A few years ago, I was diagnosed with reflux disease (commonly known as GERD) and liver problems. At times, my stomach pains would be so intense that they would double me over and, even after having my gall bladder removed, nearly everything I ate or drank caused intense heartburn. Sometimes, even drinking a glass of water would cause great discomfort.
While I was originally put on medications that would help to control this, I found they worked less and less over an extended period of use. Furthermore, with no medical insurance, this was very costly and I’ve never been all that fond of taking pills anyhow. With so many different factions at play, it seemed like a good time to turn to some of those old-fashioned home remedies and to see if they could offer me any relief.
I’m happy to say that, following a sensible diet and the following helpful home remedies for upset stomach, I am much healthier and virtually pain-free. If you’re interested in trying some home remedies for upset stomach, you might find similar lifestyle changes will help you as well.
As with any new diet or home remedy regimen, please discuss usage with your family doctor first. This is very important.
Step One: Talking to Your Doctor
You should never be afraid to talk to your doctor about thoughts and ideas, nor should you worry about asking him questions. I cannot stress this enough – Speaking with your family physician is essential, because he can discuss what treatments you are currently receiving and let you know if it’s safe to stop them and start something new (some medications can be very harmful if stopped abruptly). You will also want to discuss just what is causing your stomach upset, so you are able to choose the best household cure that will work best for you. Don’t be afraid – your doctor is sure to tell you the pros and cons of home remedies for upset stomachs.
Step Two: Consider Your Upset Stomach
Some people consider an upset stomach to encompass abdominal pains and cramping. Others will label it as nausea and/or vomiting. For still others, an upset stomach can even involve heartburn or gas. It’s important to take into consideration what is causing the problem before you can treat your upset stomach.
Step Three: Set Aside Some Calm Time
When I feel sick to my stomach or am suffering from discomfort and cramping, I often find it helpful to calm myself before trying anything else. Did you know that a lot of stomach problems can be caused by stress? It’s true – anything from a mild flutter in the tummy to burning pain can be brought about by various stress factors. Needless to say, the first step in alleviating the problem is to alleviate the stress.
Even if only for a few minutes, try to remove yourself from the stressful environment. I often find it helpful to go in my room, draw the curtains and lay down on my bed. Soft and soothing music or environmental sounds, such as gentle rainfall or waves, can also help you to relax and relieve some stress. Applying something warm to your abdomen can also be helpful – a heating pad, set on low, or a hot water bottle. Another good route is to take an old sock (but one without holes) and fill it 3/4 of the way full with uncooked rice. Tie or sew the top of the sock closed and then place it in your microwave and cook on high for 30-60 seconds until it is warm to the touch but not scalding hot. You can then apply this to the affected area and let the warmth ease the discomfort away. The best thing about the rice sock is that you can also use it for muscle aches and stiff necks, reheating it again and again, as needed!
Some Other Helpful Home Remedies for Upset Stomach
1. Baking Soda and Warm Water – It sounds horrible and tastes even worse, but this is one of the oldest and most popular cures for an upset stomach. To try this helpful home remedy, dissolve 1/2 a teaspoon in half a glass of warm water. Then just hold your nose and drink it down.
Baking soda is one of the most popular cures, but you should know it is not to be taken frequently. If it doesn’t help your upset stomach in 1-2 doses, then try something different. Also important to note is that this is not a recommended cure for senior citizens over the age of 60 years, nor is it recommended for young children.
2. Hot Tea – Hot teas can do wonders for an upset stomach. When choosing a hot tea, try to find a good ginger tea, chamomile tea or, my personal favorite, peppermint tea. Not only can ginger, chamomile and peppermint tea help to settle an upset stomach, but the warmth from the tea is also very soothing. Just remember to sip the tea – don’t drink it too quickly. Also, try to avoid adding sugar. If you would like to add a little more flavor to your tea, try using a bit of lemon juice or a little honey. Both of these are much more soothing and easier on an upset stomach.
3. Soda Pop – When I was little, my mother used to always make me drink flat Coca Cola or Ginger Ale when my stomach was upset. Another good home remedy for upset tummies (particularly in children) is to make a float from Sprite and a couple of scoops of lime sherbert – Kids love it and it often helps to sooth an upset stomach. Be sure to use sherbert though, as ice cream and other dairy products can often cause more discomfort.
4. Yogurt – While most dairy products are usually taboo when it comes to an upset stomach, yogurt is actually a very helpful home remedy for a sick stomach. The active cultures in the yogurt make it easier to digest, the creaminess soothes and coats the stomach, and yogurt can often help give the digestive system a little boost and get it working again. Besides, it’s not heavy on the stomach, which is always a plus when you feel ill. Incidentally, it’s good for women to eat yogurt when they’re taking antibiotics too, as it will help to prevent yeast infections. Talk about a good home remedy!
5. Peppermint Hard Candies – My mother always carried peppermints around in her purse and now I know why. Sucking on peppermint candies not only gives you a dose of soothing peppermint (a popular home cure for upset stomachs), but it also increases saliva production, which is one of the body’s natural methods of curing an upset stomach. Just suck on the candy slowly and try to relax until the discomfort passes. I recommend Altoids Curiously Strong Peppermints for this but, if you’re in a pinch, you can also try some peppermint gum to help increase saliva production. Just avoid overly sweet mints as they will only upset your stomach more.
6. Ginger – If you can handle something a little on the tangy side, you might try sucking on a piece of fresh ginger root (or you can use the ginger chips you can buy in the store). You will want to suck on it, primarily, but will need to chew on it occasionally to keep it releasing its natural juices. Be forewarned, though – not everyone can suck on ginger for very long. It can get quite hot and tangy.
7. Cider Vinegar – Another bad tasting, but tried-and-true home remedy for stomach upset is taking a teaspoon of cider vinegar. While it doesn’t taste the best (and is usually too smelly for kids to take), it works great for helping to neutralize an upset stomach.
8. Mustard – A less-known cure for stomach upset is to try a teaspoon of mustard. If that sounds distasteful, try making a mustard sandwich, putting mustard on a piece of bread and eating that like a regular sandwich. Just try to avoid putting anything else in the sandwich, as you won’t want your stomach to have to work at digesting lunch meats or cheese. Straight up is the best route to take.
9. Charcoal – Charcoal is commonly used for upset stomachs or for when someone has eaten something that is making them ill. For a quick home remedy dose of charcoal, just make some toast and burn it. Eating burnt toast will give you a little of this natural charcoal and often helps to calm an upset stomach.
10. Spicy Food vs. Non-Spicy – We’ve all heard how you’re supposed to avoid spicy foods when you have an upset stomach. Surprisingly however, spicy foods can actually help sometimes. If your stomach is too alkaline, eating a mild chili pepper or having a little cayenne pepper can actually make your stomach feel better.
There are many different natural cures for an upset stomach, but these are some good methods that have withstood the test of time and been passed down from generation to generation. There are many different methods to try, from eating dry crackers of toast, to eating bananas or just drinking lots of water – In the end, you need to try and find whichever one works best for you. Hope you’re feeling better soon!
http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/ – Discusses nausea and vomiting, granting a time frame for treatments
Personal experience, suffering from GERD and liver problems, removal of gall bladder due to suspected gall bladder disease, etc.