Do you suffer from a burning sensation in your stomach? Does your stomach feel as if it’s on fire? Well, you are not alone. Many people experience this unpleasant sensation. Apart from the burning sensation, you may also feel discomfort in the upper abdomen or lower chest, bloating, gas, belching, early feeling of fullness when eating, and nausea. Too much acid in the stomach contributes to a burning feeling, which can happen for several reasons. Some common causes are gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), food allergies or intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, celiac disease and a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection.
Other notable causes of a burning sensation in the stomach include side effects of medications or drugs, emotional stress, alcohol abuse, smoking, obesity, overuse of antibiotics, drinking chlorinated water and a poor diet. Given the numerous and diverse causes of a burning sensation in the stomach, it is important to find out the exact cause before starting a treatment plan. For a proper diagnosis, you should consult your doctor. To get relief from the problem, try some simple home remedies. Here are the top 10 home remedies for a burning sensation in your stomach.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a good remedy if you are experiencing a burning sensation in the abdomen. Though acidic in nature, apple cider vinegar has an alkalizing effect that helps balance the acid level in the stomach. This in turn makes digesting food easier and prevents the formation of excess stomach acid, which often causes this painful problem. It also helps restore the proper pH in the stomach.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of lukewarm water.
- Add a little honey (optional) and mix thoroughly.
- Drink it once or twice a day. You can also drink it before meals.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is another good remedy to treat digestive problems, such as a burning sensation in the stomach. It works as a natural antacid to neutralize the acid in your stomach, thus providing instant relief.
- Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Stir until it dissolves completely.
- Add a little honey or lemon for taste if you want, and drink it immediately.
- Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a day (1 to 2 hours after having meals or other medications).
Note: Do not take baking soda on a full stomach, and do not use this remedy for more than 1 week.
Probiotics can ease the burning sensation, pain and uncomfortable feeling associated with acidity and digestive system problems. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that boost your intestinal and overall digestive health. In fact, eating probiotic foods helps restore the natural balance of your gut bacteria and prevent acids from forming in the stomach.
- Boost your intake of probiotics by eating yogurt, certain types of milk, soy products, kefir (similar to yogurt), sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso soup, kimchi and kombucha tea.
- Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements, which you can take after consulting your doctor.
- Pickle Juice
As pickle juice is rich in vinegar, it works much like apple cider vinegar to reduce acid formation in the stomach. Naturally fermented sour pickle juice is a good source of dairy-free probiotics and is less likely to cause any side effects. Moreover, pickle juice is more palatable and many people prefer its taste over vinegar. When suffering from acidity, have a few sips or teaspoons of pickle juice after eating your meal. You can even have the pickle along with the juice.
Ginger is good for your overall digestion system and helps treat a number of stomach problems – from acid reflux to ulcers. It aids better absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients to ensure proper digestion. Also, it promotes mucus secretion in the stomach and reduces the effect of the acid on your stomach. In fact, ginger neutralizes stomach acids.
- Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger root to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and sip the tea slowly. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day for about a week.
- Alternatively, consume ½ tablespoon of ginger juice mixed with a little honey before eating a meal, 2 times daily for a week.
- You can even chew a small piece of fresh ginger root to fight acidity.
Note: Ginger may interfere with blood-thinning and high blood pressure medications. Consult your doctor before using ginger remedies if you take such medications.
Chamomile is another excellent natural remedy, due to its acid-neutralizing effect. It helps reduce inflammation in the stomach and neutralize acidity levels. Plus, it can reduce the risk of ulcers. In addition, it helps relieve stress, which can trigger acid reflux.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers to 1 cup of hot water. Cover and allow it to steep for 5 minutes. Strain and add some honey. Drink this tea 3 or 4 times a day.
- Chamomile is also available as a dietary supplement, which you can take after consulting your doctor.
Do not boil this herb, as its active compounds will be destroyed.
- Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice has anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids that boost digestion as well as remove toxins from the body. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine reports that aloe vera juice effectively reduces symptoms of acid reflux without any reported side effects. The study concluded that aloe vera may work by reducing acid production and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Drink ½ cup of aloe vera juice before meals. Choose one that has the laxative component removed.
Note: Do not take aloe vera juice if you have an upset stomach.
- Chewing Gum
Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum is a simple trick to combat a burning sensation in the stomach. It stimulates the production of saliva, which is an alkaline agent. When you swallow the saliva, it neutralizes stomach acid and gives you quick relief from the problem. A 2001 study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology highlights the positive effect of gum chewing on pharyngeal and esophageal pH, and it appears to be a useful adjunctive anti-reflux therapy.
Another study published in 2005 in the Journal of Dental Research reports that chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour after a meal can reduce acidic postprandial esophageal reflux. After a meal, chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 30 minutes to help ward off acidity and a burning sensation in your chest and stomach. Avoid sugary as well as mint-flavored gum.
Bananas are high in fiber content and help speed up digestion, thus minimizing incidences of acidity and burning sensations in the chest and stomach. In fact, bananas contain natural antacids that act as a buffer against acid reflux. Also, the potassium in them keeps acid production in the stomach under control.
- Eat a ripe banana for quick relief from a bad bout of acidity.
- You can even make a banana smoothie with cold milk or yogurt.
- Apart from bananas, apples, papayas and watermelon can also provide relief from acid reflux.
- Slippery Elm
Slippery elm has demulcent properties that help coat the esophagus and the stomach lining, which works as barrier against acidity. It also stimulates the intestines to produce mucus. This can help protect against ulcers and extra acidity.
- Steep 1 tablespoon of powdered slippery elm in 1 cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day.
- Slippery elm is also available in capsule form (400 to 500 mg) that can be taken 3 or 4 times daily. However, consult your doctor first.
Note: Do not give slippery elm to a child without consulting your doctor first.
- Keep a food journal to help you identify possible triggers and avoid them.
- Eat a nutritious and high-fiber diet to support the digestive system. Also, eat 5 or 6 small meals each day instead of 2 heavy meals to aid digestion.
- When eating, make sure to chew your food thoroughly to promote good digestion.
- Eat bland food that helps neutralize the digestive acids.
- Avoid foods that increase stomach acids like refined carbohydrates, fried and processed foods, sugary beverages, red meat, hydrogenated oils, spicy foods and chocolate, to name a few.
- Avoid fruits and vegetables high in citric acid, such as oranges, tomatoes and grapefruits.
- Avoid using garlic and onions for some time, as they may aggravate symptoms for those who regularly experience acid reflux and heartburn.
- Do not drink alcohol in excess, as it increases the risk of GERD.
- Do not sleep on your stomach or lay flat on your back right after a meal, as this can cause indigestion and heartburn. Try sleeping on your left side.
- Avoid any kind of exercise for at least 30 minutes after eating.
- Water has a neutral pH that can help neutralize stomach acids, hence drink an ample amount of water.
- Drinking a glass of cold milk or buttermilk can prevent acid buildup and absorb excess acid, thereby reducing symptoms of acidity.
- Quit smoking, as smoking reduces salivation. Saliva helps neutralize acid.