Medical Questions? Ask a Doctor Online!
Since how long are cramping rib cage, bloating and gas are going on?
Are you constipated?
Does the rib cage cramping related to the meals or on walking or running?
Is there any specific point of tenderness?
Any previous medical or surgical illness?
Are you on any medications?
The gas formation, bloating and cramping in your age group would need to look for the following causes;
1) Gallbladder disease (gallstones)
2) Irritable bowel syndrome
The investigations to diagnose these would be;
1) A barium enema
2) Colonoscopy (camera exam)
Following may help you, meanwhile;
2) This may help;
a) Bismuth subsalicylate
b) Activated charcoal
c) Simethicone; (Maalox, Mylanta); Simethicone causes gas bubbles to break up.
d) Beano; contains an enzyme (alpha-galactosidase), which helps to breakdown certain complex carbohydrates.
All are available without prescription.
Avoid foods that appear to aggravate symptoms. These may include milk and dairy products, certain fruits or vegetables, whole grains, artificial sweeteners etc. But this is based on the personal observation for the aggravating food.
3) These investigations by your physician may also help in addition to mentioned above;
a) Healthy people pass gas up to 20 times per day. If the frequency of passage of flatus is more than 20 times per day, gas chromatographic analysis of flatus collected via a rectal tube can differentiate air swallowing (which is nitrogen predominantly) from intestinal production of gas (which is hydrogen and carbon dioxide).
b) Colonic transit time.
Discontinue the following if you do them;
1) gum chewing,
3) drinking carbonated beverages, and
4) gulping food and liquids.
The exact cause of cramps in the calf is not well understood, but there are some risk factors that are thought to contribute to this condition:
1) Muscle fatigue,
2) Heavy exercising,
4) Over weight
5) Electrolyte imbalances,
6) Vitamin deficiency,
7) Age above 60.
These cramps are different than the upper abdominal cramps which are likely due to the abdominal organs (viscera). While cramps in the calves are because of the skeletal muscles.
Electrolyte imbalances is generally considered the most common main cause. A blood electrolyte level can help you in ruling in or ruling out this. Some researchers believe inadequate stretching and muscle fatigue leads to abnormalities in mechanisms that control muscle contraction. Other factors may also be involved, including exercising or working in intense heat and dehydration.
Prevention of the cramps is the best cure; for that following measures should be employed:
1) Drink water at regular intervals, even whey you are not thirsty.
2) Drink more than what you require.
3) Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage if the working conditions are hot and one sweats a lot.
4) If cramps occur frequently, stretching exercises help. Muscle relaxant like chlorzoxazone can also help.
5) Following exercise may help you before you go to bed; Stand about 30 inches from a wall and, keeping the heels flat on the floor, lean forward and slowly move the hands up the wall to achieve a comfortable stretch.
6) A few minutes on a stationary bicycle at bedtime may also help.
7) While in bed, loose covers should be used to prevent the toes and feet from pointing, which causes calf muscles to contract and cramp easily.
8) Propping up the feet up than the rest of the body may also help.
9) During the week, swimming and water exercises are a good way to keep muscles stretched, and wearing supportive footwear is also important.
10) Eating more nuts, seeds, seafood and low-fat dairy would help.
You can consult your physician who would review your medications and medical history. Also, take Calcium and vitamin D with a supplement of magnesium and zinc a day. Gatorade, can help as it contain electrolytes. If still no change, then do follow up with your doctor for a blood test to check the electrolytes.
Once a cramp starts, do the following measures so it is arrested immediately;
1) Straighten the leg, flex the foot upward toward the knee, or grab the toes and pull them toward the knee.
2) Walking or shaking the affected leg, then elevating it, may also help.
Please feel free for your follow up questions.