What Causes a Stomach Ache?
A stomach ache is a term used to refer to dull or mild pain or cramps in the abdomen. They are usually not very serious and short-lived. Often, a stomach ache is caused by constipation, bloating, gas, pregnancy, a stomach virus, menstrual cramps or indigestion. However, the symptoms of these can be quite uncomfortable, which is why people seek stomach ache remedies.
Severe abdominal pain is a greater cause for concern. Intense stomach pain may be triggered by serious conditions such as: pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gall stones, inflammatory bowel disease or appendicitis. If your stomach pain is severe, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Fortunately, if you are experiencing a dull or mild stomach ache, it is often possible to treat the symptoms using home remedies. This article sheds light on some of the effective home remedies to treat stomach ache issues.
Natural Remedies to Help Soothe Stomach Ache Discomfort
Since times of old, ginger has been used as a cure-all for everything from pain to nausea due to its medicinal properties. As such, ginger has been reported to be a very effective treatment for some kinds of stomach problems.
Ginger is available in many forms — ginger chews, supplements and beverage form — and serves as a natural anti-inflammatory substance. It stimulates the production of bile, acting as a beneficial digestive aid. Ginger chews and supplements are easy to take, though some people have a preference for the beverage form. Ginger also helps people suffering from motion sickness, so it can help calm an upset stomach. Try an all-natural ginger ale or slice off half-inch pieces of some raw and fresh ginger root, then steep these pieces in hot water for a few minutes to make a tea. Add lemon or honey to tame that strong and potent ginger taste.
Menthol present in mint is beneficial in:
- Activating the antipain channel of the colon.
- Preventing diarrhea and vomiting.
- Relieving stomach aches.
- Alleviating muscle spasms in the intestines.
Several scientific studies have reported that mint has been used as a holistic stomach ache remedy for centuries. It serves as an effective medicine for treating any stomach disorders such as: flatulence, heartburn, diarrhea and indigestion. Mint leaves can be consumed by boiling them with a little cardamom (again helpful for any indigestion) to make a tea. The tea creates a soothing effect and relieves the discomfort and stomach pain.
BRAT diet is a name given to: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. This diet is mostly advised by physicians for giving relief to people with stomach pain and diarrhea. Since these items are bland, they do not contain any substances that could trigger irritation in the stomach or intestines.
All of these food items contain starch, which aids in binding foods together and firming the stools. The BRAT diet allows the gut a chance to rest and decreases the number of stools a person passes; it gives the individual a little ease from their stomach pain and diarrhea. Thus, this diet is very effective in soothing irritation in the digestive tissues triggered from the acids in vomit.
Chamomile is another anti-inflammatory agent and therefore a natural stomach pain reliever. Chamomile tea has carminative properties and reduces stomach cramping, abdominal gas, bloating, spasms and aids in relaxing the stomach muscles.
The tea alleviates any pain and helps soothe stomach conditions including irritable bowel syndrome. It provides a natural soothing and calming effect to exacerbated acid reflux problems, triggered by stress.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The acids present in apple cider vinegar make up for the inadequate acid levels required for digestion. Apple cider vinegar provides stomach ache relief by returning the stomach to normal acidity levels and allowing it to achieve homeostasis.
In a cup of water — mix a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar — and sip it slowly to neutralize the upset stomach.
A heating pad or a hot water bottle can ease your pain symptoms by offering warmth to the stomach. The heating pad not only provides comfort; the heat also blocks the effect of chemical messengers that trigger pain to be detected by the body. The warmth relaxes your stomach muscles, reduces cramps and reduces feelings of nausea by actually deactivating the pain at a molecular level.
Avoiding Difficult-to-Digest Foods
Food items that are difficult to digest trigger stomach pain and increase the risk of an upset stomach. Types of food that should be avoided to prevent the worsening of stomach discomfort are listed below:
- Fatty or fried
- Creamy or rich
- Heavily preserved or salty
Baking Soda, Lime or Lemon Juice and Water
Mix these three ingredients and make a drink. These ingredients produce carbonic acid, which is helpful in reducing a variety of digestive complaints, such as indigestion and gas. Carbonic acid also improves liver secretion, intestinal mobility, absorbs fats and alcohol, all the while neutralizing bile acids and reducing acidity in the stomach.
Cinnamon comprises of vital antioxidants that offer relief from several stomach discomforts. Some of the antioxidants present in cinnamon — such as cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, camphor and linalool — help to reduce bloating, gas, heartburn, belching and cramping.
Bitters and Soda
Digestive bitters contain a blend of herbs such as peppermint, fennel, ginger and cinnamon. These ingredients, along with Angostura and Peychaud's, promote and stimulate the flow of digestive juices. These digestive juices like bile, saliva, stomach acid and enzymes to break down the food, make the system ready for digestion and aid in the absorption of nutrients.
Soda also helps settle the stomach (with its slight fizz) and replenish glucose and fluids lost by diarrhea and vomiting.
When to See a Doctor
As a rule of thumb, you should see a doctor if the abdominal pain, nausea and discomfort continues for more than 48 hours. Prolonged vomiting and diarrhea put you at risk of dehydration. If you notice that you are: consistently having stomach pain that is dull and lasts for more than one week, having trouble after eating certain foods or engaging in specific activities, or experiencing significant pain that comes along with bloating for more than two days; you should see your doctor about your symptoms. This is critical because sometimes the symptoms could be fatal and result in serious diseases like Crohn's disease.