“We’re all gonna lie, we’re all gonna cry, and we’re all gonna take painful sh*ts. ” – Dane Cook
It might not be pretty, but it’s so true. You know it. I know it. Tummy trouble finds us all! And it super sucks when it happens. Tell me you get me?
Whether you have a sensitive stomach or are experiencing an unfortunate surprise, the discomfort and pain caused by indigestion is nothing to shake a stick at. And it can leave you feeling awful and totally helpless.
Is there anything at all that we can do to help soothe painful digestive upset?
Of course there is! And it goes way further simply reaching for the Pepto Bismol and praying that it acts super fast!
When you don’t feel well you deserve all the pain relieving options available so you can feel better asap. So let’s dive in together and see what we can do to help.
Are you ready to feel better? Me too! Let’s go!
5 Easy Ways To Soothe A Sensitive Stomach
You know how people say that they cast-iron stomach? Yea, well, mine’s more like… a paper bag. She can be pretty sensitive. And it’s been that way since I was little.
I’ve had A LOT of sensitive tummy experience. And man does it ever suck when you’re stuck with an unhappy digestive system.
While we’re not all overly sensitive, we do all have our bad bathroom moments. Indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, cramps, nausea, general malaise… none of which are fun to deal with.
Back in the day I used to chug Pepto Bismol and hope for the best… And hey! If that helps you, totally go for it. But, personally, Pepto didn’t always work as quickly or strongly as I hoped.
So I’ve learned a few other tricks that work awesome on their own or combine well with Pepto and other general options, depending on what you need. And I’m so happy to share. Because no one deserve to feel that icky! So whatever helps to make it go away faster is golden. Wouldn’t you agree?
1. Peppermint Oil Salve
Peppermint is wonderful! Like serious, real life magic. And a lot of that wonderfulness is thanks to a compound called menthol.
Menthol is what creates the cool sensation we feel when we inhale, eat or apply mint to our skin. You know how inhaling mint makes your nostrils feel cool and so clear? Give thanks to menthol for that goodness!
And menthol does some pretty cool things! Like ease pain. Including pain caused by a sensitive stomach moment.
How does menthol ease pain? Essentially it can block pain detection and has a really neat anaesthetic effect (source).
Menthol binds to sensory nerve cell receptors. That’s why you feel that cold sensation when you put peppermint oil on your skin.
You’re not actually experiencing a change in temperature at all, but when menthol binds to those receptors, it convinces your nerves that the temperature changes. And since they believe it, you feel it. Boom, cold! (source 1, source 2)
These sensory nerves play a role in pain sensation too. So peppermint oils ability to bind to them starts to ease feelings pain.
But it gets even cooler!
Menthol also weakly activates certain opioid receptors, which can alter your perception of pain (source). How incredible is that?!
Plus it also inhibits certain channels in other pain-sensitive nerves, which can hinder your body’s ability to transmit pain signals (source). That means less pain for you! Yay!
We can take advantage of this by making a peppermint oil salve.
This is one of my go to fixes when indigestion finds me. For me, it really eases the pain caused by those unwelcomed stomach cramps.
An Important Note On Safety
Remember, everyone is different! Some people (including my mama – sorry mama) may have a hypersensity to the cold sensation created by menthol… which could actually cause them to feel pain (kind of counter-intuitive, right?) And everyone has different skin sensitivities.
That’s why it’s so important to do a patch test before putting something new on your skin.
Before applying peppermint oil to a large area of your skin topically, test a drop or two on your inner wrist and wait 5-10 minutes to make sure that you don’t experience any irritation. If your skin is happy with the cool sensation, that’s awesome. But if not, it’s best to steer clear.
Here’s how to create a Peppermint Oil Salve:
1 Tbsp of Sweet Almond Oil (or carrier oil of choice)
5-8 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (Add more or less depending on your desired level of coolness)
Massage onto your abdomen and enjoy the cool sensation and pain relief. Avoid sensitive areas (trust me, it’s no fun!)
2. Pain Butters
This goodness still relies on menthol. But it’s already made! So if putting something together isn’t your thing, menthol salves are here to save the day! I always have some in my purse.
While I haven’t tried Tiger Balm, the ingredient structure is similar and it would likely be another great option for my non-New Brunswicker friends.
There are plenty of tea options that can help to 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 sensitive stomach tea suggestions.
At this point you may notice that I’m having a peppermint love affair. What can I say, peppermint’s awesome! Even in tea form.
This study showed that peppermint may help to relax your intestinal muscles and relieve discomfort.
Plus, it’s possible that peppermint can reduce the severity of your pain and have you feeling better faster than you would without it. Give me that peppermint tea baby! (source)
Peppermint tea is easy to find. If you aren’t feeling your best, make yourself a cup and sip away. Breathe in that delicious peppermint aroma. And feel better soon!
If your stomach pain has decided to gift you with the most wonderful of feelings, nausea, ginger may very well be your best friend.
Ginger can help to soothe and reduce indigestion, gas, cramps and bloating. But reducing nausea is it’s specialty. In fact, it’s so awesome at it that it even helps to prevent morning sickness in pregnant ladies. Go ginger! (source 1, source 2)
And if you don’t have ginger tea on hand, you can easily make your own with ginger root. Grate a little ginger, boil for 10 to 20 minutes and, bam, you have ginger tea!
Dealing with gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhea or other sensitive stomach ickies? Chamomile’s got your back! (source)
It may even help to prevent diarrhea, so if you’re starting to feel icky and think something not-so-fun might be on it’s way, get that tea ready. (source)
Chamomile can also be really soothing, which is a wonderful and welcomed thing when you aren’t feeling your best. Don’t you agree? If you find chamomile comforting, there’s no better time to make a cup than when your stomach isn’t feeling so great.
4. Hot Bath
A good bath is kind of like a giant heating pad that envelopes and soothes your whole body. That’s a wonderful superpower!
Soaking in warm water relaxes aching muscles and even blocks pain. And since our abdominal muscles tend to get pretty sad when indigestion finds us, a bath can be a wonderful help. (source 1, source 2)
Just make sure to hydrate. Soaking in hot water can dehydrate you all by itself. And if you’ve recently experienced diarrhea you definitely need extra water.
We don’t want to make things worse while we try to make them better. So bring a cup of water in there with you.
5. Gentle Exercise
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 or constipated, 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. (source)
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.
When you aren’t feeling well you deserve to tap into whatever will help you feel better. If these ideas help on their own, awesome! If you need to combine a few and even add some pain killers or Pepto into the mix, that’s great too.
What matters most is that you have tools to help you feel better. There’s no perfect answer, just whatever works for you.
And remember, the pain caused by a sensitive stomach should be a rare occurrence. Your daily trips to the bathroom shouldn’t be unpleasant. If indigestion, stomach pain, nausea and all the ickies are a common occurrence, talk to your doctor.
Personally, I had to work with my family doctor and even food and symptom journal to really figure things out. Blood tests were also involved! And now I know what works and what doesn’t. It was all so incredibly worth it!
That doesn’t mean that I never experience tummy troubles. But it’s not a common occurrence. Which is awesome! Because who has time for this kind of ickiness on a regular basis? No freaking thank you! You deserve to feel good too, and asking for medical help can sometimes be a big part of that.
Rest, indulge in the self-care that helps and feel better soon sweet friend. I hope all of this goodness helps you tons!
What do you do when you aren’t feeling well? I’d love to hear your tips! Share your go to sensitive tummy soothing secrets in the comments below!
Health and love,
Thought of the day: When your not feeling well you’re allow to slow down and give yourself the extra love and care you need.
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