What Causes Upset Stomach (Indigestion)?
Upset stomach (also called indigestion or dyspepsia) is a term used for pain and discomfort in the stomach. What causes an upset stomach? A number of factors can play a role including eating greasy or spicy foods, eating too much or too quickly, consuming too much alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, or carbonated beverages, anxiety, smoking, and certain antibiotics. Knowing what causes indigestion can help you avoid it, but there are also natural remedies you can use to soothe an upset stomach if it occurs.
How to Cure an Upset Stomach Naturally
If you have indigestion and want to avoid taking medication to address it, there are many ways to get natural upset stomach relief. Below are some indigestion remedies that many people find helpful.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe an upset stomach. It also contains chemicals that can accelerate stomach contractions to move offending foods through the stomach more quickly. It can be consumed in chew or supplement form or added to beverages like tea.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
The acids in apple cider vinegar promote alkalinity in the stomach, which alleviates nausea. It has a strong, sour flavor, so some people consume it as a “shot.” You can also add it to water with a touch of honey and sip it, if you prefer.
3. Carbonated Drinks
Some people find that the bubbles in carbonated drinks help soothe an upset stomach, in part by making it easier for them to burp and release stomach pressure. For others, gas and acidity can make matters worse. If you’re not sure how these drinks affect you, sip them slowly and cautiously.
4. Peppermint or Chamomile Tea
Peppermint and chamomile tea can be used for natural upset stomach relief. They relax the muscles of the digestive tract and reduce cramping and intestinal muscle spasms.
5. BRAT Diet
Short for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, the BRAT diet is helpful in reducing diarrhea that can accompany an upset stomach. The starch in these items bind food together in the digestive tract, creating firmer stools.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter antacids. You can consume it mixed into a glass of water to achieve the same stomach-soothing effect. About half a teaspoon in four ounces of warm water is all you need.
7. Use a Heating Pad
Applying a heating pad to can help relax the stomach muscles and reduce nausea and stomach pain. Just be careful not to use too high a heat setting or leave the heating pad on too long, as this can damage your skin.
8. Drink More Water
The body uses water in the digestion of food. Being dehydrated can inhibit this process and cause nausea and cramping. Be sure to stay hydrated by consuming water throughout the day, and up your intake if you have an upset stomach and suspect that dehydration may be the cause.
Take Care of Your Stomach
In most cases, natural remedies for indigestion can provide relief. However, you should talk with your doctor if you have ongoing stomach issues, and especially if they’re accompanied by these or other concerning symptoms:
● Frequent or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
● Chronic constipation
● Inability to pass gas
● Blood in your stool or vomit
● Trouble swallowing
● Unintended weight loss
● A lump in your stomach or abdomen
● Unexplained arm pain
● Painful urination
● A history of iron-deficiency anemia
Learn more tips on managing other stomach-related problems, such as bloating.