There are 2 common causes of digestive pain. First, emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. Second, a regular intake of drugs that irritate the stomach. That means each and every one of us is at potential risk of experiencing such problems. We live in constant stress and prefer to take a painkiller to eliminate our symptoms instead of treating the actual cause.
Here at Bright Side, we want to ease your pains and suggest some alternative methods of dealing with indigestion and constipation rather than taking painkillers. Know how to act immediately if pain occurs, like changing your dieting routine, and stuffing the cupboard with useful herbs.
1. Use warmth to relieve pain.
A warm compress can significantly ease the pain you experience from irritable bowel syndrome. Both an electric and rubber warmer (or heating pad) will do. Never place a warmer directly onto the skin — there should be a layer of clothes to avoid a burn.
If you don’t have a warmer, a good old hot cloth compress will do too. And in the case of constipation, you can also take a warm bath with Epsom salt.
2. Drink baking soda.
Dissolve 1/4 tsp of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it all. Remember that you shouldn’t mix soda with other medications for at least 2 hours. It slows the rate at which your body absorbs some things and can, in turn, change the way other pills work.
3. Don’t lay down flat.
Lying flat in bed is not the best option when your stomach aches. In this position, your throat and stomach are at the same level, and stomach acids can easily flow up and cause heartburn.
Either sit up in bed when you’re not sleeping or use a very high pillow during the night. Lift your head and upper body at 6-10 inches.
4. Try following the BRAT diet.
BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. All these foods have one thing in common: they’re bland and quite easy on the stomach.
If you experience severe symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and indigestion, you should first quit eating food for some time. Then you can start eating BRAT products in small amounts. Don’t forget to drink lots of liquids — preferably water, chicken broth, and apple juice. Other bland foods to try are crackers, boiled potatoes, oatmeal, and herbal teas.
5. Eat foods rich in fiber.
Fiber improves intestinal functioning. The more fiber you eat, the softer your stool is, and our bodies can then pass it more easily preventing constipation.
The key is to add fiber to your meal plan slowly — it will minimize bloating and gas. Great sources of fiber are fruit, vegetables, whole grain bread and cereal, berries, and dried beans. The last 2 are soluble and work to slow down the passage of consumed food from the stomach to the intestines. If you have diarrhea, soluble fiber is your only option.
6. Take probiotics and prebiotics.
Prebiotics are parts of foods that can’t be digested. For example, fruit and vegetable skins. Probiotics are live bacteria created during the fermentation process in foods like yogurt.
Probiotics are supposed to live in your intestines, but our environment, unhealthy lifestyles, and antibiotics all reduce their amount. They’re essential for our digestion and help relieve symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea. You can either buy probiotics and take them in the dosage recommended by your doctor or eat more fermented foods like Kombucha.
7. Soothe your tummy with herbal teas.
- Fennel, peppermint, ginger, and chamomile
These easy-to-find herbs are great for brewing a nice cup of tea that will bring pain-relief to an upset stomach. Peppermint is considered to be helpful with nausea due to menthol in its leaves which works as a natural pain reliever. Fennel stimulates the bile flow, ginger promotes saliva appearing in your mouth and chamomile relaxes muscle spasms. All 4 work well together for your good.
- Chamomile flowers and dried ginger
A truly magical flower in terms of health is chamomile, which is said to have similar effects as ibuprofen or aspirin. It helps with diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and colic. Ginger is also well-known for its nausea-relieving properties. It increases the absorption of nutrients and releases digestive enzymes. A study of 1,278 pregnant women proved that ginger profoundly reduces vomiting and nausea symptoms. Make sure to brew this tea for at least 10 minutes.
Remember that continuous digestive pains and stomach aches are a serious sign of something going wrong. Consult your doctor and don’t let your gut feeling literally rule you.
Share your go-to methods and medicines to deal with indigestion in the comments! What helped you may help someone else.
Ekaterina Gapanovich for BrightSide.me