anemia (blood is deficient in quantity or quality of red blood cells) in the brain, indigestion, worms, rickets, diarrhea, breath holding in children, and fever.

Try electromagnetic polarization to control all of the above. Use positive over entire body followed by negative on spleen and positive over heart for 3 minutes. For systemic regeneration use 5000 to 10,000 Hz for 30 minutes.

A piece of wood placed between the teeth will prevent him from biting. If vomiting, place him on his side. Loosen his clothing around neck and chest. See: Abdominal pain..