Now and then, we end up eating outside or overeat our favourite dish, leading to a bad reaction to our stomach. While we do regret our decision after suffering the painful consequences (like vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea), we somehow keep making the same mistakes. No cure exists for stomach aches as such, making us likely to suffer from it again, home remedies can help relieve some pain and may help you recover more quickly.
If you get stomach aches periodically, you’re not alone. An upset stomach can result from all sorts of things from stress and diet to more serious matters such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease or colon cancer.
While there is no comparison to care from one of our board-certified gastroenterologists, many stomach aches can easily be treated at home. However, if you have persistent issues or pain, or a sudden onset of severe symptoms, medical treatment is always your best option.
Stomach pain is a pain or an ache that a person experiences anywhere between the chest and groin.
This pain can vary in intensity and affect different areas of the abdomen, such as the:
Stomach pain can vary in intensity and has a variety of causes.
Symptoms of stomach pain and indigestion include:
- belching, sometimes bringing up bitter or foul-tasting fluid or food
- bad-smelling or sour breath
- hiccupping or coughing
- heartburn, or acid reflux
Causes of stomach pain
Abdominal pain may be due to more common causes such as gas, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Infectious illnesses such as the flu may also cause abdominal pain.
Home remedies and Foods To Eat For Easing Stomach Pain
Green BananaGreen bananas may help reduce the amount, severity and duration of diarrhoea episodes. Green bananas have a special type of fibre known as resistant starch that has powerful antidiarrheal effects. The resistant starch gets slowly fermented in the gut to produce a short-chain fatty acid that stimulates the bowels to absorb more water. Bananas also contain vitamin b6, potassium and folate. These nutrients help to ease cramps, pain and muscle spasm. Dr Thais Alvarez-Acosta, Venezuelan Paediatrician conducted a study on the benefits of green bananas in the management of diarrhoea and the result were positive.
PeppermintIrritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic gut disorder that can cause stomach ache, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. Peppermint may help reduce these uncomfortable symptoms. The menthol in peppermint may help reduces muscle spasms in the intestines and prevent vomiting and diarrhoea. A study Mymensingh College Hospital, Bangladesh supports this statement.
ChamomileChamomile has been historically used for remedies for multiple ailments, including stomach aches. This herbal plant has been used for a variety of intestinal problems like gas, indigestion, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Chamomile is also used in herbal supplements that relieve colic in babies. Although the gut-soothing effects of chamomile are widely recognised, it still requires more research to understand exactly how it works.
GingerCommon symptoms of stomach aches are nausea and vomiting. When we take care of these two, our body starts to feel better. A natural remedy for nausea and vomiting can be ginger. “Ginger is good in any of its forms, you can eat it raw or cooked and even consumed it as a liquid for effective results. People even use ginger to combat motion sickness. Ginger has excellent digestive and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr Ahuja, Fortis Hospital.
Avoiding lying down
Avoiding lying down may prevent indigestion from becoming heartburn.
When the body is horizontal, the acid in the stomach is more likely to travel backward and move upward, which can cause heartburn.
People with an upset stomach should avoid lying down or going to bed for at least a few hours until it passes.
Pros and cons
Avoiding lying down may be a convenient remedy if a person performs daily activities.
However, this remedy may not be suitable if a person experiences stomach pain during the time they rest or sleep.
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YoghurtStomach ache can be caused by dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is an imbalance of bacteria in your stomach. Foods rich in probiotics may help correct the imbalance and reduce symptoms like gas, bloating or irregular bowel movements. Plain yoghurt contains live and active bacterial culture that may help with constipation and diarrhoea. Plain yoghurt is easy to digest in a sensitive stomach. Ena Ray Banerjee, associate professor in the zoology department of University of Calcutta stated that probiotic products hold great promise for their anti-inflammatory and pro-regenerative roles in cases of IBD.
Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking and alcohol may trigger indigestion and other gastrointestinal conditions, such as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD).
Pros and cons
Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake improves people’s quality of life and reduces the risk of certain health conditions, such as cancer.
However, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol can be difficult, and people may require extra support.
Aloe vera may help reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and colitis, although the evidence for these benefits is slight and needs further research.
Pros and cons
In one study, researchers found that people who drank 10 milliliters (ml) of aloe vera syrup daily for 4 weeks found relief from the following symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD):
- flatulence and belching
- nausea and vomiting
- acid and food regurgitation
However, ingesting aloe vera may cause abdominal pain and cramps.
The following tips may help prevent stomach pain:
- eating slower
- eating less fatty or processed foods
- identifying food intolerances and allergies
- drinking more water
- reducing stress
- partaking in regular exercise
However, if a person has stomach pain that does not resolve itself or pain that interferes with their quality of life, they should contact a doctor for testing and treatment.
When to contact a doctor
If a person experiences stomach pain that does not go away or believes it may be a symptom of another condition, they should contact a doctor. A healthcare professional can investigate the cause of the stomach pain and prescribe treatment if necessary.
People should seek immediate medical attention if they experience stomach pain alongside:
- severe or sudden pain
- a tender or painful stomach
- vomiting blood or if vomit looks like ground coffee
- sticky, bloody, or black feces
- difficulty passing urine, feces, or gas
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- weight loss or loss of appetite
Stomach pain can result from various conditions, such as gas and indigestion, and may be a sign of more serious conditions such as bowel obstruction or appendicitis. Home remedies may help ease stomach pain.
However, other conditions share similar symptoms with indigestion. A person should contact a healthcare professional to ensure the stomach pain results from indigestion before trying home remedies.