Fluttering sensation in lower abdomen is a common situation usually faced by females. It is usually described by the term “twinges” or “spasms” that occur around the uterus and ovaries in females. It is caused due to a number of reasons ranging from pregnancy to anxiety disorders. Let us find out the major causes and ways to deal with this issue.

What Are the Causes of Fluttering in Lower Abdomen?



Presence of fluttering is a very early sign of pregnancy. It is usually noticed by females between 6 and 12 days after ovulation. A pregnancy test can help you decide if that’s the case. However, negative test doesn’t always imply that you have not conceived, especially if you have taken the test too early. If you have the symptom of fluttering in abdomen and your pregnancy test is negative, then wait for a few days and repeat the test. If the results are still negative, then consult a doctor for your symptoms. They will take your medical history in detail, which will help them determine the cause of the symptom.

Fluttering in abdomen can also be noticed due to fetal movement. When a pregnant female first feels the movement of her developing baby, she usually tells those movements as fluttery feelings. In such cases, the female may have already been into 16th week of pregnancy and has very likely felt other signs and symptoms of pregnancy including tenderness of breasts and morning sickness. Sensations of swimming, rolling and turning can be felt in the later weeks of pregnancy.


Gas and Hyperacidity

Increased gas and acid levels in the digestive system can result in stimulation of the abdominal muscles leading to fluttering in lower abdomen. Very often the gas trapped in the intestines causes the feeling of fluttering. In fact, you can mistake gas for early fetal movements and vice versa, so it may become difficult to tell the difference between the two. If the fluttering is accompanied by flatulence or belching then very likely intestinal gas is the culprit.

You can relieve gas and hyperacidity by avoiding junk, spicy and fried food. You should drink lots of water to stay hydrated and increase your physical activity if you lead a sedentary life.


Bacteria and Viruses

Symptoms of fluttering in abdomen may also be caused due to bacterial and viral infection of the gastrointestinal tract. It commonly occurs as a result of eating undercooked food, or eating food that is stored for a long duration at room temperature (spoiled or contaminated food) or drinking contaminated water. The other symptoms of infection would include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, decreased appetite, bloody stools, fever etc.

Treatment includes staying hydrated and maintaining electrolyte balance. Antibiotics may be required to treat bacterial infections. Home remedies include drinking lots of fluids, eating small amounts at regular intervals, eating salty foods, eating foods or drinks rich in potassium such as bananas and fruit juice and not taking any medicine without the advice of your physician.


Bowel Disorders

Fluttering in lower abdomen may also be caused due to bowel disorders such as spastic colon, which is another term used for irritable bowel syndrome. It is characterized by increased contractions of the muscles of the bowels (large and small intestines). These contractions are also referred to as spasms. Other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include abdominal pain, constipation, bloating and diarrhea. The severity and cause of IBS varies in different individuals. The aim of treatment is to relieve symptoms and includes making changes in diet, reducing stress, increasing physical exercise and taking anti-diarrheal or anticholinergics medicines.


Twitching of Abdominal Muscles

Muscle twitching is very common and is experienced by many individuals every day. It can occur due to a number of reasons including:

  • Central nervous system hyperactivity: The other symptoms are panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, palpitations, breathlessness, cannot sit still, inability to relax, poor digestion, jittery or jumpy, high blood pressure, fear and high cholesterol. You should seek proper medical attention if you are experiencing such symptoms along with fluttering in the abdomen. You should also practice relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to relieve the symptoms.

  • Imbalance of the electrolytes (potassium, sodium, magnesium ,etc.): An even balance of electrolytes needs to be maintained in the body for its proper functioning. Fluttering in lower abdomen may also result from one of the electrolytes imbalances. The other symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are: irregular heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, lethargy, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, irritability, confusion etc. You should consult your physician if you are having any of these symptoms.

  • Muscle fatigue: Twitching of muscles may also occur due to muscle fatigue. Other symptoms may include muscle weakness, lack of energy etc.


Psychological Causes

Anxiety and stress are common causes of fluttering in abdomen. This condition is very often termed as having butterflies in your abdomen. It typically happens when a fight-or-flight reaction is experienced by your body. This reaction may occur as a result of speaking in the public, ongoing stress and anxiety or having an argument with a relative or a colleague. Due to stress and anxiety, stress hormones are released in the body. The central nervous system is stimulated by these hormones which results in fluttering of abdominal muscles. 

The other physical symptoms of stress and anxiety are muscle tension, pain in head, palpitations, rapid breathing, dizziness, shaking, sweating, insomnia, frequent desire to urinate, fatigue, change in appetite etc. The mental symptoms include anger, restlessness, nervousness or panic, especially when surrounded by people, feelings that something will go wrong, difficulty concentrating etc.

You can reduce stress and anxiety by getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, doing meditation, eating a well balanced diet, talking to a relative or friend and limiting consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Consult a counselor if you are not able to control the symptoms with these lifestyle modifications.


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