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What are GI spasms?

I've been having a lot of digestive trouble, and recently this horrible thing has happening where it feels like my guts are all lurching and twisting at once. I came across the term 'GI spasms', which I thought might be what I have, but I can't find a good description. What are they?
Gastrointestinal spasms is simply a generic word used to describe the sensation that some people have in their stomachs, which they describe as painful, intermittent cramping sensations. In and of itself, gastrointestinal spams are not a disease, but rather a symptom that can be associated with many different conditions. For example, spasms can be part of a food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance, which produces bloating, cramping, and diarrhea after ingesting dairy products. Similarly, infections of the gastrointestinal tract, or food poisoning, can produce vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and the same gastrointestinal spasm feeling. Another very common condition, called irritable bowel syndrome, is characterized by gastrointestinal spasms and both diarrhea or constipation, and it is made worse usually in times of stress. Inflammation of the stomach or stomach ulcers can also produce spasms, particular with meals. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor is highly recommended.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
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