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13 Home Remedies for Stomach Ache (Simple and Effective)

13 Home Remedies for Stomach Ache (Simple and Effective)

It’s back. That I-feel-like-I-was-punched-in-the-stomach sensation that leaves you hunched over, nauseated, and without an appetite. We’ve all been there, whether because we ate something bad or because there is another digestive health issue at play. Either way, you need relief – fast.

Before you rush off to the pharmacy to pick up a big bottle of Tums or chug Pepto Bismol, I’d like you to consider these home remedies for stomach ache that can not only take the edge off quickly, but help to address the reason why you have the stomachache in the first place.

Below are 13 home remedies for a stomachache:

1. Take a “shot” of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar packs a big and beneficial punch when it comes to our digestion. It helps to balance the acidity of the stomach, which we need a certain level of in order to even break down food fully.

Oftentimes we actually lack enough acid in our stomach, despite popular belief that we have too much, and this can make digestion quite difficult. Stomachaches are one of the telltale signs of too little acid in the stomach.

Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water and drink it as soon as you can to help boost acid production and begin relieving your stomachache. It can also help to do this in advance of eating to stimulate digestive function early on.

2. Give yourself an abdominal massage

If your stomachache is due to constipation, giving yourself a gentle abdominal massage can help move things along and relieve the blockage that may be causing the stomachache.

Massaging this area lightly with your forefinger and middle finger in a clockwise motion stimulates muscle contractions and helps break up food that may be stuck in the intestines, either due to overeating, not chewing thoroughly, dehydration, or a lack of enzymes or acid to break down the food in the first place.

Of course, all of these potential inhibitors to digestion should be addressed (and the tips in this post will help you to do so) but massaging can be a quick way to get things moving along and relieve the stomachache in the moment.

3. Do 5 minutes of breath work to focus the body on digestion

Especially if you were stressed when eating, or if you experience chronic stress, that can take a toll on digestion.

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The body has two states: “fight or flight” or “rest and digest”. If you’re experiencing a stressor, such as from work, the body is in “fight or flight mode” to address the stress, not rest and digest to focus on digesting food. This makes digestion particularly difficult, which can often result in a stomachache.

To reset the body for digestion, taking a few deep breaths can help to recenter it and shift its focus to digesting your food. At the onset of a stomachache (and ideally before sitting down for a meal), take 3-5 really deep breaths in and out to help reduce the stomachache.

Watch this video to learn some deep breathing exercises (if you want to go straight to the techniques, go to 3:10):

4. Drink extra water

As mentioned earlier, oftentimes stomach pain is due to constipation and cramping of the intestines. A big contributor to that is dehydration.

Water not only helps hydrate the colon and speed up elimination, it’s also a key nutrient for the mucosal lining, which supports the small intestine bacteria for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Lack of water can cause constipation and acid reflux, among other things, so be sure to take in about 70oz of water per day to stay fully hydrated.

To remind yourself to drink enough water, try one of these free water drinking apps. They make drinking more interesting and keep you healthy.

5. Take a digestive enzyme

Our bodies need 3 categories of enzymes in order to break down food: lipase for fat digestion, amylase for carbohydrate digestion, and protease for protein digestion. Many of us lack proper levels of each of these enzymes due to over-medication, poor digestive function, and a nutrient-poor diet lacking in foods containing these enzymes.

Supplementing with digestive enzymes in the short-term can be a good option if digestion is impaired. Taking one after a meal if a stomachache comes on can help curb the pain and support digestion, and ideally, you should get in the habit of having one before the meal, as that’s the optimal time to take one.

6. Chew on a fresh piece of ginger

Like apple cider vinegar, ginger is another fantastic natural stimulant to digestion.

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If you have a piece of fresh ginger in your house, or you can quickly go out to the grocery store to get some, break off about 1 centimeter of it and chew on it for a few minutes. This stimulates digestive fire (meaning your acid secretions and muscular contractions) to keep things moving along and relieve your stomach pain.

7. Drink aloe juice

The aloe plant is beneficial for more than just soothing a sunburn. It also plays an important role in digestion. Just as it’s soothing to your skin, it can soothe the cells in your digestive tract.

If your stomach isn’t agreeing with the food you ate, low-grade inflammation may be at play, and aloe can help to soothe that and help ease the system.

Drink 1/3 cup of pure aloe juice (be sure there is no sugar added as these kinds have minimal nutritional value) upon getting a stomachache to comfort your digestive tract.

8. Have a warming cup of bone broth

Similar to aloe juice, bone broth offers numerous benefits to our digestion. Not only is it potentially anti-inflammatory, it’s also extremely healing.

Bone broth is rich in both collagen and gelatin, which help to repair damage to cells. If you eat a nutrient-poor diet, have a known digestive health condition, or have taken medications that may have compromised the integrity of the digestive tract, cellular damage may have occurred and bone broth is a great way to begin repairing.

At the onset of a stomachache, drink 1 cup of warm bone broth (ideally organic) and take a few deep breaths. (As you can see, many of these tips pair well together!)

Here’s how to make organic bone broth:

9. Apply peppermint essential oil to the abdomen

Like the benefits that ginger and apple cider vinegar offer, peppermint essential oil acts in a similar way. If you don’t have ginger or ACV on hand when a stomachache hits but peppermint oil in your cabinets, this can be a great way to help relive the pain.

Peppermint offers a number of digestive health benefits, most notably it can help to reduce muscle spasms in the gastric lining and colon.

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Mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil and rub across your abdomen wherever discomfort is occurring.

If you don’t have peppermint oil but you have peppermint tea, this can be equally beneficial and soothing to drink.

10. Make lemon tea or water

Lemon is another go-to for digestive health remedies. Lemon also helps to entice proper digestive secretions to ensure your food is properly broken down and moving along in your system.

If your stomach isn’t feeling so great after a meal, make a hot lemon tea, or simply add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to a cup of water and sip on it to help relieve the stomach pain.

Here’s more you can’t miss about the benefits of lemon water: 11 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water (And How to Drink It for Good Health)

If you really want to kick it up a notch, you could also add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your lemon water. This is also a great combination to have before a meal.

11. Rest, rest, rest!

Trying to push through the pain of a stomachache often only makes it worse. Especially if bloating is accompanying your stomachache, you’re feeling quite uncomfortable.

It would benefit your body to sit down and relax for a little while. This gives your body time to focus its energy inwards and resolve the issue that caused the stomach pain.

While resting, try to incorporate a few of the tips covered so far, such as deep breathing, doing an abdominal massage, or drinking a soothing tea. Even just a few minutes of this can be quite beneficial.

12. Eat a high-fiber snack

Fiber plays a critical role in digestion, from regulating beneficial bacteria growth, to moving things along in the digestive tract, to detoxification of the colon. If your diet lacks fiber, digestion may suffer, which can result in issues like frequent stomachaches.

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An easy way to address it is to simply add in more fiber. Foods like leafy greens, almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chia and flax seeds are all high in fiber.

Eat a handful of nuts or seeds, make a small green salad or add chia or flax seeds to a juice or small smoothie csn help address a potential lack of fiber and begin relieving the stomachache.

13. Evaluate what you ate

It’s important to know if what you ate was the direct cause of the stomachache. While this may not help you in the moment, it can give you good information going forward.

If, for example, you ate a lot of dairy or sugar and you find you most often get stomachaches when these foods are in your meals, that’s a signal from your body that you may either lack the ability to properly break them down (this is what lactose intolerance is) or that these foods simply don’t agree with your body.

It may be helpful to start a food journal where you write down everything you eat so that you can better correlate it with digestive upset, like stomachaches.

Treating your stomach well: Your action plan

While any number of factors can bring on a stomachache, the good news is you have many easy at-home remedies that you can now use to address it.

Taking the last point into consideration, it’s important to identify if any foods in particular trigger an upset stomach so you can begin to reduce or remove them from your diet (temporarily or long-term). Knowing how to address a stomachache if and when it comes on is far more beneficial than trying to just push through the pain and discomfort.

What’s more, most of these foods and tips provide digestive health benefits beyond just relieving the stomachache in the moment; they can also can promote better digestion in the future.

Be sure to also consider using some of the pre-meal recommendations provided in this post, such as drinking ACV or water before a meal to help overall digestion.

Let us know which of these tips was most useful to you, or which you are excited to try next!

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Kristin Thomas

Functional Nutrition Practitioner and Health Coach

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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