Sometimes, no matter how well intentioned we are with what we put into our incredible bodies, we still have indigestion. Many of us have a sensitive stomach and the pain that comes with that can be unbearable.
I’ll admit that tummy troubles are something that I’ve had an unfortunate amount of experience with throughout the years. I have a sensitive digestive system (I think I angered the food gods in a past life), and while I honour my body with an array of well-intentioned nutritious choices, every so often it is not pleased with my offerings. And man does it ever suck when you’re stuck with an unhappy digestive tract.
So, fellow health esteemies, how does one soothe an angered sensitive stomach? Are there natural ways to ease the pain? Of course there are! Here are some of my favourites:
How to Naturally Soothe the Pain Caused by a Sensitive Stomach
When I say sensitive stomach, I mean all the grossness caused by indigestion. The bloating, the diarrhea, cramps, nausea, general malaise… none of these symptoms are fun to deal with…
With all my years of experience, it is only in the last couple of years that I’ve developed a great self care routine for the moments when I’ve upset my sensitive stomach. I used to chug Pepto Bismol and hope for the best… but that wasn’t really working for me. It wasn’t until gluten and I broke up that I discovered some gentle cures for an unhappy stomach. Here are some of my not so secret aids:
Peppermint Oil Salve
This is one of my go to fixes when I have a stomach ache. It really eases the pain caused by those unwelcomed stomach cramps. Peppermint oil makes you skin feel cool, so it provides a great distraction. Super bonus, it’s an antispamotic, which might be why those cramps tend to ease up when you use this salve.
To create this salve mix:
½ Teaspoon of Sweet Almond Oil (or carrier oil of choice)
3-5 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (Add more or less depending on your desired level of coolness)
Test a drop or two on your inner wrist – wait 5 minutes to make sure that this salve doesn’t irritate your skin. If your skin is happy with the cool sensation, rub the salve on your abdomen. It’s both soothing and distracting. I don’t know what I would do without it!
How does it work?
Menthol is magical, that’s how! Our nerve cells have protein receptors that detect when we’re hot or cold. Menthol, one of peppermints active ingredients, is a little ninja that binds to the receptors in your skin and mouth that react when your skin is feeling chilly. Consider it a beautiful lie, since your skin is actually not experiencing a temperature change at all. With that in mind, be sure to wash your hands well afterwards and keep that peppermint away from your eyes and other sensitive areas. The cooling sensation and vapours are not eye friendly.
If you aren’t into the idea of creating your own salve I’ve found pain butters that contain peppermint oil, menthol and camphor oil (which has similar effects). My favourites are Bear Balm by Soulflower Herbals, an amazing, small company here in New Brunswick and Pain Relief Butter by Lemon Balm Lane, another New Brunswick super star. While I haven’t tried Tiger Balm, the ingredient structure is similar and it would likely be another great option.
There are plenty of tea options that can calm an upset tummy. If you feel like your stomach can handle something other than water (remember that hydration is so important if you’re having diarrhea), these are my top tummy tea suggestions.
At this point you may notice that I’m having a peppermint love affair. As a girl with a sensitive digestive tract, it’s really no surprise. This powerful plant can help you inside and out. The mint’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help fight the pain at its source. And just to add an extra cherry of goodness on top, peppermint helps to relax the gastrointestinal tract, bringing you the relief that you deserve.
Ginger is a proven anti-inflammatory that helps treat and prevent nausea, vomiting, motion sickness and GI pain. It stimulates the digestive tract, helping your body to relax and release any gas or fecal build up that may be causing you discomfort.
But please don’t go reaching for a ginger ale. There was a time when I thought that this would help my stomach, but upon further investigation there is typically absolutely no ginger in these drinks! The carbonation, sugar overload and other junk in pop will only add to the bloating, cramping, aching pain that you’re already experiencing. Make some simple, health supporting, delicious ginger tea instead and your body will thank you.
Chamomile helps calm your nerves, soothe your digestive tract and relieve cramps and pain. Its ability to relax the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract makes it a great option to soothe abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation. It can also double as a sleep aid… and for anyone who sometimes just needs to sleep through the discomfort, this is a nice benefit.
Relaxing in a hot bath helps to reduce stress, relax muscles and ease pain. It’s a delightfully simple option to comfort an angry digestive system. You can even spice things up and try a relaxing detox bath while you’re at it.
While you may not be in the mood to move around too vigorously, exercise can *ahem* help get things moving. If you’re feeling bloated try lying on your back and doing the bicycle or walking around. This can sometimes stimulate your abdominal muscles enough to help move things along.
This all depends on the cause of your sensitive stomach pain, so be sure to listen to your body. If moving around is not a good options, don’t push yourself. Make sure to be gentle with your body and ease back into the happy, relaxed place that you deserve to be.
If you discover that an angry, sensitive stomach are a continuous issue, I encourage you to start a food journal. Write down everything you eat and any unpleasant symptoms that occur throughout the day. Even if the symptoms aren’t digestive – sometimes headaches, fatigue, or even joint pain can be the result of allergies and intolerances. Patterns may start to reveal themselves, and this will really help you and your doctor discover what the culprit may be.
The pain caused by a sensitive stomach should be a rare occurrence, and your daily trips to the bathroom shouldn’t be unpleasant. Once you’ve found the culprit, avoid that sucker like the plague… but if an accident does happen, now you have a few more soothing tricks up your sleeve to help.
Health and love,
What do you do when you aren’t feeling well? Share your go to stomach soothing secrets in the comments below!
Thought of the day: When my body is sensitive I am willing and able to give it the extra love and care that it needs.
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