7 Ways to Get Rid of a Stomach Ache Fast

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Everyone will get a stomach ache at some point in their life, and it's natural to want to find fast relief. Before reaching for an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, you may want to consider a few home remedies that can help ease bloating, gas, nausea, and abdominal pain in minutes without the use of drugs.

This article starts by looking at 11 common causes of stomach aches in adults and children. It then offers seven simple home remedies that people often turn to for relief, whether at home, at school, at work, or traveling.

An illustration with home remedies for a stomach ache

Verywell / Danie Drankwalter

11 Common Causes of Stomach Aches

There are several potential causes of stomach aches in adults and kids. Some of the more common include:

  • Gas: As gas moves through the digestive tract, it can stretch the stomach and intestines, causing sharp, jabbing pain with bloating and cramping.
  • Constipation: Constipation pain is generally caused by gas buildup or by hardened stools passing slowly through the colon (large intestine).
  • Food allergies: These allergies are caused by antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) that can trigger an inflammatory response in the digestive tract, leading to cramps, stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Food poisoning: Poisoning from bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella can cause nausea, stomach pain, cramping, and vomiting as the body tries to purge the body of the bacterial toxin.
  • Gastritis: This is the inflammation in the lining of the stomach caused by everything from alcohol and aspirin to H. pylori infection and extreme stress.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Also known as acid reflux, this is when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus (feeding tube), causing a burning sensation in the chest or throat as well as stomach pain and regurgitation.
  • Indigestion: Also known as dyspepsia, indigestion is commonly caused by overeating, eating too quickly, eating fatty or spicy foods, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, smoking, anxiety, or taking certain medications (like antibiotics or pain relievers).
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): This poorly understood condition causes inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Menstrual cramps: One of the hormones released during your period is prostaglandin which causes the shedding of the uterine lining: Prostaglandin can also get into the bloodstream causing nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea.
  • Peptic ulcer: This is an open sore in the stomach and/or the adjacent passage known as the duodenum that causes gnawing or burning pain, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and gas.
  • Stomach flu: Also known as gastroenteritis, stomach flu is common in kids and is usually caused by a virus known as rotavirus. In adults, a more common cause is norovirus.

Home Remedies for a Stomach Ache

Home remedies are especially useful if a stomach ache strikes at night or you are away from home and don't have access to OTC medictions. Many of the following may already be on your pantry shelf.

Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a fragrant root that has been used for centuries to treat stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting.

Ginger is available as extracts, tinctures, lozenges, supplements, and teas, but can also be used raw to relieve digestive symptoms. Some people will use the raw root to make ginger tea, while others chew on slivers of fresh peeled ginger to help ease nausea.

Others contend that ginger ale can help induce burping if you have indigestion, while others will use flat ginger ale to settle a grumbling or upset stomach.

Side effects, such as heartburn or diarrhea, may occur but are usually mild. While generally considered safe, ginger can increase the risk of bleeding and easy bruising if you take anticoagulants (blood thinners) like warfarin.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea, a type of beverage derived from the herb chamomile, can be helpful for treating stomach aches. Two species called Matricaria recutita and Anthemis nobilis are commonly used for this.

Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease conditions like gastritis, gastroenteritis, GERD, and IBS which are characterized by inflammation.

Chamomile also contains plant-based compounds known as polyphenols that are thought to relax the digestive, easing symptoms like indigestion, menstrual cramps, and vomiting.

Peppermint

The mint family, which includes peppermint (Mentha × piperita), can be very helpful for relieving stomach aches. A cross between spearmint and watermint, peppermint contains the active compounds menthol and methyl salicylate, both of which have antispasmodic effects that calm an upset stomach and cramping.

Peppermint oil diluted in water is sometimes used to treat stomach upset caused by IBS, stomach flu, and food allergies, but peppermint tea made from the dried or fresh herb may work just as well.

Peppermint also helps digestive fluids, called bile, move easily through the digestive tract, allowing food to break down more quickly. This may help people with constipation-predominant (IBS-C) in which stomach pain is accompanied by constipation.

Heating Pad

A heating pad or hot water bottle can relieve a stomach ache by relaxing the stomach muscles, causing them to loosen and not clench. It is a common treatment for people with menstrual cramps, which studies have shown can ease pelvic pain and discomfort at temperatures between 40 C and 45 C (104 F and 113 F).

Heating pads are also useful for people with IBS by easing cramping and spasms.

If you don't have a heating pad, simply taking a hot shower or soaking in a hot tub can provide similar relief.

BRAT Diet

The BRAT diet is a therapeutic food plan based on four foods that make up the acronym "B-R-A-T," namely:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

These food are not only bland and place minimal stress on the digestive tract, but they are also binding and can help relieve loose or watery stools. The BRAT diet is sometimes recommended to relieve symptoms of stomach flu, food poisoning, and diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D),

The BRAT diet is especially useful in treating gastroenteritis in children.

The BRAT diet is only intended as a short-term solution and not as a regular way of eating. If you follow it for a longer period, you risk becoming deficient in certain nutrients and calories.

Seltzer and Lime

Seltzer and lime are popular home remedies for indigestion. It can also treat stomach pain caused by food allergies, stomach flu, and peptic ulcers.

Seltzer and lime are found in popular carbonated sodas like 7-Up and Sprite but can also be made without sugar by squeezing fresh lime into a glass of seltzer or soda water. There are even OTC products like Alka-Selzer Heartburn Relief that contain lemon and lime flavoring.

Seltzer and lime can be beneficial for stomach aches for two reasons:

  • The scent of lime causes your mouth to water. This increased saliva production, in turn, increasing the production of beneficial digestive juices.
  • The carbonation helps you burp, which helps relieve heartburn and indigestion.

Apple Cider Vinegar

There is some evidence that apple cider vinegar can help ease stomach pain associated with chronic gastritis. Apple cider vinegar also contains probiotics that can help normalize the bacterial environment of the stomach and ease bloating, stomach pain, and reflux caused by H. pylori infection.

With that said, apple cider vinegar needs to be diluted with water to avoid increasing the acidity of the stomach and making symptoms of GERD and peptic ulcer worse.

There are also apple cider vinegar chewing gums that can help ease heartburn and acid reflux in people with GERD.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If your stomachache is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider:

  • Nausea and vomiting for several days
  • Bloody stools
  • Trouble breathing
  • Significant abdominal tenderness (when touched)
  • Pain persists for several days (and gets worse)
  • Signs of dehydration (dizziness, decreased urine output)

Any of the aforementioned symptoms signal something may be wrong, such as an infection or illness, that requires medical attention.

Summary

Stomachaches are an uncomfortable but common ailment that everyone experiences at some point throughout their lives. Potential causes range from food allergies to a stomach bug to constipation. You can usually treat a stomachache yourself using a variety of home remedies, such as by using a heating pad or by consuming chamomile tea, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar.

A Word From Verywell

Stomachaches can cause a fair amount of discomfort, which makes you want relief–and fast. Thankfully, there are many quick home remedies that will help alleviate the symptoms associated with your digestive system troubles.

A stomachache is rarely a serious cause for concern on its own. That said, if a stomachache accompanies bloody stools, an inability to keep food down for several days, and breathing problems, contact your healthcare provider right away to rule out any serious or underlying conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you get rid of a stomachache in five minutes?

    Using a heating pad is usually the quickest route to relieving a stomachache. Place the heating pad over your abdomen and sit with it to help relax the stomach muscles.

  • How do you sleep with a stomachache?

    Focusing on the position you sleep in can help make sleeping with a stomachache easier. For example, sleeping on your side can relieve symptoms of an upset stomach and other digestive issues.

  • What liquids are good for a stomachache?

    There are a number of liquids that are good for a stomachache. These include chamomile tea, a seltzer with lime, ginger ale, or diluted apple cider vinegar.

18 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Molly Burford
Molly Burford is a mental health advocate and wellness book author with almost 10 years of experience in digital media.