Stomach pain can occur for a variety of reasons. In general, there are two types of stomach pain, chronic and intermittent. Chronic stomach pain that is constant or comes and goes continuously over a period of time is likely to be the result of an underlying medical condition. Intermittent stomach pain that only occurs on occasion is likely due to a mild stomach occurrence such as indigestion, gas or heartburn, or may simply be a side effect of eating something that does not agree with you.
1. Look Closely At Your Diet
Pay close attention to the foods that you eat so you can determine exactly which ones, if any, may be causing stomach pain. One good way to do this is to create a food journal. A food journal allows you to keep track of everything that you eat as well as any symptoms that you may experience as a result of those foods.
In your food journal, be sure to include the foods that you eat, the time that you eat them, any discomfort that you experience after eating a particular food and how long after you ate the discomfort developed. Also include the length of time that the symptom was present for. Include any remedies your tried or foods your ate that brought you relief.
By monitoring your daily food intake this way, you will be able to quickly identify any foods that may be causing your stomach pain and eliminate them from your diet if necessary.
2. Stay Hydrated
It is very important that you stay hydrated. Dehydration is a contributing factor in upset stomachs. This is especially true when suffering from a stomach virus. Individuals who have a stomach bug usually have no desire to eat or drink and may even have an extremely difficult time keeping any foods or liquids in their system at all. It is important to force yourself to consume liquids, as dehydration can lead to a worsening of stomach discomfort and can lead to more vomiting.
An effective way to ensure you are getting enough liquids is to sip only a small amount at a time. Start by drinking one tablespoon of clear liquid every 15 minutes. Once you can tolerate that amount, increase it to 2 tablespoons and so on. It may not do much to quench your thirst, but it will keep you hydrated which will lessen the severity of the upset stomach and will speed recovery. In addition, drinking an average of 6 to 8 glasses of water can help keep your intestines functioning better, which will help flush out toxins and virus particles. Other fluids that can help keep you properly hydrated include:
- Fruit juices
- Clear broths
- Caffeine-free tea
- Sparkling water
- Sports drinks
3. Stock Up On Ginger
Ginger has a long history of use in relieving stomach pain and helping to ease an upset stomach. Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines. It is a digestive aid that helps transport food effectively through the digestive tract. Ginger can be chewed raw or made into a tea.
While there are several ginger tea varieties available, fresh ginger in its pure state is the most potent and therefore the most effective at relieving stomach pain. You can make a fresh cup of ginger tea by first peeling and grating the ginger, then placing ½ teaspoon in a cup of hot water. Allow it to sit for up to 3 minutes then strain out the ginger and drink the tea. You can also try natural ginger ale (stay away from sweetened varieties and those that contain high fructose corn syrup) and ginger candy.
4. Eat Caraway Or Fennel Seeds
Both caraway and fennel seeds are helpful in treating an upset stomach. They aid in digestion and help to eliminate gas pains. Many herbalists prescribe these seeds to patients suffering from stomach pain. The seeds can be chewed or used to make a tea. To make a tea, add hot water to 1 teaspoon seeds. Cover and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain out the seeds and drink the tea. This home remedy works best when taken on an empty stomach.
5. Make Herbal Tea
Ginger and seeds are not the only effective teas for treating stomach pain. Many herbal tea remedies can help ease discomfort and reduce stomach pain. Health food stores carry a large variety of pre-made herbal teas specifically made to treat stomach problems. Generally considered more effective than store bought herbal teas, homemade teas can be made from fresh herbs and spices. Common herbal tea ingredients that aid in digestion and ease stomach discomfort include:
- Lemon balm
Fresh mint tea can be made by simply adding some sprigs of fresh mint to a cup of boiling water. Thyme tea can be made by mixing 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves with boiling water and allowing it to sit, covered, for up to 10 minutes. Chamomile tea can help take away stomach cramps and aches and has a beneficial calming effect.
6. Eat Bland Foods
When suffering from stomach pain caused by an upset stomach, it is best to stick to a light, bland diet. If you are experiencing stomach pain, you may be tempted to avoid food altogether. The problem with this is that if your stomach is empty, it can send your stomach acids into overdrive. When this happens, the best way to calm those acids is to eat something. Eat simple, bland foods such as white rice, bananas, dry toast, apples or light crackers. If you can’t bring yourself to eat more than a bite or two, just continue to nibble here and there throughout the day. This will ensure you always have something in your stomach, which will help keep stomach acid to a minimum.
7. Make Your Own Antacid Drink
Just as the name implies, antacids are helpful in cutting back on stomach acids. When you take an antacid, it starts working immediately to neutralize the acids that are produced in the stomach. The desired result is a reduction in stomach pain and heartburn. One problem with taking over the counter or prescriptions antacids is that they can have additional unwanted side effects such as diarrhea or constipation. One way to eliminate those unwanted side effects is to make our own natural antacid out of baking soda. Mixing ½ teaspoon of baking soda with ½ teaspoon of water will provide you with a quick and effective acid neutralizing compound.
8. Drink Carbonated Beverages
Carbonated beverages can be an effective home remedy for eliminating gas bubbles and easing stomach pain. Drinking un-caffeinated, carbonated beverages, especially natural ginger ale, lemon-lime soda or cola, can induce burping, which allows you to expel trapped gas. This is particularly helpful if your upset stomach is the result of overeating.
9. Use Heat On The Stomach
Applying heat to the stomach can do wonders for eliminating stomach pain of all kinds. There are many ways in which you can apply heat to the stomach. A hot water bottle or moist heated towels almost always do the trick. In addition to those tried and true home remedies, you can try making a warm rice compress by heating up some uncooked rice in the microwave. Place the heated rice in a large plastic baggie and wrap in a cotton t-shirt or towel and apply to the stomach.
You can also heat salt in a pot and place the heated salt in a tube sock. Place the sock on the stomach and let the heat get to work. Not only does heat provide soothing comfort, but it also helps to increase circulation and improve blood flow to the abdomen. This leads to more effective digestion and a decrease in painful stomach cramps.
10. Know Which Foods to Avoid
Equally as important as what you should eat when suffering from stomach pain is what you should not eat. While simple, bland foods can alleviate your stomach aches and pains, eating heavier, hearty foods can have the opposite effect. During bouts of stomach pain, steer clear of all caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Both can have undesirable effects on the stomach. Stay away from any foods that are spicy or fried and do not eat any citrus fruits, including juice. Skip foods that are high in fat and avoid eating anything that is dairy-based.
Remember to always consult a doctor or seek medical attention for severe stomach pain or if you experience any other symptoms. These home remedies can be used to help alleviate stomach pain, but should not be used to replace medical treatment from a physician or other qualified health practitioner.