Almost everyone has experienced stomach pain or cramps at one time or another, and for some people, stomach aches are a regular occurrence.
If you’ve got a stomach ache, you probably want relief as quickly as possible – even mild stomach cramps are annoying and can make it difficult to concentrate on anything.
Luckily, it’s not hard to get rid of stomach aches with a few simple at-home remedies.
Keep reading to learn how to get rid of a stomach ache.
What Causes a Stomach Ache?
Stomach problems are common, so your cramps could be caused by a number of different things.
Here are a few of the most common culprits behind an achy stomach:
- Gastritis. Gastritis is another name for inflammation of the stomach lining. It can be caused by a number of things, including bacterial infections, the use of certain drugs, age, or tobacco or alcohol use. Gastritis can cause upper stomach pain, nausea, and a feeling of fullness in your stomach.
- Acid reflux. Acid reflux, also known as gastrointestinal reflux disease, occurs when stomach acid gets backed up into the esophagus. It causes an aching or burning sensation in the stomach and behind the breastbone. Acid reflux can be caused by problems like a hiatal hernia, as well as by eating fatty or spicy foods.
- Lactose intolerance. Do you find yourself doubled over in pain after drinking a glass of milk or eating cheese? You could be lactose intolerant. People with lactose intolerance can’t digest dairy, which leads to stomach pain and other digestive issues.
- Stress. Stress and anxiety can cause physical symptoms, including stomach aches.
Should You Treat Your Stomach Pain at Home?
Most of the time, stomach cramps aren’t a big deal. You can treat them at home without consulting your doctor first.
However, you should call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain that doesn’t get better in a few hours.
- Pain that is very intense.
- Vomiting that persists longer than a day or two.
- Bloody or black, tar-like bowel movements.
If you’re not having any of these symptoms, try these home remedies for upset stomach, and you’ll be feeling better in no time.
How to Get Rid of a Stomach Ache: 16 Methods
Use a Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle
Heat is a simple but effective remedy for stomach pain.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of cramps fast, try this tip first.
Grab an electric blanket, heating pad, or hot water bottle. You want something that’s very warm, but not so hot it will burn you.
Get comfortable and place your heating pad over the part of your stomach that hurts.
It might take 10-15 minutes to start feeling the soothing effects of the heat.
Don’t have a heating pad? You can easily make one with some dry rice and a pair of socks.
Find a pair of socks that don’t contain any synthetic material, and pour a cup or two of dry rice into one.
Tie a knot in the top and microwave it for a minute or two. Reheat your makeshift heating pad whenever it starts to cool down.
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Try Some Mint
Mint is a useful herbal remedy for stomach pain. The compounds that give mint its fresh, crisp flavor have natural painkilling properties.
There are all kinds of ways you can use mint to feel better:
- Chew on some fresh mint leaves.
- Eat peppermint candy, the stronger the better.
- Infuse cold water with fresh mint.
- Make peppermint tea.
A warm cup of tea is especially good for soothing your stomach.
You can use a regular peppermint teabag, or you can steep a handful of crushed mint leaves in hot water for 10 minutes.
Drink Lemon Tea
Lemon doesn’t just taste and smell good – it helps get rid of stomach pain, too.
The acid in lemon juice stimulates your own stomach to produce more acid, which gives your digestion a boost.
Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to hot water and sip it slowly. For more flavor, add a spoonful of honey or some crushed mint leaves.
Brew Some Chamomile Tea
Have you ever sipped on some chamomile tea before bed to relax?
Chamomile tea eases tension throughout your body and reduces inflammation in your stomach, which can help with stomach pain.
Use a regular chamomile tea bag, or steep loose dried chamomile in boiling water for ten to fifteen minutes.
Soothe Your Stomach with Fennel
Fennel stimulates digestion, reduces gas and bloating, and soothes stomach pain.
It’s a common ingredient in many commercial teas that relieve stomach problems. If you like the flavor of licorice, you’ll probably like how fennel tastes, too.
If you can find raw fennel bulbs at a health food store near you, treat your stomach pain by slicing off a piece and chewing on it.
If you can’t find raw fennel, the seeds also work well for treating indigestion and bloating.
Chew on half a teaspoon of them, or steep them in hot water to make fennel tea.
Try Some Ginger
Ginger has stood the test of time as an effective natural remedy for stomach pain and nausea.
It’s full of natural compounds that fight inflammation, reduce excess stomach acid, and stimulate digestion.
To use ginger for your upset stomach, you’ll need to get a fresh piece of ginger root.
If you want to keep things simple, you can just cut thin slices of ginger root and chew on them.
Ginger has a strong flavor, though, and if it’s too much for you, you can make tea instead. Slice or grate one to two tablespoons of ginger root.
Then steep the root in two cups of boiling water for up to fifteen minutes. Sip it plain, or add some honey, lemon, or mint to improve the taste.
Drink Rice Water
It sounds odd, but drinking rice “tea” – the water that’s left over after you cook rice – can actually get rid of upper stomach pain.
Why? When rice is boiled in water, it releases compounds that can coat the inside of the stomach, which reduces the pain of ulcers or gastritis.
Make rice water by cooking white or brown rice with double the amount of water you would normally use. Cook the rice until it’s soft and ready to eat.
Then pour the rice into a strainer, catching the leftover liquid in a bowl underneath.
Once this liquid has cooled enough, drink it to soothe your stomach. Add some honey or a squeeze of lemon if you want.
Make a Drink with Apple Cider Vinegar
When your stomach is aching, a shot of acidic apple cider vinegar might be the last thing you want to put in it, but it could actually make you feel better.
There are two reasons for this.
First, apple cider vinegar kills bacteria, so if you’ve got a bacterial infection in your stomach, the vinegar can help clear it out.
Second, apple cider vinegar balances your stomach acid, which can help with acid reflux issues.
Don’t ever drink apple cider vinegar on its own – it’s too strong, and it could damage your teeth.
Instead, mix it with something else. Try stirring a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of warm water or fruit juice.
Add some honey to improve the taste if you want.
Settle Your Stomach with Baking Soda
No need to pop an antacid when you feel some heartburn coming on.
Baking soda is the active ingredient in most commercial antacids, so if you’ve got a box on hand, you can settle your stomach in seconds.
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda into some warm water and drink it. You can do this several times a day if your stomach pain comes back.
Have a Bowl of Yogurt
Yogurt might not seem like an obvious remedy for stomach problems, but if you want to know how to get rid of cramps, a bowl of plain, regular yogurt might do the trick.
That’s because yogurt is full of probiotics (good bacteria) that can restore balance to your gut, improving your digestion.
Go for plain yogurt rather than the sweetened kind, since sugar can upset your stomach and throw off your balance of gut bacteria even more.
If you can’t stomach the taste of plain yogurt, drizzle a little honey over the top or mix in a few berries.
Get the freshest yogurt you can find. For long-term relief, make yogurt part of your diet every day.
Give Asafetida a Try
What’s asafetida? This herb, also known as hing, is frequently used in Indian cooking, but it’s also useful for calming an upset stomach.
This is because it relaxes your stomach muscles and kills any unwanted bacteria or viruses that are contributing to your discomfort.
Just mix a pinch of asafetida into warm water and drink it. You can find asafetida at an Indian grocery store.
Sip some Club Soda
When your stomach hurts, some bubbles can help you get relief.
Drinking sugary soda on a crampy stomach isn’t a good idea, though, so drink some plain club soda instead.
A simple glass of carbonated water does double duty, hydrating you and settling your achy stomach. Add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice for extra flavor and pain relief.
Take Activated Charcoal
If you have any suspicion that food poisoning may have caused your stomach upset, take some activated charcoal.
You may have it around for natural beauty-product recipes or specifically for poisonings.
Activated charcoal is carbon that has been specially treated to create many holes and cracks in its surface.
Those openings create a very large surface area to bind substances to, which prevents them from being absorbed.
The sooner it is taken, the better it works.
You can follow the directions on a bottle of tablets or mix half to one teaspoon of activated-charcoal powder in some water or juice to drink it down.
Repeat that a few times over the next hour or two to absorb all the toxins possible from your system.
Drink Warm Salt Water
This remedy is simple but effective. You may have used salt water as a gargle for your sore throat in the past, but it turns out that salt does your aching stomach good, too.
Stir one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water, and drink up.
Brew some Cinnamon Tea
Cinnamon boosts your digestive power and cuts down on bloating and flatulence, making it a good choice when you’re looking for relief from stomach pain.
You can add ground cinnamon to your food, but for the strongest effect, make tea with whole cinnamon sticks instead.
To make one cup of tea, pour boiling water over one or two cinnamon sticks and cover for ten minutes.
If you’re feeling creative, honey and ginger both make good additions to cinnamon tea.
Do some Gentle Yoga Stretches
Most of these tips have focused on internal remedies for stomach pain, but you can also get some relief by stretching.
A number of yoga poses are designed to help stimulate digestion and relieve bloating, which can make you feel less crampy and miserable.
For quick relief, try a knees-to-stomach pose. Lie on your back somewhere comfortable.
Draw your knees up to your chest and wrap your arms around your shins.
Make sure to keep your back flat on the floor. Hold this pose for one minute, and then release.
Repeat this pose until you feel better.
If you’re suffering from stomach pain, there are plenty of things you can do to get some quick relief.
Try these 16 easy home remedies for upset stomach next time you’re having a bout of indigestion or acid reflux.
You’ll save money and a trip to the doctor, and you’ll probably feel better more quickly, too.