Ouch. Too many prunes.
December 25, 2008 3:52 PM   Subscribe

What are some good, non-medicine ways to alleviate pain from intestinal cramps?

I ate too much dried fruit this afternoon, including some prunes. (YUM!) Unfortunately, a few hours later I was wracked with abdominal cramps that were so painful I had the cold sweats. It's passed now, perhaps thanks to some pepto, but for future reference, I'd like any remedies you know of that can help that kind of pain without taking medicine.

Walking? Lying on your right side/left side/stomach/back? Massage? I tried it all, and the whole time I was thinking that I wish I'd asked this question here before the pain had hit.
posted by Stewriffic to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a Bed Buddy or similar? Or a hot water bottle? Warm it up and put it on your belly.

Also, try drinking a can of Coke. Don't sip it, but drink it quickly so you burp, those really deep (and loud!) burps.
posted by essexjan at 3:57 PM on December 25, 2008

Drink lots of water; it'll make it easier to pass, and you'll feel better soon. Fiber needs water.
posted by not_on_display at 4:14 PM on December 25, 2008

Try the wind-relieving pose.
posted by idiotfactory at 4:34 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ooooh. Wind-relieving pose! That's exactly the kind of thing I was hoping one of y'all would come up with.

jan--i'll go do that right now. Can't hurt. The majority of the pain has passed, but there are still waves from time to time that are still ouchie.

nod--i think that the fiber is less of an issue than the gas pains. The laxative effect of the prunes, ahem, worked well.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:56 PM on December 25, 2008

Oh I feel for you. I'm visiting friends and had a prune craving this morning and suffered the same consequences. I find laying on my stomach, bunching my knees and arms up under me and gently rocking helps things a lot.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:17 PM on December 25, 2008

Sitting in a very warm bath helps the muscles relax. It's helped me a lot. I always had terrible cramps as a child (thank goodness I know what to eat and not eat now).
posted by amtho at 6:20 PM on December 25, 2008

According to The WORST-CASE SCENARIO® books, the ultimate gas passing position is on your knees and elbow with buttock raised.

If that doesn't work Gas-X (simethicone).
posted by 26.2 at 9:35 PM on December 25, 2008

Fennel tea supposedly expels gas (it's considered a "carminative"). It's also tasty. Steep a teaspoon of fennel seeds in hot water for a few minutes and drink the tea that results.
posted by PatoPata at 9:37 PM on December 25, 2008

Usually what I do is drink a cup of warm water or two, and then jog a bit despite the pain. The gas comes out in little toots with every running step I take, which is kind of embarressing, so make sure no one's around :P.

Also, my brother tried the Worst Case Scenario pose once. Didn't work.
posted by curagea at 9:49 PM on December 25, 2008

In our house hot showers are the traditional thing. I think it's as much that it's a pleasant thing and takes your mind of off it as anything else.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:41 AM on December 26, 2008

Have a loved-one rub your feet hard with a thumb, a knuckle or a hard round object like a river stone, looking for spots that seem to help your tummy feel better, or just cause a subtle response there. My cramp points are just below the ball of each big toe, heading towards the arch. and inside the big-toe tendons on top (with fingers only, there). Careful 5-to-10-minute ministrations there from my wife have been literally saving my butt for decades. No allegiance to any alarming theories about invisible energy paths required; you'll just feel it when useful parts of your feet are rubbed. Lasting benefits accrue immediately.

You can try rubbing yourself, but it's nowhere near as powerful or satisfying as just laying back while somebody else does it, in our experience.

I've been relieving her menstrual cramps for years in the same way, rubbing around the Achilles tendon and heels. She prefers medium to medium-hard rubbing; I like it to hurt so good; you'll know how you want it done. Life-altering practice, no joke…
posted by dpcoffin at 10:18 AM on December 26, 2008

Chamomile tea is a traditional remedy to soothe cramps (tummy or uterus).
posted by desuetude at 2:37 PM on December 26, 2008

Response by poster: Well, wind-relieving pose didn't help so much, unfortunately. I didn't have anyone to rub my feet, so didn't try that one. The cramping has passed (ahem!), and so I'll have to try the teas/shower/running the next time.

The pepto really helped, which surprised me to no end, as it's never helped with anything else I've ever tried to take it for.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:53 PM on December 27, 2008

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