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Cramps Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Cramps. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. Which part of the body are the cramps?

    Why: e.g. abdominal cramps or leg cramps.

  2. When did the cramps start

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic e.g. acute abdominal cramps suggests intestinal obstruction, renal stones, gallstones or common bile duct stones; chronic colicky pain suggests chronic cholecystitis, gallstones, renal stones or partial intestinal obstruction.

  3. Is the discomfort really cramp-like in nature?

    Why: i.e. colicky not steady (if not cramp-like in nature see abdominal pain).

  4. Are you pain free between the cramps?
  5. How often do the cramps occur?
  6. If abdominal cramps, where exactly in the abdomen are the cramps?

    Why: To determine if the cramps are diffuse or focal e.g. upper abdomen may suggest cholecystitis or gallstones; flank cramps may suggest renal stones.

  7. How severe are the cramps?

    Why: i.e. rate from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain you can imagine.

  8. What makes the cramps worse?

    Why: e.g. cramps that are brought on 1-2 hrs after meals, especially if it is a fatty meal may be related to cholecystitis or gallstones.

  9. What makes the cramps improve?
  10. Does the pain radiate to anywhere else?

    Why: e.g. acute cholecystitis typically radiates to right shoulder blade or right shoulder; acute renal stone pain typically radiates to the testicles.

  11. Do the abdominal cramps occur only during menstruation?

    Why: suggests dysmenorrheal (period pain).

  12. If cramps are in the legs, do you have any predisposing factors that may be causing them?

    Why: e.g. pregnancy, motor neuron disease, low sodium, hemodialysis, renal failure, diabetes, dehydration, thyroiditis.

  13. If the cramps are in the legs, are they after exertion in a hot environment?

    Why: suggests heat cramps.

  14. What medications are you on?

    Why: e.g. constipation may be related to ingestion of codeine containing medications.

  15. Past surgical history?

    Why: e.g. previous laparotomy increases risk of adhesions which may cause small bowel obstruction.

  16. Have you been traveling overseas recently?

    Why: may indicate travelers diarrhea, food poisoning, gastroenteritis.

  17. Have others in the household been affected with similar symptoms?

    Why: may suggest viral gastroenteritis or food poisoning if shared foods.

  18. Alcohol history?

    Why: alcohol excess can make premenstrual cramps worse.

  19. Illicit drug history?

    Why: e.g. amphetamines can cause abdominal cramps.

  20. Family history?

    Why: e.g. bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease.

  21. Appetite change?

    Why: may suggest bowel cancer, gastric cancer, acute gastroenteritis or food poisoning.

  22. Weight loss?

    Why: may suggest colon cancer as cause of large bowel obstruction or gastric cancer as cause of gastric outlet obstruction.

  23. Nausea or vomiting?

    Why: may suggest gastroenteritis, food poisoning, acute cholecystitis or bowel obstruction.

  24. Diarrhea?

    Why: may suggest gastroenteritis, travelers diarrhea, food poisoning or partial bowel obstruction.

  25. Constipation?

    Why: may suggest intestinal obstruction (if constipation is absolute) or partial intestinal obstruction. Constipation itself may cause cramp-like abdominal pain.

  26. Abdominal distention?

    Why: significant distention with colonic obstruction, mild distention with small bowel obstruction.

  27. Blood in the bowels?

    Why: may suggest bowel cancer or diverticular disease as cause of large bowel obstruction.

  28. Blood in the urine?

    Why: may suggest renal stones.

  29. Is there a fever?

    Why: may suggest food poisoning, gastroenteritis.

  30. Is there any abnormal vaginal bleeding (bleeding after menopause, bleeding in between the periods or bleeding after intercourse)?

    Why: suggests uterine cause of abdominal cramps.

  31. Symptoms of pregnancy?

    Why: e.g. absent periods, nausea, tender breasts - may suggest normal pregnancy as cause of abdominal cramps.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Cramps:

The following list of conditions have 'Cramps' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Cramps or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Cramps:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Cramps' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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