Most of the time, an upset stomach can be treated at home. An upset stomach may be settled by:
- Consuming clear liquids in frequent, small amounts
- Drinking plenty of fluids so urine is a pale yellow or clear color
- If vomiting occurs, start with small sips of water or sucking on ice chips and if these are well tolerated, try:
- If fluids are well tolerated, slowly add bland solid foods such as the BRAT diet:
- Rice, white
- Toast, plain or with only jelly or honey if desired
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help relieve certain symptoms associated with an upset stomach. Talk to your doctor to determine which medicine is right for you.
- Simethicone (Gas-X, Mylanta) for gas and bloating
- Antacids or acid reducers (Pepcid, Zantac) for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Stool softeners or laxatives for constipation
- Loperamide (Imodium) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) for diarrhea
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) for cramping pain
If an upset stomach is caused by a specific medical problem, such as an ulcer, treatments for that problem can help relieve symptoms.
What Are Symptoms of Upset Stomach?
Symptoms of an upset stomach include:
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- Feeling full quickly after eating
An upset stomach is usually not serious, but see a doctor if you have an upset stomach and:
What Causes Upset Stomach?
Upset stomach is a symptom of many different conditions.
Common causes of upset stomach include:
- Eating meals too quickly
- Consuming fatty and greasy foods
- Spicy or greasy foods
- Too much caffeine, alcohol, or chocolate
- Antibiotics, pain relievers, and supplements
- Stomach flu
- Morning sickness during pregnancy
- Motion sickness
- Food poisoning
- Allergic reactions
Serious conditions that may cause upset stomach can include:
How Is Upset Stomach Diagnosed?
Most cases of upset stomach are mild and self-limiting and able to be treated at home. The cause of more serious cases of upset can be diagnosed with a patient history of symptoms and a physical examination of the abdomen, which may include palpation of the area to check for tenderness, enlarged organs, or masses, and listening to the abdomen with a stethoscope for bowel sounds.
Other physical examinations to help determine the cause of an upset stomach may include:
- Rectal examination
- Pelvic examination
- Eye examination
- Skin examination for jaundice
- Heart and lung exams
Imaging studies used to diagnose the causes of abdominal pain may include:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; including magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography)
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
Pregnancy should be ruled out in all females of childbearing age with abdominal pain.
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