Stomachaches are so common that everyone experiences them at one point or another. There are dozens of reasons why you might get a tummy ache. Most causes aren’t serious and the symptoms pass quickly. Generally, there’s no need to look further than your kitchen for a solution.
1. Bitters and soda
A bar is probably the last place you’d think to look for relief from nausea, but many people swear by five or six drops of cocktail bitters mixed into a cold glass of tonic, club soda, or ginger ale.
Most common bitters brands contain a blend of herbs such as cinnamon, fennel, mint, and ginger. These ingredients may be why bitters help ease nausea in some people.
Since ancient times, people have turned to ginger as a cure-all for everything from pain to nausea. It’s not just an old wives’ tale, either. Ginger can be a very effective treatment for some kinds of stomach upset.
A natural anti-inflammatory, ginger is available in many forms, all of which can help. Ginger chews and supplements are easy to take, while other people prefer their ginger in beverage form. Try an all-natural ginger ale or chop up some fresh ginger root and make a tea.
3. Chamomile tea
A nice cup of chamomile tea can help ease the pain of an upset stomach by acting as an anti-inflammatory. These anti-inflammatory properties help your stomach muscles relax, which can reduce the pain of cramping and spasms.
4. BRAT diet
Every parent of a toddler knows about the bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT) diet to calm an upset stomach. It can help nausea or diarrhea.
BRAT contains low-fiber, high-binding foods. None of these foods contain salt or spices, which can further aggravate symptoms. This bland diet is a go-to for when you’re feeling sick but still have to eat something. Try overcooking the toast the charred bread is thought to reduce nausea.
Peppermint is often cited as a helpful fix for nausea and upset stomach because the menthol in its leaves is a natural analgesic, or pain reliever.
- brewing a cup of peppermint or spearmint tea
- sniffing peppermint extract
- sucking on a minty candy
- chewing on the leaves themselves
This should keep stomach pangs at bay and alleviate feelings of nausea.
6. Apple cider vinegar
If you can stomach it, try taking this acidic pantry staple by the tablespoon to neutralize an upset stomach. Too strong? Mix a tablespoon with a cup of water and a teaspoon of honey, and sip it slowly.
The acids in apple cider vinegar may help decrease starch digestion, allowing the starch to get to the intestines and keep the bacteria in the gut healthy. Some people take a spoonful each day as a preventive measure.
7. Heating pad
You might find a heating pad or hot water bottle soothing when you’re feeling sick, so cuddle up to your electric blanket and take it easy until your symptoms pass.
The warmth on your stomach will distract you from any cramping or pain, and the heat can help to relax your muscles and reduce your nausea. Don’t leave it on too long, however, as you can damage your skin from overuse.
When to see a doctor
Stomach problems sometimes do indicate a more serious problem. Prolonged vomiting puts you at risk for dehydration. Drinking small sips of water can help prevent dehydration. Go see a doctor if you are having trouble keeping water down for longer than six hours. You should also call your doctor if you experience nausea or stomach pain and discomfort for more than 48 hours.
If you notice that you are consistently having stomach troubles after eating certain foods or engaging in specific activities, talk to your doctor about your symptoms at your next visit. It may be nothing, but a quick trip to your family doctor can rule out Crohn’s disease, a food allergy, or any other concerns.