6 Ways to Soothe Stomachaches From Food Allergies

These home remedies can help you feel better

Few things can be more uncomfortable than a rumbling stomach, especially when you have a food allergy. You may feel fine one minute and have unbearable stomach pain the next. Sometimes, you know it was something you ate. Other times, you're not so sure.

People who deal with food allergies know these feelings all too well, just as they may know the frustration of dealing with the hives, itchiness, and swelling that food allergies can also spawn. You may be out of ideas, but you need relief, and you need it now.

This article offers six ways to soothe stomachaches and six ideas for relieving skin irritations related to food allergies.

Young woman laying on her back holding a water bottle on her stomach
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Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergy

Most adults know what it's like to experience a strong reaction to food. But most of these reactions are caused by a food intolerance, not a food allergy.

It's easy to confuse the two because many of the signs and symptoms can be the same. But they are influenced by different parts of the body.

A food intolerance response involves the digestive system. It occurs when your body is unable to break down an offending food. Your gastrointestinal symptoms may include diarrhea and vomiting. Even so, you may be able to eat small amounts of this food, especially with the aid of a digestive enzyme pill or antacid.

On the other hand, a food allergy results from your immune system reacting to a specific food. For instance, have an allergy to peanut butter, your immune system recognizes peanut butter as an allergen—a true invader. Your immune system reacts to its presence by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

These antibodies signal the cells to release chemicals, which in turn cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of allergic reactions to foods often show up on the skin in the form of hives, itchiness, and swelling.

Some Foods Trigger Most Allergies

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 identified eight foods responsible for most food allergies: eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soybeans, tree nuts, and wheat. The FDA has since added one more: sesame.

Heating Pad

Place a heating pad or a hot water bottle on your stomach to help reduce pain. Even soaking in a warm bath can help.

The heat will help loosen and relax your muscles. As a result, it should relieve some discomfort. Just be sure to protect your skin from a burn by placing a towel on your skin first.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been found to have antibiotic qualities. It helps soothe the stomach and aid in digestion. 

The smell may strike you as strong when you remove the cap on the bottle, but try not to be put off. You can drink one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar straight from the bottle. Or you can mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of hot water. Add one teaspoon of honey to make the drink more appealing.

This Acid Is Good

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which sounds deceptively bad for someone with stomach pain. In fact, the acid can stymie the growth of H. pylori bacteria, which often attacks the stomach lining.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile can help ease stomach pain. It does this by working as an anti-inflammatory. It also does this by relaxing the stomach muscle. As the muscle in the upper digestive tract relaxes, the contractions that move food through it ease up. This, in turn, relieves the pain of cramping and spasms and calms upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.

If you can't find chamomile tea bags, you can make your own by mixing two teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in hot water. Strain the flowers after a few minutes, and drink the tea with a dash of honey.

Ginger Root

Ginger contains chemicals that have been found to relax muscles. The chemicals especially relax muscles in the intestinal tract so that food moves along easily. They also help relieve stomach cramps.

Ginger, which is also good at relieving nausea, can be found in:

  • Ginger ale
  • Ginger root
  • Ginger tea

Mint

Mint leaves have many health benefits. In the form of peppermint oil, they can:

  • Relax muscles in the stomach
  • Soothe an inflamed or irritated stomach 

Digestion improves as the mint helps bile flow more efficiently. This allows food to digest more quickly. It also encourages the stomach muscles to relax.

Seltzer and Lime

Lime can help soothe an aching stomach. Lime’s scent actually causes your mouth to water, increasing the production of saliva. With more saliva, your stomach increases its production of digestive juices. As a result, it helps your digestion.

The acidity of the lime also continues to stimulate the digestive system, bile, and acids. All of this helps soothe the stomach as food moves more quickly and easily through it.

A Good Burp Can Relieve Pressure

Slice a lime and add it to a glass of seltzer. While the lime soothes the stomach, the carbonation can cause you to burp—relieving stomach pressure at the same time. This remedy follows the lead of lemon-lime soda, which generations of people have used to calm an upset stomach.

Skin Relief Remedies

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a plant known for its healing properties.

Although it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, it may cause contact dermatitis in some people. So it’s important to do a small skin patch test before applying it all over an affected area.

To do a skin patch test, apply a tiny amount of aloe vera to a small area of skin. The inside of the forearm is a good place for such a test. If no signs of irritation surface within 24 hours, it should be safe to apply aloe vera to a larger area.

Calamine Lotion

Products containing calamine can help relieve itching by cooling your skin. You can apply calamine lotion directly to your skin by:

  • Shaking the bottle first.
  • Squeezing some lotion onto a cotton pad or cloth.
  • Applying the pad or cloth directly to the hives, itching, or swelling.
  • Letting the area dry.

Keep Calamine Close

To relieve your skin symptoms, you may have to apply a layer of the familiar pink lotion several times a day.

Cool Down the Itch

Use a cold compress or apply something cool to your skin to relieve irritation. Wrap a handful of ice in a towel or press a bag of frozen veggies against the affected area for up to 10 minutes at a time. Repeat as needed throughout the day.

If your itching intensifies, taking a bath with an anti-itch solution might help. Try oatmeal (specifically marketed as colloidal oatmeal for bathing) or one or two handfuls of baking soda.

Keep Cool

Heat can make itching worse. Wear lightweight clothing and keep the temperature in your house cool and comfortable. If your skin is sensitive anyway, keep in mind that some fabrics are easier to wear than others. The best are cotton, silk, linen, cashmere, and merino wool.

While you're at it, avoid sitting in direct sunlight.

Colloidal as Emollient

You can find colloidal oatmeal near other skincare products at the store. Colloidal oatmeal is made by crushing oat grain into a fine powder. As an emollient, it's a natural at soothing and softening skin.

OTC Antihistamines

If you experience a mild food allergy with hives or itching, an over-the-counter antihistamine may help. In fact, at the first sign of a reaction, many people know to reach for an OTC antihistamine because they know it usually gets right to work at relieving their symptoms.

In addition to easing skin irritation, an OTC antihistamine can counter congestion, a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes.

Witch Hazel

You may have heard about the "wonders" of witch hazel. But you shouldn't let yourself get swept away by a good thing. Witch hazel can dry out the skin, which will make it itch more.

Knowing this, use witch hazel as a toner on irritated skin: Wash your skin with a gentle cleaner. Then put a few drops of witch hazel on a cotton ball and dab it on the affected area. Apply a layer of moisturizer, rubbing the area repeatedly to lock in the moisture.

This Witch Blooms

Witch hazel is a yellow, flowering shrub that blooms in the early months of fall. It thrives in dense woodlands and near streams. As a botanical remedy, witch hazel has been used for hundreds of years, especially in teas. 

Summary

Food allergies can cause an upset stomach. Fortunately, you can soothe stomach pains by trying some at-home treatments. Placing a heating pad or hot water bottle on your stomach can help ease pain and discomfort. Using herbal remedies such as chamomile, mint, and ginger root can also help. Food allergies can also cause hives, itching, and swelling. A number of treatments can tame these discomforts, too.

A Word From Verywell

These remedies might help you feel better in the short run. But you should also focus on avoiding a food allergy reaction in the first place. In this spirit, people with food allergies are smart to learn how to read food labels for the simple reason that they may have to live with a food allergy for a long time. While children often outgrow a food allergy, adults can develop them seemingly out of nowhere.

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12 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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