Knowing how to get rid of stomach pain will help you feel calmer. But don’t rely on over-the-counter antacids, and see a doctor if the problem continues.
Stomach aches are common. The usual suspects include gastritis — inflammation of the stomach lining related to an infection, a drug side-effect, tobacco, or alcohol.
Your pain could be caused by acid reflux, or gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. Fatty, spicy foods may set this off; some people have a hiatal hernia, when part of the stomach bulges out.
If your pain is severe and always follows eating cheese or drinking milk, you suffer from lactose intolerance and should avoid all dairy foods.
Some stomach aches are caused simply by anxiety.
Talk to a doctor quickly if the pain is intense or doesn’t go away. You may have a digestive disorder that needs treatment, or you may need to revamp your diet. Sometimes a lack of fiber or food sensitivity could be causing your discomfort. Also, if you are dizzy, vomit for more than two days, or have bloody or black tar-like stools, you need medical advice.
If the problem persists and other causes have been ruled out
About one percent of the population, often women, have frequent abdominal pain without diarrhea or constipation — the usual symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). They might benefit, however, some doctors say, from a low dose of amitriptyline, a standard treatment for IBS.
How to get rid of stomach pain at home
Try heat. A heating pad or hot water bottle should work fine. You can make a pad yourself by filling a wool or cotton sock with dry rice, tying it at the top, and heating it in a microwave. Just be sure the sock doesn’t contain synthetics. Lie down and put the heat on the location of the pain. It might take some time before you feel better so put on headphones or pick up a book or watch TV. If you are anxious, you might also try meditating, following your breath.
Drink herbal tea. Mint is a natural painkiller, and hot mint tea is a good solution when you’re trying to decide how to get rid of stomach pain. Chamomile tea can reduce inflammation in your stomach, and generally help you relax. Another herb good for the digestion is fennel. You’ll find it in some teas designed for stomach-soothing. Ginger tea is also good for digestion.
Putting lemon in your tea will stimulate your stomach to produce more acid, which may be helpful. You can also just drink lemon in hot water. To get multiple benefits, try mixing ginger, lemon, and mint with honey in a hot liquid.
Cinnamon is another digestive aid, so add a cinnamon stick!
Herbs and spices
If you don’t want to drink a hot liquid, you can get the benefits of herbs and spices in other ways. You can chew on mint leaves or a piece of a fennel bulb or on some fennel seeds. You can even chew on ginger root.
An Indian herb called asafetida also can help you get rid of stomach pain. Drink it in warm water.
You can also put lemon into club soda, and the carbonation may be soothing. But avoid sugary sodas.
If you’re at a bar, ask for bitters and club soda. Bitters may include all the good digestive herbs like cinnamon, fennel, mint, and ginger.
Other ways to get rid of stomach pain
Drink rice water. If you have gastritis, the water left over after rice is boiled can coat and soothe your stomach. Use four cups of water to cook the rice, and make sure the rice becomes soft.
Drink apple cider vinegar mixed with water or fruit juice. It may sound odd to add an acid to your stomach when it hurts, but sometimes this helps.
Drink baking soda in water. Most over-the-counter antacids rely on baking soda, and you can use a teaspoon in warm water. Warm salt water can also help.
Go on a diet of BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) for a day. The food is all bland and will keep you full.
Try the Knee-to Stomach yoga pose. Draw your knees up to your chest, keeping your back completely flat on the floor, and hug your shins. Hold for a minute or so, then release. You can try it again.
January 31, 2019
Janet O’Dell, RN