Stomach problems again? Do you feel nauseous, like you are going to vomit at any minute? Or perhaps your upset stomach feels more like being bloated, that full, uncomfortable feeling. Maybe your upset stomach resembles indigestion. Whichever it is, it is never fun to have an upset stomach. Instead of heading into the doctor every time your stomach twinges, or chugging half a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, or chewing a roll of Tums, there are plenty of alternatives out there that can bring a calming sensation to your rolling stomach.
Clear Liquids and Crackers
Some people swear by warm 7-UP, others would recommend ginger ale. Whichever is your preference, clear liquids have been seen as a home remedy for upset stomachs for years. This is usually accompanied by the eating of saltine crackers. Many mothers and grandmothers swear that this works because the crackers coat your stomach and the liquids keep you hydrated, preventing you from dehydration and a possibly worse upset stomach. If you want to try a safe route, this is always a good way to go.
I know, I know, right now you are raising an eyebrow at the screen. Peppermint? Yes, peppermint. Peppermint has been used as a home remedy for years in my house. If your stomach was upset, my grandmother would tell you to pop in a peppermint candy and usually it went away.
The Mayo Clinic even swears by it. They recommend herbal tea that has been infused with peppermint. The best that I have found is Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Herb Tea. You can find it at any grocery store for about five dollars. It’s non-caffeinated, so it’s great for expectant mothers who are having problems with morning sickness. If you have a tea that you particularly like, you can also buy peppermint leaves that are alone in tea bags and steep it alongside your favorite type. If this is the route that you would rather go, I would suggest Heather’s Tummy Tea: Loose Organic Peppermint Tea. You can get a 16 oz. pouch at Amazon.com for $17.99. It’s certified organic and kosher certified, and makes a great tea by itself or added to another.
If tea isn’t your thing, and you still want the benefits of peppermint, then you can always try Iberogast, better known as STW 5. This is an herbal supplement made up of peppermint, chamomile flower, Angelica root, celandine, licorice root, caraway fruit, and lemon balm leaf. I know that some people don’t believe that herbal remedies actually work, and it’s really more of a placebo affect, but a study done by a group of German doctors published by the National Institutes of Health, showed that this particular supplement did have effects on the stomach. What this supplement does is slows the nausea waves that the stomach is sending to your brain, which in turns calms your stomach.
Medline Plus, a government service provided by the U.S. Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, has an extensive index of known medicines, ingredients, and herbal supplements. Within this index they have listed more information than one could possibly need: the other names an herb is known by, it’s uses, a brief history of it’s use in medicine, grades if it has been used in particular studies, side affects, interactions, and much, much more. According to this site, ginger root is a great home remedy for an upset stomach. It’s been used in Oriental medicine for hundreds of years, and is considered a safe alternative to conventional medicines aimed towards upset stomachs. It was given a B grade in the upset stomach category, and is also safe for pregnant women to use for morning sickness as there are few side affects associated with ginger root.
The best way to take ginger root is to get a fresh root from the grocery store, clean it, and then boil it into a tea-like drink. Remove the root and viola! You have a quick easy remedy for upset stomach. There are also some teas that infuse ginger into their mixture. One such tea is Revolution: Sweet Ginger Peach Tea. You can find this tea at most health food stores for about $5 a box. Ginger also comes in a supplement pill form. You can get a 100 capsule Nature’s Way Ginger Root bottle for around $9 at GNC.
Remember that with any herbal supplement, they are not monitored by the FDA and such be used with caution. If your nausea gets worse after using these supplements, stop using them right away and see a doctor.
If an upset stomach seems like a constant thing, then you may need to make some changes to your lifestyle to try and alleviate this problem. The Mayo Clinic offers several possible solutions to constant upset stomachs and indigestion.
The first is to take a look at your diet. Do you eat a lot of spicy foods? Does your stomach seem to hurt after such meals? Then you may need to look at weeding out these trigger foods. Other contributions may be caffeine or alcohol, as these tend to irritate the stomach lining. Also try smaller, more frequent meals. By eating in smaller portions, your stomach has time to fully digest your food and may in turn, reduce the number of stomach aches you have.
Do you take a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs? These can be a huge contribution to frequent stomach aches. If you cannot cut down on the amount that you take, then be sure to take these medications with food. Foods that contain grains and dairy are the best to take these medications with because they coat your stomach, giving the lining some protection while the medicines dissolve.
Too much stress can certainly be an easy way to give yourself a stomach ache, believe me, I know. You have to take a step back and calm down because if you cannot get your stress level down, an occasional upset stomach may be the least of your troubles. High stress levels can contribute to the forming of ulcers, an increase in headaches, and a swelling of your blood pressure, which all in turn can cause more health problems. Take time to take a deep breath, reflect on what is causing you stress, and then do something that you love, like reading. Just something to take your mind off of it for a few minutes and let yourself get back under control.
There are many contributions to stomach aches and many can go away with simple home remedies. However if your stomach ache has continued for two weeks and is accompanied with weight loss, abnormal stools, jaundice, or chest pains, get yourself to the doctor right away.