Remedies for an Upset Stomach

By Sudeep S. Sodhi, MD March 29, 2017

An upset stomach can be divided into two categories – chronic and one-time or occasional.

An upset stomach is a common problem that is divided into two main categories. Chronic problems include anything that lasts more than a couple of days. If you are experiencing chronic problems, you should see your doctor.

One-time, occasional issues can be handled by trying these things at home:

  • Reflect. Are you overeating, eating spicy food or unwittingly eating spoiled food?
  • Avoid eating heavy meals, fatty foods and processed foods until you feel better. Or, you could avoid these altogether!
  • Go on a bland diet.
  • Get up and move around.
  • Review your medications, especially if you recently began taking them. Do not stop taking them unless you have permission from your physician. Watch non-steroidal intake, including Motrin, Advil and Ibuprofen.
  • Relax. Stress is a leading cause of upset stomach. A full nervous system innervates the gut, hence the term gut feeling.

For one-time issues, you can also try these plant remedies:

  • Fennel Seeds – Place one teaspoon of fennel seeds in a cup and add boiling water. Cover the cup and let it stand for 10 minutes. Strain well and drink up to three cups a day. Be sure to drink on an empty stomach.
  • Ginger – Drink a cup of ginger tea to get your stomach back on track. To make your own ginger tea, add a half-teaspoon of ground ginger to a cup of hot water. Let it stand for up to three minutes, strain and drink away.
  • Peppermint or Spearmint – Sip a cup of mint tea, and let the herb work its magic. Put one teaspoon of dried mint in a cup, and add boiling water. Cover the cup and let it stand for 10 minutes. Strain and drink up to three cups of the warm tea a day. Be sure to drink it on an empty stomach. Remember, mint may make reflux worse.

Another remedy for an upset stomach is taking Pepto-Bismol. It works best if you take two pills, two to three times daily. Remember, it will turn stool black.

Being mindful about what you eat, keeping time to unwind daily and avoiding excesses of food and emotion will help to reduce the episodes of upset stomach. Keeping a food journal is also helpful to identify sensitivities to various foods including milk, wheat or other sugars. Eating natural yogurt daily without artificial ingredients will also help.

If the problem lasts for more than a day, is severe or keeps recurring, a visit to your primary care provider's office is a must to make sure that you do not miss potentially serious issues.