Believe it or not, people have gone to the emergency room for an incredibly common and seemingly harmless symptom: indigestion. Though it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of your stomach pain, if you have experienced indigestion more than once, remember the symptoms and know you can treat them at home. The condition of indigestion is highly common, and treating it is pivotal to overall wellness. Even more common is the increasing use of GI medication in recent times: at least one in 10 Americans as of 2007. These medications are typically harsh on other systems and come with harmful side effects such as increasing the risk of infections and fractures, as well as reduced levels of B12.
However, you can tame the pain in your digestive tract naturally and without harm. As mostly everyone has or will at some point experience an upset stomach (especially thanks to national holidays), these are important tools to keep on hand. The distress and burning connected with eating too much will often disappear without treatment. Staying away from certain foods and changing unhealthy eating behavior, like overeating or eating too quickly, can eliminate this sort of upset stomach. If you find yourself prone to these characteristics, give these tips a try to alleviate and prevent indigestion.
- Slow down, don’t eat too fast.
- Reduce your meal size.
- After you eat, try to relax.
- Try not to eat late at night.
- If spicy foods add to your indigestion, steer clear of eating them.
- Use a food diary to distinguish which foods are causing discomfort.
- Don’t smoke.
- Reduce or eliminate coffee and alcohol consumption.
- Lower your stress levels.
Though these lifestyle choices can certainly prove effective, some symptoms may persist. If so, try one of these natural remedies:
If you have overeaten, peppermint tea is an ideal stomach soother. A warning would be that esophageal reflux could be worsened by drinking peppermint tea, as it relaxes the sphincter where the esophagus meets the stomach. In this case, try chamomile tea.
Ginger has long been established as a digestive aid, in tea form as well as candied ginger and capsules of ginger root (500 mg recommended). Delicious and spicy, ginger has been proven in a medical study to move food more quickly from the stomach into the upper small intestine. Used throughout the world for indigestion, nausea, bloating, and other digestive problems, ginger is ideal for soothing a variety of uncomfortable ailments – even morning sickness.
Products that feature beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria include cultured milk items like yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus milk. Probiotics normally live in the digestive tract, and are therefore a helpful assistant for indigestion. They also are available in liquid or capsule form. The dosage is identified by the amount of colony forming units (CFU) and usually span from 10-20 billion CFU. Another multifaceted treatment option, probiotics help inflammatory bowel disease, recurrent C. difficile infection, lactose intolerance, yeast infections, eczema, and irritable bowel syndrome. Plant-derived digestive enzymes can also assist with digestion.
Artichoke Leaf Extract
Artichoke-leaf extract has been known to aid digestion as it increases bile flow required to break down fats. Products that can be used with caffeoylquinic acids are best. Follow directions on the package.
Typically, individuals with IBS are most prone to need help with their symptoms, as it is a chronic condition. If you have symptoms that persist for more than four weeks or grow gradually worse over time, talk to your doctor and discuss your options.
1. Dr. Andrew Weil. Huffington Post. Indigestion: Natural Remedies for Relief.
2. Bastyr Center For Natural Health. Ginger – A Spicy Way to Stimulate Healthy Digestion.