I suffered from indigestion accompanied by abdominal pain for years, and if you have the same problem, you know what I am talking about.
Abdominal pain caused by acid reflux is extremely common in both women and men of all ages. Acid reflux is not something to be embarrassed about, and it certainly is not a sign of old age!
Acid reflux accompanied by abdominal pain can be treated with natural herbs and teas such as chamomile, ginger, and anise. Changing some habits also can have a positive impact on how your body processes food. That pain in your abdomen could be remedied as easily as changing your posture or your diet.
Let’s talk about some of the ways you can relieve abdominal pain or prevent acid reflux from occurring, which will allow you to get on with your life.
Do you get stomach pain straight after eating? Check your diet
If you are a busy working woman with abdominal pain caused by acid reflux, changing your diet can be a daunting prospect. Sometimes it’s easier to eat on the run, but with some planning, you can make changes that will have little impact on your family and loved ones.
Take it to step by step and monitor the changes when they happen. Reducing the pain caused by acid reflux could be as easy as reducing your portion sizes!
Reduced portion sizes can stop your stomach pain
You have probably heard health professionals talk about portion sizes. Sometimes eating small meals frequently can alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux and the resulting abdominal pain.
When you eat large meals, your stomachs expand, impacting on the valve located between your stomach and your oesophagus (the oesophageal valve). The excess food in your belly can make you feel uncomfortable and cause abdominal pain.
It could also be preventing the valve from closing as it should. When the valve does not close, the stomach acids travel into your throat to give you the sour taste associated with acid reflux.
This report on dietary guidelines shows that reducing portion sizes can reduce your acid reflux and abdominal pain.
Next time someone asks, ‘do you want seconds?’ resist the urge and think how great you will feel if you say no.
If you are struggling to reduce portion sizes on your own, why don’t you try one of Blackleaves’ weight management products Hunger Buster Délices des Abeilles? This delicious tea can help suppress food cravings, and it tastes amazing!
A low carb diet can be a great way to reduce pain caused by acid reflux
We need some carbohydrates in our diet as they are a source of energy for our bodies. They are made up of starch, sugars, and fibre.
You have probably heard talk of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbohydrates. The ‘bad’ carbohydrates like sweet cakes and biscuits are the ones we should eat less of.
If you think that carbohydrates are causing abdominal pain associated with acid reflux, you could try a diet low in carbs.
Studies have shown that lowering carbs lessens the risk of heartburn. The FODMAP Diet will help to reduce fermentable carbohydrates. It makes sense. More fermentation causes more gas and leads to burping and regurgitation.
Australia’s own CSIRO have developed the Total Wellbeing Diet, a high protein, low carb diet. Lowering your carbs can aid in weight loss and reduce the likelihood of experiencing abdominal pain brought about by acid reflux.
Chewing gum following meals can reduce the acid in your oesophagus
Chewing gum can freshen your breath and stimulate your saliva production when chewed straight after a meal. If you choose sugar-free gum, this has the added benefit of preventing cavities in your teeth!
The act of chewing gum reduces the likelihood of acid reflux and the resulting abdominal pain. The increase in saliva will reduce the acid in your oesophagus.
A reduction in acid means that you may no longer experience the regurgitation and unpleasant sour taste associated with acid reflux. If you don’t wish to add sugar and you would prefer a healthy alternative, there are plenty of herbal and sugar-free options available.
These foods can cause abdominal pain in most cases
If you suffer from heartburn, foods such as tomatoes and fruits high in citric acid can increase the acid in your gut and cause damage to the lining of your oesophagus.
The pain associated with acid reflux can be reduced or eliminated by avoiding certain foods and beverages.
If you experience acid reflux with abdominal pain, here are 10 foods you should avoid:
- Citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges
- Tomatoes and tomato products
- Spicy foods
- Fried foods
- High fat desserts
- Fried snacks such as chips
- Fatty cuts of meat
Carbonated drinks, such as sodas, can cause your belly to feel full, which increases the pressure on your stomach.
Drinking soda with added caffeine such as cola can further aggravate your stomach and increase the pain associated with acid reflux. Replace the fizzy sodas with uncarbonated spring or tap water to alleviate the pain in your belly.
If the food listed are some of your favourite foods, do not despair. The good news is that you can still enjoy most of your preferred foods if you reduce the amounts and substitute some items for healthier options.
For instance, you can substitute full-fat milk and cheeses for low-fat options; eat fresh vegetables instead of fried or creamed; substitute sweet baked goods for plain, and eat low-fat chips such as tortillas or pretzels.
A life without chocolate may seem extreme, but you may be able to have a small portion every now or then.
SummaryChanging your eating habits and sometimes your diet can alleviate the symptoms of abdominal pain caused by acid reflux and prevent you from experiencing further pain and discomfort.
Changing your posture to relieve digestive problems
In our busy lives, we sometimes neglect the needs of our physical bodies. Finding time to exercise on top of a busy workday can often be the last thing on our minds.
Easing that nagging abdominal pain can be achieved by adding a pillow to our beds or sitting up straight at the office. Here are some simple ways to change body habits to improve the way we digest our meals.
Prevent acid reflux and the pain with an extra pillow
Whether you sleep on your side or your back, the symptoms of acid reflux and the resulting abdominal pain can be eased by plumping up your pillows or adding an extra one.
Studies have shown that the way we lie in bed can influence how we digest our food. Sleeping supine (or lying flat) can worsen the symptoms and contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel due to excess acid in your mouth.
Lying flat means no gravity to take the acid back down to your stomach and the fact that we rarely swallow while we sleep.
Get yourself an extra pillow and try to angle your body to prevent this from happening.
Change your body posture to reduce pressure on your stomach
Do you sometimes slouch when you are sitting? A straight posture will aid indigestion.
Slouching can not only cause neck and spine problems, but it can also cause unnecessary pressure on your internal organs. This could lead to acid reflux. So, sit and stand up straight, and you will feel better for it!
Try the 30 minutes ‘posture challenge’ next time you sit down to a meal. Sit straight with your shoulders back without allowing your spine to touch the back of the chair.
It takes time to break habits. If you have been slouching most of your life, you will need to practice awareness every time you sit down.
Old habits can be broken! A physiotherapist or chiropractor can assist you with any long-term posture issues.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as changing the way you sleep, stand, or sit. Taking pressure off your vital organs and preventing acid from travelling back up your oesophagus can relieve the symptoms of abdominal pain caused by acid reflux.
How to change common habits to relieve abdominal pain?
I’m sure we all have a list of habits that we would change if we could. Well, the good news is that you can!
If you are experiencing pain associated with acid reflux, changing some of your less than desirable habits could make the difference and have you living a more pain-free life.
Let’s start with smoking.
Stop smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke to decrease acid reflux events
Is smoking a habit that you just can’t kick? The smoke from cigarettes has proven to increase the rate at which reflux events occur.
We know that cigarette smoking can cause many health issues. Now might be the time to give up bad habits and start afresh.
There are many ways you can tackle quitting smoking. Some people have success with natural therapies such as acupuncture or hypnotherapy, while others have reported success with herbal remedies like Catnip or Valerian.
Sipping on Valerian Root Tea or Catnip Tea can help with the sleepless nights and anxiety brought about by giving up a long-term smoking habit. Catnip has the added benefit of soothing your upset or painful stomach.
Cut back on drinking to reduce the pain
A glass of wine at dinner is one of life’s little pleasures. However, if you think your alcohol consumption is causing acid reflux and resulting in abdominal pain, it might be time to cut back.
Lowering your alcohol intake can reduce the pain caused by acid reflux. The consumption of alcohol and the risks to our health are well-documented. Heavy drinking and long-term consumption can put everyone’s health at risk.
If you enjoy wine with your meal, consider reducing or eliminating it to see if it makes a difference to your digestion. Seek medical advice if you think you need help reducing your intake.
Both alcohol consumption and smoking have well-documented evidence to suggest that they are not good for our health whether we have acid reflux or not. Quitting or cutting back on smoking and alcohol can only benefit our overall well-being.
Which herbal teas can soothe your abdominal pain?
Herbal teas can be a great substitute for traditional morning beverages such as coffee and black tea. Once you find the herbal tea that suits your body, you will wonder why you waited so long to try it.
Herbal teas such as those listed below can be beneficial in reducing the symptom of abdominal pain caused by acid reflux.
Soothe your upset stomach with Liquorice Root Tea
Liquorice root is one of the worlds’ oldest herbal remedies. It is known for its antibacterial properties which can make it an effective treatment for most gastrointestinal complaints.
The remedy forms part of Chinese medicine and can be used to soothe an upset stomach caused by acid reflux. It was also a favourite of the pharaohs in Ancient Egypt.
Liquorice, which can be consumed in tea or as a flavouring for cooking, can relieve the symptoms of acid reflux when used as a short-term solution.
Chamomile tea can help you to relax before bed
A cup of Chamomile Tea before bed not only is a well-known relaxant but also can reduce the pain associated with acid reflux symptoms.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to soothe abdominal pain and help you to get a good night’s sleep. This pleasant tasting, naturally sweet tea can actively contribute to relief from stomach cramps and nausea.
Chamomile is a versatile tea as it not only relaxes your stomach but also helps people with anxiety and stress.
Stress is one of the lifestyle factors which can contribute to stomach pain and nausea.
If you are experiencing pain from acid reflux, you could try our delicious Organic Chamomile, available as part of Black Leaves’ Wellness collection.
Ginger tea for acid reflux and abdominal pain
If you love the flavour of ginger in your favourite stir-fry, you will be happy to know it can also be doing your painful gut a favour.
Not only is ginger an amazing ingredient to add to your cooking, but also its warming and healing qualities can help to reduce abdominal pain associated with heartburn or acid reflux.
Chinese people have been using ginger for centuries as an integral part of Chinese medicine.
Studies have shown that ginger has many benefits - the most documented as reducing inflammation and nausea. Used as a tea, ginger with its anti-inflammatory properties can help to soothe your indigestion.
Organic Ginger Tea is available from Black Leaves’ quality product range. To read further information about teas and their role in digestion, take a look at The 7 Best Teas for Digestion in Australia on our Health Hub.
Anise can decrease the symptoms of acid reflux
Anise has traditionally been used in Iranian Medicine. This aromatic plant, in particular, the seeds, can have a calming effect on the stomach and help to reduce abdominal pain, a symptom of acid reflux.
Anise has been found to reduce the amount of time food is retained in the stomach after eating. It can lessen the pain you experience in your abdomen by lessening the time you have food sitting in your stomach and creating gas following a meal.
Studies have also found that anise can help to reduce the symptoms of stomach ulcers, which can be the result of long-term indigestion problems.
It is common to experience abdominal pain associated with acid reflux while pregnant. If you are expecting a baby, anise is one of the herbs which can help to calm these irritating symptoms.
Read ‘The Best Way to Get Rid of Acid Reflux When Pregnant’ on our Health Hub for further information about acid reflux and pregnancy.
The Anise seeds can be used whole or ground and steeped in hot water to make tea. The distinctive liquorice flavour does not even require any sweetener.
When used in conjunction with some lifestyle changes, herbal teas such as liquorice, chamomile, ginger, and anise can help to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and the resulting abdominal pain.
When should you see a doctor for abdominal pain and acid reflux?
This simple checklist list will help you to understand if your abdominal pain could be caused by acid reflux.
- There is a burning sensation in your upper abdomen following a meal
- Sometimes you feel like you have food caught in your oesophagus
- Feeling bloated and nauseous after meals is common
- Eating acidic or spicy foods can make you feel queasy
- The pain does not ease when you lie down
- You burp after you eat, which sometimes bring up an unpleasant taste in the back of your throat
- The pain is mostly in the upper abdomen
If you think your symptoms are of a more serious nature, you had better seek medical advice as soon as possible. Let’s look at some of the symptoms that mean you should seek medical attention.
- Severe and ongoing abdominal pain
- Persistent hiccups or coughing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea with vomiting
- Severe chest pain
If the pain is getting worse, such as severe chest pain or ongoing abdominal pain, it is time you should look for medical advice.
Acid reflux can be a pain in the gut but be assured that you are not alone! Many Australians suffer from abdominal pain associated with acid reflux.
If you have been struggling with pain and acid reflux for some time now, there are several simple solutions. A special blend of herbal remedies and a few simple lifestyle changes can put that spring back in your step today.