Stomach discomfort: symptoms, causes and home remedies

Stomach discomfort: symptoms, causes and home remedies

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Stomach discomfort - When the stomach hurts
Stomach discomfort is one of the most common diseases. They are often harmless due to overeating or difficult to digest food, but serious illnesses can hide behind stomach problems. This article shows why the symptoms arise and what treatment options exist.

A muscle bag

The stomach is one of the hollow organs, to put it simply, it is a sack of muscles that is so flexible that it can absorb large amounts of food. It connects to the esophagus, and through it the food reaches the inside of the body. The organ consists of the stomach mouth, stomach body and stomach outlet. The latter flows into the duodenum and the small intestine.

Teamwork in digestion

The stomach and intestines share the digestion. The former performs the pre-digestion, while the intestine separates the nutrients from the “waste” and supplies them to the organism. So that the intestine can do this task, the stomach converts the solid food into a pulp. This helps with gastric acid, which is differently aggressive in animals: for example, the stomach acid of wolves can even break down bone parts. The gastric mucosa disinfects the food: it contains numerous glands, the acid of which digests the food and kills pathogens.

Foreign body

But stomach muscles and acid cannot do everything, and complaints arise, among other things, from swallowing indigestible parts. This can be bone chips or herringbone, or plastic or glass in children. However, not all foreign bodies are harmful in the animal kingdom: many birds even have to swallow stones that use the stomach muscles like "millstones" and thus crush hard grains.


Our stomach is extremely powerful. But the system is tricky when we abuse it. Because stomach acid is necessary to digest existing food, problems arise when the glands produce acid without being digested. Then we speak of acidification, which can affect the whole organism.

Such acidification can be caused by various basic diseases, but very often it is due to malnutrition combined with excessive alcohol and cigarette consumption. Nicotine and alcohol both promote the production of stomach acid, but do not provide the stomach with anything that it can digest.

Typical signs of overacidification of the body are a general feeling of sickness, exhaustion and exhaustion. Other indications are sour bad breath, heavy weight loss, the feeling of having to vomit, especially when eating and stomach pain. Those affected look pale and feel as if they are permanently suffering from a flu-like infection.


Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. This disease is common and can be chronic or acute. Those affected often do not notice chronic gastritis because they show no symptoms.

Too much stomach acid is one cause of stomach upset. Triggers include food poisoning, alcoholism, heavy smoking and excessive use of medicines containing acetylsalicylic acid. Spicy food irritates the stomach as much as a lot of coffee. Excessive sport is largely unknown as the cause. Psychological triggers include stress and shock.

If the affected person notices symptoms, it is usually abdominal pain, malaise, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Forms of gastritis

Inflammation of the stomach occurs in various forms, firstly as a body reaction. Here the immune system is directed against your own tissue. Second, there is inflammation of the mucous membranes when painkillers or bile juice flow into the stomach. The most common, however, is an inflammation of the stomach caused by the bacterium Heliobacter pylori.

The acute illness can be quickly managed with anti-acid medication and an appropriate diet, the healing of chronic gastritis takes time.

This inflammation can be prevented by careful handling of alcohol, pepper, chilli and fat.


Gastric polyps are "growths" in the glands of the mucous membrane that extend into the stomach. Most of them are benign, but they develop into gastric cancer in 20% of the cases. Large polyps cause pressure in the upper abdomen, a feeling of fullness and vomiting of blood. The droppings turn black.

Experts discuss whether Helicobacter bacteria offer them a breeding ground and whether a diet high in fat and low in fiber promotes them - but that is speculation.

Foreign body

Small children often swallow objects such as marbles, stones or plastic parts, while adults tend to swallow fish bones or poultry bones.

Hurry when a child swallows a button battery. If the gastric juice breaks it down, the poisonous acid from the battery escapes. Sharp objects that can injure the stomach membrane must also be removed immediately.

When children swallow coins, it often goes straight through the stomach and intestines. However, if the child gets abdominal pain or pain when swallowing, you should see a doctor. Abdominal pain is an indication that the coin is in the esophagus. Here a gastroscopy helps to remove the metal. Sometimes a coin passes through to the stomach without problems, but does not go through the intestine. An x-ray shows here where it is and a gastroscopy takes it out.

Prevention and self-treatment

Stomach discomfort is extremely good for “treating yourself”, namely by changing our diet. The majority of the problems arise from improper nutrition. If this is the case, we can even fight the cause with an adapted diet; after all, with most diseases of the stomach, the symptoms can be alleviated.

A so-called gastrointestinal flu usually subsides on its own after a few days, but is uncomfortable. We can reduce diarrhea and nausea with a healthy diet. With severe stomach cramps, however, you should not trust home remedies for gastrointestinal flu alone. Then antibiotics or even infusions are required.

For example, healing earth helps against diarrhea, pectins, which are contained in apples, bananas, carrots or citrus fruits, work against the infection.

Stomach inflammation relieves fennel, sage and chamomile. We practically boil the leaves as tea. Sage is an all-round genius for stomach complaints, which contains many healing substances, from camphor to borneol, from flavonoids to saponins and zinc. Sage works well against bacteria and infections.


You can buy sage as pastilles, tea or medication in the pharmacy, but it can also be easily planted on the windowsill or in the garden and copes very well with the German climate. You can use the leaves fresh or dried.

You put the leaves in hot water for about ten minutes for a tea. If the taste is too intense for you, add honey and lemon.

Soup and stew

A soup made from oatmeal, water, sugar or salt, a porridge made from potatoes, carrots and other vegetables helps your stomach because you “digest” the food and do the work for it.


You relieve abdominal cramps by warmth, because it relaxes the abdominal muscles, be it in the form of an electric blanket, a warming pillow or warm clothes. The hot water bottle filled with hot water is also suitable.

Eat mindfully

White bread, carrots, peas, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, soups or rice are gentle on the stomach. Steam or cook vegetables instead of frying them in oil.

What shouldn't you eat?

Avoid too much sugar and too much fat as well as strong spices. Cut the fat off of meat or eat lean meat. Avoid cream and high-fat cheese. No gos are french fries, hamburgers or currywurst, fat, smoked and salted meat, goose, duck and high-fat sausage, eel and salmon.

Bloating foods also harm them. So no cabbage, no onions, no wheat beer or egg dishes.


With a gastroscopy, the doctor can not only get an impression of the stomach, esophagus and duodenum, he can also use it to remove tissue and work therapeutically.

To do this, he introduces the gastroscope into the stomach; this special tube leads into the duodenum. The device contains glass fibers and a plastic jacket, a working channel for the instruments, a media system with which light and images can be viewed on a screen, a rinse and a device for suction.

Why should you have your stomach mirrored?

Indications of gastroscopy are: frequent heartburn, constant stomach or abdominal pain, associated with nausea, vomiting bloody, swallowing problems, bleeding from the stomach, anemia, to check after gastric surgery to detect stomach cancer, black bowel movements, with possible polyps in the stomach and with swallowed foreign bodies.


Gastroscopy is not only used for diagnosis, it can also be used for treatments, especially:

1) Endoscopic hemostasis
2) The removal of tumors of the mucous membrane in the stomach and duodenum
3) With narrowing of the esophagus
4) To remove swallowed foreign objects

What do you have to avoid?

The stomach must be empty when having a gastroscopy, so you should not eat or drink at least six hours beforehand.

This also applies to cigarettes: nicotine promotes the production of gastric juice.

Did you get a sedative medicine? Then do not drive a car, motorcycle or bicycle for 24 hours and do not walk on busy streets.

If you organize important appointments so that they are not immediately after the mirroring, make sure that someone accompanies you if you feel the after-effects of the anesthetic.

How does gastroscopy work?

If necessary or desired, the doctor will numb the throat with a spray before treatment to avoid possible nausea. Patients can also take a sedative.

The patient lies on the left side of the body. The doctor now introduces the gastroscope through the mouth into the esophagus and from there into the stomach and duodenum. Although this does not cause pain, some patients experience an oppressive feeling.

Air is now blown in, the stomach unfolds, the doctor sees it and can now perform therapeutic interventions or take a tissue sample.

Possible complications

Complications from gastroscopy are extremely rare. This includes injuries in the digestive tract, disorders of the heart rhythm and pneumonia, as well as breathing difficulties.

A harmless side effect is much more common. Blowing in the air to develop the stomach can cause flatulence.

How long does the examination / treatment take?

The examination itself takes approximately five minutes, including tissue samples, from which the condition of the gastric mucosa can be seen. Extended examinations at the stomach entrance or duodenum also take a few minutes. If the patient has to choke, this delays the process.

Anyone who can be put under anesthesia should plan for half an hour of rest.


Gastroscopy is not painful; however, some patients feel uncomfortable feeling a foreign body in their stomach.

Although such concerns are unfounded, specialists in gastroenterology usually put the patient under general anesthesia for five minutes. Then you will not notice the entire treatment. Anesthesia is also used for treatment, because the doctors can work in peace.

Without general anesthesia, there is a slight pressure when the tube is in the stomach and the doctors move it to get a complete picture of the stomach.

Propofol, which works in half a minute and breaks down via the liver in less than eight minutes, is usually used as the narcotic. However, anyone who is allergic to chicken egg white, soy protein and sulfur must not consume it. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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ICD codes for this disease: K31ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

Video: First Aid for Acidity (December 2022).