How to Treat Stomach Pain in Adults

Call 911 if:

Call 911 if:

  • The pain is in your lower right abdomen and tender to the touch, and you also have fever or are vomiting. These may be signs of appendicitis.
  • You're vomiting blood.
  • You have a hard time breathing.
  • You're pregnant and have belly pain or vaginal bleeding.

 

1. Over-the-Counter Medications

  • For gas pain, medicine that has the ingredient simethicone (Mylanta, Gas-X) can help get rid of it.
  • For heartburn from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), try an antacid or acid reducer (Pepcid AC, Zantac 75).
  • For constipation, a mild stool softener or laxative may help get things moving again.
  • For cramping from diarrhea, medicines that have loperamide (Imodium) or bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol) might make you feel better.
  • For other types of pain, acetaminophen (Aspirin Free Anacin, Liquiprin, Panadol, Tylenol) might be helpful. But stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Midol, Motrin), or naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan). They can irritate your stomach.

2. Home Remedies

You might try a heating pad to ease belly pain. Chamomile or peppermint tea may help with gas. Be sure to drink plenty of clear fluids so your body has enough water.

You also can do things to make stomach pain less likely. It can help to:

  • Eat several smaller meals instead of three big ones
  • Chew your food slowly and well
  • Stay away from foods that bother you (spicy or fried foods, for example)
  • Ease stress with exercise, meditation, or yoga

3. When to See a Doctor

It's time to get medical help if:

  • You have severe belly pain or the pain lasts several days
  • You have nausea and fever and can't keep food down for several days
  • You have bloody stools
  • It hurts to pee
  • You have blood in your urine
  • You cannot pass stools, especially if you're also vomiting
  • You had an injury to your belly in the days before the pain started
  • You have heartburn that doesn't get better with over-the-counter drugs or lasts longer than 2 weeks

 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 19, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

Australian Government Department of Health: "Abdominal pain self care."

Brigham and Women's Hospital: "Gas: Beat the Bloat."

Cleveland Clinic: "Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease," "Constipation," and "Treatment of Abdominal Pain."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Abdominal Pain, Short-Term," "Anti-diarrheal Medicines: OTC Relief for Diarrhea."

Mayo Clinic: "Nonulcer Stomach Pain."

Merck Manual: "Symptoms: Abdominal Pain."

 

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