One of the most common and frequent pains people experience occurs in the stomach. The causes of stomach pain are many, given that it is one of your body’s most active and important organs. Thankfully, most stomach pains aren’t serious, and there are quick and easy remedies for most cases.
There are, however, stomach pains that should be taken seriously and require immediate action. Understanding the difference between serious and mild pains, and how to deal with them, can be critical to staying safe and healthy.
Remedies and Treatments for Stomach Pain
Stomach pains — also known as stomachaches, tummy aches, and bellyaches — can range from mildly annoying to painfully incapacitating. It can be caused by a food allergy, indigestion, or eating something that has gone bad. Or it can be something more serious like an ulcer, Crohn’s disease, or stomach cancer.
At home, there are things you can do, and things you can take, to potentially alleviate your stomach pain.
Use a Heating Pad
A simple remedy is to place a heating pad where it hurts on your stomach. The heat relaxes your outer stomach muscles and promotes movement in the digestive tract. Lying down usually works best. Keep it on your stomach for 15 minutes.
Draw a Hot Bath
Similar to a heating pad, the warm, soothing effect of a hot bath not only relaxes the stomach area, but it also relaxes the rest of your body. Once the water temperature is to your liking, soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Get Some Sleep
A recent study found that digestive disruptions can be directly tied to lack of sleep. Getting a full night’s rest improves the overall health of your body and can help ease any stomach pains you may be experiencing.
Overeating causes your stomach to expand and push against other internal organs, causing discomfort. It also forces your intestines to produce extra hydrochloric acid, which can squeeze up into your stomach, causing pain. Controlling the amount you eat not only helps with limiting weight gain, but it can also help the overall health and operational efficiency of your stomach.
This ancient brew has been used for countless homeopathic remedies for centuries, and it is especially effective in soothing an upset stomach. Its anti-inflammatory properties help your stomach muscles relax, which can reduce cramp and spasm pains.
This versatile herb can be consumed in many forms, from teas to pills to food. Ginger has been found to significantly improve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting, as well as being a soothing relaxant for the stomach.
Nausea is a persistent cause of stomach pain. Ingesting peppermint, either in a tea or a supplement, can help alleviate nausea and make your stomach feel better.
Sometimes stomach pain can be caused by indigestion or a buildup of gas that sits in your stomach. Drinking soda water can encourage you to burp, releasing the stuck gas.
It is not recommended, however, to take pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen like Advil or Motrin because these can cause stomach irritation that may worsen abdominal pain.
When to See a Doctor
Persistent stomach pain could be a sign that there is something more seriously wrong, and you should consider seeking medical attention. Continual vomiting, for example, could lead to other ailments like dehydration.
If you experience severe symptoms like consistent intense cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting blood, you should call your doctor. You should also consult the doctor if you consistently have issues with your stomach after eating certain foods or engaging in specific activities.
Remedies for Children
For one reason or another, children are almost guaranteed to experience some form of stomach pain at some point in their lives. It is important to ask your child specifically what they are feeling so you can get an idea of how to help them.
Some effective remedies include teas like peppermint tea, which has been proven to be very effective in helping children cope and recover from stomach pain.
As with adults, if your child’s symptoms persist or get worse, seek medical help.
Almost 10% of all visits to the emergency room are stomach-related. You should call your doctor immediately if the pains in your stomach are so severe that you can't move, or you can't sit still or find a comfortable position that doesn’t cause additional pain.
Seek immediate medical help if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms like:
- Bloody stools
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Skin that appears yellow
- Severe tenderness when you touch your abdomen
- Swelling of the abdomen