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These Home Remedies Help Stop Burning Stomach Pain in Its Tracks, Doctors Say

Check your pantry: It turns out a pinch of baking soda quickly cools the burn

You’re in the middle of running errands or spending time with family when burning stomach pain stops you in your tracks. It feels like there’s a fire in your gut, and the discomfort can be enough to derail your day. The sensation often ranges from annoying to totally debilitating, depending on the cause.

“The stomach secretes acids and digestive enzymes and mixes them with food, breaking it down to smaller nutrients,” explains Dawn Ericsson, MD, medical director at AgeRejuvenation. This is how the body turns food into fuel. “When there is a disruption anywhere in this process, symptoms like pain and burning happen.”

If you’re bothered by bouts of burning stomach pain, help is here. We asked Dr. Ericsson and Rachel Schiesser, MD, a gastroenterologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, what exactly causes burning stomach pain and how to soothe it naturally.

What is burning stomach pain?

Burning stomach pain is exactly what it sounds like — a searing sensation in your abdomen that can sometimes reach your lower chest area. The pain can be acute, showing up suddenly and lasting for a short time, or chronic, lingering for a long time.

Some people describe a warm sensation that’s more uncomfortable than painful. Others get sharp pains intense enough to wake them up at night. Sometimes, a burning stomach pain is part of a cluster of other symptoms like nausea, bloating, belching and a feeling of fullness after eating only a little bit.

A close-up of a woman clenching her hands to her stomach in pain

Whatever your burning stomach pain feels like, understanding the cause is the first step toward finding relief.

Common causes of burning stomach pain

Several conditions can trigger burning stomach pain, agree Dr. Ericsson and Dr. Schiesser. Some of the most common include:

  1. Heartburn and GERD. Also known as acid reflux or heartburn, GERD happens when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. “Burning stomach pain is frequently caused by acid reflux,” says Dr. Schiesser. (Click through to see what meds make acid reflux worse.)
  2. Gastritis. This inflammation of the stomach lining can cause a burning pain. “One of the most common causes of gastritis are NSAID pain relievers, including aspirin and ibuprofen,” says Dr. Schiesser. If gastritis is your issue, “discontinue NSAIDs and take acetaminophen instead.”
  3. Ulcers. Sores that develop on the stomach lining can cause sharp, burning pain. “The overproduction of stomach acid can lead to ulcers,” says Dr. Ericsson.  Stress and certain foods can cause ulcers to flare up and make the pain worse.
  4. Infections. There are some bacterial and viral infections that can upset your stomach. Dr. Schiesser says an infection caused by helicobacter pylori bacteria is a common reason for burning stomach pain, since it damages the stomach lining.
  5. Food. Reactions to foods such as caffeine, alcohol and acidic foods can trigger discomfort. And spicy foods are especially likely to cause burning stomach pain, adds Dr.  Ericsson.
  6. Functional dyspepsia. This is a type of chronic indigestion with symptoms resembling an ulcer disease, but imaging tests don’t show ulcers or physical signs. It’s a common disorders, affecting up to 20% of people. “The cause of this condition isn’t fully understood,” says Dr. Schiesser. “It may be related to hypersensitivity of the nerves in the gut.”
An illustration of GERD
GERD is a top cause of burning stomach pain.Getty

Related: MD: Your ‘Heartburn’ May Be Caused By *Low* Stomach Acid — The Easy At-Home Test and Cure

How to soothe burning stomach pain

When burning stomach pain strikes, you want fast, effective relief. These natural home remedies help cool the burn plus block future flare-ups.

1. Jot down triggers

“Acid reflux can be exacerbated by dietary triggers,” says Dr. Schiesser. It’s very individualized— different people react to different foods, she says. To find out what’s causing your problem, keep a food and symptom journal so you can spot the specific things that cause burning stomach pain.

According to Dr. Schiesser, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can support stomach health. Another way to combat the discomfort if food is a trigger is to eat smaller meals and avoid exercise or lying down right after eating, adds Dr. Ericsson.

2. Sip a baking soda tonic

It’s not just for baking cookies and muffins. Baking soda is a basic pantry staple can help put out your stomach fire, according to Dr. Ericsson. “Mix ½ tsp. of baking soda in 8 ounces of water to relieve the burning sensation of acid reflux,” she advises. The baking soda works to neutralize stomach acid, taming stomach pain. (Leftover baking soda? Click through to see 16 brilliant uses for baking soda.)

A glass of water with a spoonful of baking soda being added to it

3. Relax with herbal fixes

Chamomile, ginger and peppermint teas are known for their soothing properties. So it’s no surprise that they can help calm an upset stomach. Simply brew a cup and sip slowly when burning stomach pain strikes.

Dr. Schiesser adds that herbal supplements, such as slippery elm and fennel seed, can help with dyspepsia, too. “Several of these herbs are traditionally used after meals in India as a digestive aid,” she explains. She recommends the supplement FDgard, which contains caraway oil and L-menthol to soothe an upset stomach and indigestion.

What else can help? Dr. Ericsson suggests taking a digestive enzyme supplement, such as Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes, with meals. These enzymes help break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins, easing food through the digestive tract to thwart GI pain.

Related: Outsmarting Heartburn Can Be As Easy As Drinking Ginger Tea, Say MDs

4. Spoon up a yogurt parfait

Loading up on probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir (or supplementing with probiotics) helps balance your gut flora. Probiotics are good gut bugs that reduce inflammation, prevent pain and lower the risk of infections, explains Dr. Ericsson.

Two glasses of yogurt parfait topped with blueberries and strawberries

Note: “If you get an infection, see your doctor and take any antibiotics prescribed,” Dr. Ericsson advises. And be sure to consume plenty of probiotic-rich foods while taking antibiotics to protect your gut microbiome.

If you prefer a probiotic supplement over foods, look for one with the strain bacillus coagulans. This specific strain provides significant relief from stomach pain, according to research in the journal Gastroenterology and Endoscopy. One to try: Thorne Bacillus Coagulans.

5. Take a deep breath

If you’ve ever gotten an upset stomach after having a rough day, you know that stress can cause GI pain. Tension spurs the release of hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, which disrupt digestive functioning and can cause burning stomach pain. The good news: “Relaxation and stress management can improve symptoms,” assures Dr. Schiesser. She suggests calming practices like yoga, meditation and deep-breathing exercises.

Need help getting started? Check out the video below for some deep breathing exercises for beginners.

6. Drink aloe vera juice

Known for its healing properties, aloe vera juice can calm the digestive tract and reduce inflammation. “It’s very soothing, but when choosing aloe products, it is important to be mindful of sugar content,” says Dr. Schiesser. She recommends a sugar-free product like Lily of the Desert Stomach Formula. “It’s been helpful to many of my patients looking for a natural approach.” Mix 1 oz. of the formula with 2 oz. of water and drink 15 to 30 minutes before meals to block discomfort. (Click through to see more easy ways to get rid of heartburn.)

7. Down apple cider vinegar

No aloe vera juice on hand? No problem! Sipping 1 Tbs. of diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) before meals can improve digestion and mitigate heartburn. “It helps by neutralizing the stomach acid,” explains Dr. Ericsson. You can down it straight, as an ACV “shot”, or dilute it in a cup of water to get the benefits.

A glass of apple cider vinegar beside fresh apples

When to see a doctor for burning stomach pain

While many cases of burning stomach pain can be managed at home, you should always watch for signs that you should see a doctor. If you get severe pain, lose weight without trying or spot blood in your stool, it’s time to make an appointment.

Rarely, burning stomach pain may even be a sign of cancer. “It’s very important to consult with a healthcare provider if experiencing these symptoms, especially if natural remedies don’t provide relief,” says Dr. Ericsson. 

For more ways to soothe common GI bothers naturally:

MD: Your ‘Heartburn’ May Be Caused By *Low* Stomach Acid — The Easy At-Home Test and Cure

Docs Say Epsom Salt Eases Constipation — But This Type of Magnesium Works Even Better

These Common Prescription Medications May Make Heartburn Worse — 4 Easy Ways to Outsmart the Problem

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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