Font Size
A
A
A

Heat Cramps

Heat Cramps Quick Overview

Patient Comments
  • Heat cramps are muscle cramps occurring during or after exercise or work in a hot environment.
  • Heat cramps are thought to be caused by a deficiency in electrolytes.
  • Symptoms of heat cramps are painful muscle spasms.
  • Heat cramps are treated by rehydrating with fluids by mouth or intravensously (IV).
  • Heat cramps can be prevented by avoiding strenuous work or exercise in a hot environment, and staying hydrated.

Heat Cramps Definition

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that occur during or after exercise or work in a hot environment. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Cramping may also be delayed and occur a few hours later.

Heat cramps usually involve muscles fatigued by heavy work such as the calves, thighs, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Heat cramps also may involve the chest or abdominal cavity (stomach cramps) in severe cases. A person is most at risk when:

  • Performing work or activities in a hot environment, usually during the first few days of an activity the person is not used to
  • Sweating a great deal during exercise and not rehydrating adequately with water or electrolyte fluid replacement drinks (such as Gatorade or Powerade)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/18/2015

Must Read Articles Related to Heat Cramps

Dehydration (Adults)
Dehydration in Adults Dehydration occurs when the loss of body fluids (mostly water), exceeds the amount that is taken in. Causes of dehydration include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, di...learn more >>
Dehydration in Children
Dehydration in Children Dehydration in children can result from not drinking enough liquids, vomiting, diarrhea, or combination of these conditions. Causes of dehydration in children i...learn more >>
Electrolytes
Electrolytes Electrolyes including sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are chemicals that help the cells and organs of the body function. Electrolyte imbalance can result from...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Heat Cramps:

Heat Cramps - Signs And Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your heat cramps?

Heat Cramps - Treatment

What was your treatment for heat cramps?

Heat Cramps - Experience

Please share your experience with heat cramps.

Heat Cramps - Causes

What caused your heat cramps?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Heatstroke »

Heat illness may be viewed as a continuum of illnesses relating to the body's inability to cope with heat.

Read More on Medscape Reference »