Experiencing an upset stomach includes a multitude of symptoms such as discomfort, gas and bloating, nausea, heartburn and other problems related to the digestive tract. Dyspepsia is the medical, generic term for upset stomach. Gastritis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also be the cause of an upset stomach.
Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Perhaps the easiest way to avoid an upset stomach is to watch what you eat, that is, to take a look at your diet. As a general rule, eating too much can upset your stomach. Practicing portion control is a very effective way to eliminate stomach problems. A temporary fast may also be very helpful.
Watch how much fat you eat. Fatty foods tend to cause problems in your digestive system. There are certain foods that should be avoided. Peppers and onions are common culprits of indigestion. Certain vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower) may cause flatulence, gas and bloating. Coffee and alcohol are also known causes of stomach problems.
Another source of stomach problems is medication. Certain types of medication can upset your stomach. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can cause dyspepsia. If you have a sensitive stomach, try acetaminophen or enteric-coated medications instead.
Soothe With Herbs
Herbal teas can be a powerful weapon against an upset stomach. Fennel and caraway teas have been shown to calm an upset stomach. Cinnamon tea (or just eating foods with cinnamon) can stimulate the digestive system to work better. Nausea and gas problems can be relieved with ginger tea. Mint and peppermint are also good for soothing the stomach. Antispasmodic herbs may end stomach cramps. Take a cup of tea of chamomile, lavender, valerian, lemon balm, wormwood, wild yam or yarrow to end stomach cramps.
Antacids can also get rid of an upset stomach. There are many types and brands of antacids on the market. Antacids neutralize stomach acid and relieve the body of certain symptoms like heartburn. There may be side effects of taking antacids such as diarrhea or constipation depending on what type of antacid is used.
All of the above preventative steps and natural home remedies are intended for the occasional episode of upset stomach. People with chronic digestive problems should seek medical attention to rule out problems like peptic ulcers and cancer. Thus, medical evaluation is needed if issues with your stomach (nausea, bloating, vomiting) are frequent. An endoscopy can rule out ulcers or cancer. Also, an endoscopy will alert the doctor of the presence of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium known to cause ulcers. An antibiotic treatment may be needed to get rid of H. pylori.
The Herbal Home Remedy Book: Simple Recipes for Tinctures, Teas, Salves, Tonics, and Syrups. 1997. By Storey Pub. ISBN 1580170161
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