Stomach aches can be painful and get in the way of your – or your child’s – daily routine. There are some medications that can help, but there are also many natural remedies to help soothe tummy aches.
There are few things worse than having an upset stomach and diarrhea. This condition can completely throw off your day, keeping you tied to your toilet and limiting the foods and drinks you can enjoy. Understanding what causes these symptoms to arise and how to treat them effectively can dramatically cut down the time and effort you spend dealing with them.
An upset stomach, also known as indigestion, is a general term used to describe discomfort or pain felt in the upper abdomen. Some common symptoms associated with an upset stomach are:
- Body chills
- Burning Sensation heartburn)
- Headache or body aches
An upset stomach is usually followed by diarrhea, which is loose, watery, and, potentially, more-frequent bowel movements. Symptoms associated with diarrhea may include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Blood in the stool
- Mucus in the stool
- Sudden need to have a bowel movement
Common Causes of Itchy Skin
Itching (pruritus) can be more than a small annoyance. It can cause a lot of discomfort and may even become a distraction. You may be wondering when itching is serious and how you can cure your itchiness at home.
The following are the common causes of itchy skin:
- Skin lesions
- Dry skin
- Internal illnesses
- Insect bites or stings
- Lack of hygiene
Natural stomach ache remedies
Tea — Chamomile, peppermint and ginger teas are great options to help calm a restless stomach. Add a little honey, and kids will be more likely to take a sip.
Heat — Drawing a warm bath for kids when they have an upset stomach is another solution. The warmth of the water helps relax them and eases their discomfort.
Essential oils — Essential oils can help relieve many day-to-day discomforts, tummies included. Peppermint oil or ginger oils work well. Lavender and cinnamon oils are also good options.
Fiber — Chronic stomachaches might be a result of constipation. Adjust the diet by eliminating dairy and increasing high-fiber vegetables. Items like prunes, raisins and apricots help people “go” easier. And don’t forget to make sure you or your kiddos are drinking lots of water!
BRAT — Conversely, if you don’t suspect constipation, the BRAT diet can help with symptoms of nausea or diarrhea. BRAT stands for banana, rice, applesauce and toast. All of these foods are low in fiber but high binding, making them especially helpful when a child is making many trips to the restroom or when eating, in general, sounds unappetizing.
Other Upset Stomach Remedies
Most stomach ailments can be treated at home. As soon as you start feeling sick, begin limiting your diet to clear liquids in frequent, small amounts. Make sure to drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or a pale yellow.
If you’re not able to keep liquids down and begin to vomit, start with sips of water or sucking on ice chips. Once you are able to keep that down, try other fluids like:
- Clear soup broth or bouillon
- Decaffeinated tea
- Sports drinks
- Clear soft-drinks like 7-Up, Sprite, or Ginger Ale
- Juices like apple, grape, cherry, or cranberry (make sure to avoid citrus juices)
Once you are able to keep all liquids down, try some solid foods along with the liquids. Good foods to try are:
- Soda crackers
- White rice
- White toast
It may take several days to one week to regain your appetite, energy level, and for your bowels to regain normalcy.
Diarrhea TreatmentsMost cases of diarrhea clear on their own within a couple of days without treatment. If you’ve tried lifestyle changes and home remedies for an upset stomach and diarrhea without success, your doctor might recommend the following:
ElectrolytesWhile water is an effective method to replace fluids, it doesn’t contain the salts and electrolytes that are essential for your body to function. Drinking liquids that have these essential minerals like sodium and potassium can increase your speed of recovery from diarrhea.
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AntibioticsAntibiotics might help treat diarrhea caused by bacteria or parasites. If a virus is causing your diarrhea, antibiotics won’t help. Alternatively, if your doctor determines that antibiotics are what’s causing your diarrhea, they will likely lower the dose or switch to another medication.
Treatment to Replace FluidsYour body loses a lot of water when you have diarrhea. Your doctor will likely recommend a steady regimen to ensure you are replacing the fluids and salts your body has lost. This usually means drinking plenty of water, juices, and broth. If drinking liquids upsets your stomach or causes vomiting, your doctor might recommend getting IV fluids.
Treating underlying conditionsYour diarrhea might be caused by a more serious condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease. If your doctor determines this to be the case, you might be referred to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist, who can help devise a treatment plan for you.
Upset Stomach and Diarrhea Prevention
One of the best things you can do to avoid an upset stomach and diarrhea is to avoid certain foods that are known to cause them. These include:
- Fatty or greasy foods
- Non-cultured dairy products (i.e. milk, cheese, ice cream)
- Raw vegetables
- Spicy foods
- Whole grains
Additional prevention measures you should take to avoid an upset stomach are:
- Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating or handling food
- Do not share eating or drinking utensils with others
- Avoid milk, cheese, or egg-based foods that have not been refrigerated
- Handle uncooked meat or poultry carefully — wash hands, utensils, and work surfaces well after preparing, especially before handling other foods
When to See a Doctor
An upset stomach and diarrhea are usually nothing to worry about. Consult your doctor if the symptoms don’t go away after two days or if they begin to get worse in that time. Additionally, consult your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- You feel dehydrated, including feeling excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- You have severe abdominal or rectal pain
- You have bloody or black stools
- You have a fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit