What is upper stomach pain?
Upper stomach pain is a common ailment among adults and children. Your intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are all found in your upper stomach. Because of this, the list of potential causes of upper stomach pain is long. Indigestion, heartburn, gas, or a common stomach virus can cause pain in your upper stomach.
Causes for upper stomach pain range from benign to life-threatening, so it is important to consult with a doctor if you are experiencing stomach pain. The ailment can cause severe discomfort, but there are several steps you can take to alleviate upper stomach pain.
What causes upper stomach pain?
Potential causes of upper stomach pain include:
- Liver conditions
- Muscle damage or strain
- Obstruction of the bowel
- Stomach virus
While the ailment has many causes, the nature of your discomfort — gradual or sudden, aching or sharp — can indicate to your doctor what is causing your upper stomach pain. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe an appropriate treatment.
Remedies for upper stomach pain
Apply a heating pad or bottle to your stomach for 15 to 20 minutes. The high temperature can help to relax strained or tense muscles.
It can also ease indigestion and constipation in some instances.
Not lying flat
If you are experiencing upper stomach pain as a symptom of indigestion, gas, or bloating, lying flat can aggravate your discomfort. Studies show that some people find more comfort and relief from stomach pain when lying propped up or sitting upright.
Use some pillows to prop yourself up and relax to soothe your stomach pain.
Stomach pain is sometimes related to or caused by dehydration.
If you are experiencing upper stomach pain, drinking water throughout the day can help alleviate discomfort by rehydrating your body. Avoid gorging on water. Instead, sip water to rehydrate over time.
The soothing quality of ginger is effective for reducing pain related to vomiting or upset stomach. You can consume ginger in food, tea, or ginger ale.
An after-dinner mint can do more than freshen your breath. It can help in the treatment of upper stomach pain. Research shows that peppermint oil offers a wide range of relief for gastrointestinal discomfort. Mint can be consumed raw or cooked — it is most commonly consumed as a tea or beverage.
Peppermint oil can soothe tense muscles, reduce inflammation, alleviate nausea, ease stomach pains, help manage irritable bowel syndrome, and relieve stress that may be causing pain.
Cinnamon is a tried-and-true remedy for inflammation and intestinal upset that has been used in Asia for thousands of years. Modern research confirms that cinnamon possesses antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. You can consume cinnamon in its stick or powder form with a meal. Cinnamon is also commonly consumed as a tea.
Because its benefits are so diverse, cinnamon is a great way to alleviate pain in your upper stomach — whether it’s caused by gas, bloating, or cramping.
Risks and outlook
While upper stomach pain home remedies are often enough to treat this typically benign condition, you should be aware of warning signs for more serious developments. If you have severe, frequent, or persistent stomach problems, you should talk to a doctor.
It is also best to seek medical attention if the following symptoms are present:
- Persistent or uncontrollable vomiting
- Persistent or uncontrollable diarrhea
- Constipation or diarrhea that is chronic
- Blood in your vomit or stool
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Pain when urinating
- Sharp, severe pain
If you are experiencing sudden or sharp pain, you should seek immediate medical attention. Consult your doctor before trying new home remedies for upper stomach pain, in case your symptoms indicate a more serious condition.
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Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan: “Dehydration related abdominal pain (DRAP).”
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Japan Journal of Nursing Sciences: “Random control trial of hot compresses for women those who used laxatives on severity of constipation and quality of life.”
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Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations, 3rd edition, Butterworths, 1990.