Natural Tummy Ache Remedies That Work
An upset stomach is an occasional occurrence for many people – whether from bad food, too much food, stress or a bug. There are a few tried-and-true tummy ache remedies you can find at home.
Natural Tummy Ache Remedies
Although there are many over-the-counter drugs that you can take to quickly neutralize acid reflux or calm the cramps that come with diarrhea, you might want to consider a more natural approach that can work just as well. These would be your best bet if you also have a health condition, as they will not add onto your liver’s detoxification workload.
Digestion and the NEM Stress Response
There are a few gastrointestinal (GI) issues that occur concomitantly with or are aggravated by adrenal fatigue and dysregulation of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response.
For example, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is associated with a lowered ability to digest protein because of the lack of sufficient stomach hydrochloric acid. In AFS, the body is low on energy. As such, it may need to slow down some bodily functions. The digestive system may slow down. This can cause indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Also, dysbiosis – the imbalance of the gut flora – and the NEM stress response are both affected by stress.
When dysbiosis occurs, leaky gut syndrome is a likely next step, where the permeability of the intestinal wall lining increases, letting out toxins and foreign particles into the bloodstream. The NEM stress response then triggers an immune system reaction that causes inflammation. This autoimmune reaction signals the adrenals to produce more cortisol, also part of the NEM stress response, to neutralize the inflammation.
When this cycle becomes chronic, it causes all kinds of issues in the body, including many symptoms of stomach upset and digestive problems as well as a higher risk of AFS.
With health conditions like AFS and disturbances in the digestive system, you should use a two-pronged approach: getting the root cause dealt with properly while using natural tummy ache remedies in order to alleviate the symptoms.
Common Complaints and Tummy Ache Remedies
Indigestion occurs when stomach acid is insufficient and you are unable to digest food completely. Sometimes this happens if you had dinner a bit too late. This is okay once in awhile, but if you have chronic indigestion, you need to look into the root cause.
The solution could simply be a lifestyle change – making sure you eat healthy food that you are not sensitive to, cutting out alcohol, cutting out greasy and spicy food, and making sure you don’t eat too late. It could also be an indication of a deeper problem that needs to be addressed, such as adrenal fatigue.
At a certain stage of adrenal fatigue, the body doesn’t have enough energy and digestion begins to slow down and weaken. Stomach acid is not produced properly and with that comes indigestion. Gluten sensitivity can result, and gastric acid output may be insufficient, resulting in worsening digestion and breakdown of food particles in the gastric system. For this, you can add papaya to your diet as it contains papain, an enzyme that helps break down protein and fiber in food. Papain is actually used in digestive enzyme supplements. You can also consider adding a natural digestive enzyme supplement to your health plan if you suffer from frequent indigestion.
Other tummy ache remedies include mixing a spoon of apple cider vinegar with some honey in a glass of warm water and drink that before each meal. It will help with the breakdown of the food and balancing your stomach acidity.
In advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, the body and stomach may be particularly sensitive. While papain and apple cider vinegar is generally benign to most people, it can negatively affect people with advanced adrenal fatigue. It is best to start at a smaller dose and scale up slowly. Excess enzymes can trigger diarrhea, so care must be exercised.
To deal with occasional rather than constant heartburn, you can try the natural alternative to Tums: calcium carbonate, which is actually the active ingredient in Tums. Unfortunately, excessive calcium over time can upset the internal pH of your body. Short term use is acceptable. You can also mix a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in a glass of water and drink it. Both help alkalize your stomach.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is very common in pregnancy, especially during the first trimester when women begin to experience morning sickness – sometimes on a daily basis. Some people also suffer from nausea caused by motion sickness or pollution. Nausea can present as a side effect of certain medications and treatments like chemotherapy or may be from food poisoning (bad bacteria).
Whatever the case, one of the most effective and natural tummy ache remedies is ginger. Here’s why:
- Compounds found in ginger aid in digestion
- Ginger calms the nervous system and stomach muscles, reducing the vomiting urge
- Ginger promotes the secretion of saliva, which contains digestive enzymes that help with digestion
Drinking ginger tea, taking ginger capsules or ground ginger, or eating ginger candy can help with all types of nausea. You can also suck on fresh ginger. However, if you are sensitive to it, it may actually aggravate your upset stomach. Ginger can also be mildly stimulating to the body; it is best to proceed slowly in advanced adrenal fatigue.
You can make your own pot of fresh ginger tea by grating some ginger, adding it to a cup of hot water, add honey or another natural sweetener of your choice if you like, and let it steep for ten minutes. Then drink a sip or two every few minutes. It is recommended to steep for 5 minutes if your gut or body is more sensitive. You can slowly increase thereafter.
Other great natural and safe tummy ache remedies include aromatherapy. Peppermint is especially potent for this, and there is also ginger aromatherapy. Just add a drop of the essential oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam, or add a few drops to a cloth and either inhale periodically or place in or on clothing where you can smell it.
Sometimes nausea is a symptom of another issue, such as the hypoglycemia that can come with AFS. In this case, it is advised that you eat regularly, don’t skip meals, and have a small snack before bed so your blood sugar levels do not drop during sleep.
Some people with AFS have low fluid volume in their bodies as well as sodium deficiency. Nausea can be a symptom of both. If this is the case, you should try to drink more fluids but not too quickly so you don’t dilute the sodium already present in your body. Adding salt to your water may also help.
Bloating and Gas
You know the feeling. You ate that favorite meal you were craving and now you slightly regret it. It was really rich and more on the heavy side than you realized. Your clothes feel tight, you are barely able to move, and you feel stuffed and bloated.
Or maybe you have IBS or an inflammatory condition that causes bloating and cramping. Sometimes it can be so uncomfortable that you can’t focus on work or enjoy your time off.
Other tummy ache remedies for gas and bloating include activated charcoal pills. They will absorb the toxins and gas and take them along when excreted from the body. Be on the lookout for constipation and cramps, both of which should be short lived in a healthy body. Those with advanced AFS may fare worse and adrenal crashes may be triggered as toxic removal by charcoal can lead to what is known as a re-toxification reaction. This is more prevalent in those with liver congestion or extracellular matrix pollution.
Licorice root and fennel seeds are also great for the bloating and gas that come from eating a heavy meal. Licorice is also gentle laxative that will help get things moving along. These two substances can be made as tea or chewed and sucked on. Note that licorice root may be stimulating on your body and adrenal glands. It is best to avoid this herb in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue until your body is stronger.
Finally, turmeric and aloe vera help with digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties as well. The effect is often dose-dependent, and not everyone can tolerate these compounds. Care should be taken in those who have a sensitive body or those who have experienced a history of paradoxical reaction.
With adrenal fatigue, the GI system is sometimes irritable or hyperactive, and this can lead to malabsorption. Toxins increase and the liver can be burdened beyond its capacity to function optimally. This can lead to food allergies with symptoms such as nausea, bloating, gas and stomach irritability.
Diarrhea and Constipation
Constipation can happen if you don’t consume enough fiber, or you eat too much dairy, or if you are not drinking enough water. In that case, the simple answer is to reduce dairy and increase fiber and water intake.
Constipation can also be a symptom of another issue such as IBS, hypothyroidism, or as a side effect of certain types of medications. AFS can bring about constipation since the low energy associated with adrenal fatigue doesn’t allow for healthy and timely bowel movement.
If constipation becomes a frequent occurrence, it can raise the risk of anal fissures, diverticulitis and hemorrhoids because of the frequent straining. If AFS advances further, the digestive system’s motility is compromised further, making constipation even worse.
This is why it is really important to make sure you nip this problem in the bud before it gets out of hand. If you are experiencing more and more constipation and your adrenal fatigue symptoms are not abating, it’s time to get the right kind of nutrition with dietary coaching.
Diarrhea on the other hand is less common in patients with adrenal fatigue – most AFS patients suffer from constipation alternating with diarrhea, with constipation being a more prominent symptom. Only in very advanced cases of AFS, where symptoms are similar to those of Addison’s disease, does diarrhea become more severe.
A virus or bacteria, overuse of alcohol or eating certain types of food that you are sensitive to can cause diarrhea. But diarrhea can also be indicative of a condition such as Crohn’s disease, IBS, and hyperthyroidism.
A great way to ensure GI tract health and smooth bowel operations is to add kombucha and coconut water kefir to your diet. These drinks are full of probiotic benefits that help in balancing gut flora, naturally bringing about a stronger and healthier digestive system altogether. They also relieve gas, bloating, diarrhea and indigestion. Just make sure to get the raw, unpasteurized kind, with little or no sugar.
Coconut water is high in potassium content, an element that should be taken in moderation in adrenal fatigue. Kombucha can be very stimulating for those with advanced AFS. The adrenals produce aldosterone, which modulates potassium and sodium levels. Low aldosterone, often seen in adrenal fatigue, can lead to elevated levels of potassium. Talk to your doctor before hydrating regularly with coconut water kefir as elevated potassium levels may lead to heart arrhythmias.
The most important take-away, though, is to look beyond quick fixes for these issues. If you feel like you are frequently suffering from any of the above symptoms, it is best to get to the root cause and address that rather than only dealing with surface symptoms by using the above suggested tummy ache remedies.
It may be as simple as removing a food you are allergic to, such as gluten, or it may be a longer-term recovery from a condition such as adrenal fatigue.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.