Feeling nauseous, throwing up, and having a stomach ache are all things most of us have endured and can attest to the discomfort of. Few sensations in life are as uncomfortable as vomiting. While an episode of tummy trouble here and there may be common and routine, there are times when you should pay more attention to the rumbling war that seems to be happening in your abdomen.
You can read about seven possible reasons for tummy trouble in this article, along with their possible remedies. Medications are linked to Canadian pharmacy referral service Rx Connected, a great resource for Americans to find affordable drugs from international and Canadian pharmacies that have met a stringent approval process.
- Gastroenteritis (“Stomach Flu”)
A common cause for tummy trouble is gastroenteritis. It’s commonly known as the “stomach flu,” but this condition has nothing to do with influenza. Instead, it’s usually caused by a virus called the norovirus. It only takes a small amount of this virus to get you sick and it’s highly contagious. You can get it through touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, or you can get it from contaminated drinking water and food. Symptoms of gastroenteritis include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. Make sure you drink plenty of water as you will be losing fluids through vomiting and diarrhea. Fortunately, most people can get over this illness in 1-3 days.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD or “Heartburn”)
GERD is another cause for digestion discomfort. This happens when the muscle at the end of your esophagus fails to close properly, letting stomach contents leak into your esophagus. This irritation is nicknamed “heartburn” because it’s an irritating sensation felt near where your heart should be. Not treating GERD can lead to complications, so make sure to speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing heartburn often. Otherwise, you can manage your symptoms by avoiding spicy and acidic food, alcohol, and any food that triggers GERD. Medications that may help with GERD include omeprazole and rabeprazole.
- Food Poisoning
Food poisoning can happen to anyone, but pregnant women, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. The CDC estimates that each year, 48 million people get sick with food poisoning and 3,000 die. Although your chance of a complication is relatively slim, if you believe your symptoms are severe, go seek medical help. To prevent food poisoning, wash your hands thoroughly, separate raw food from cooked food, cook your food to the appropriate temperature, and store food that needs to be chilled in a refrigerator set to 40F or lower.
- Morning Sickness
It’s a common trope in movies. A female character starts vomiting out of nowhere and then learns that she is pregnant! We’re not quite certain what causes morning sickness (or hyperemesis gravidarum) but scientists speculate it has to do with the hormonal changes going on in a pregnant woman’s body. Morning sickness is also not restricted to the morning. It begins at about weak 4 or 5 and peaks at about week 9. However, if you’re pregnant and your morning sickness is severe (you’re vomiting several times a day and feeling miserable), talk to your doctor to make sure you and your baby are safe.
- Peptic Ulcers
Peptic ulcers are sores in the lining of your stomach or duodenum (the first part of your small intestine) and are caused by stomach acid damage. Symptoms of peptic ulcers include burning pain in the stomach, generally beginning between meals or at night, lasting minutes to hours, and coming and going over days or weeks. Peptic ulcers are often caused by an infection of Helicobacter pylori. Another cause is excessive use of NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Tests to determine whether you have an infection include blood, breath, and stool tests, as well as endoscopy or X-ray. The bacteria infection can be treated by an antibiotic. Excessive stomach acid can be treated by medications like esomeprazole and dexlansoprazole.
- Lactose Intolerance
People with lactose intolerance cannot properly digest foods with lactose, a sugar commonly found in dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Lactose intolerance is generally not serious; you just have to avoid certain foods. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods! You can take over-the-counter lactase pills to offset your symptoms before eating a big scoop of ice cream, for example.
Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed by a simple blood, breath, or stool test. You can also try cutting out dairy products in your diet to see if it makes a difference to your symptoms; that should give you an idea of whether you’re sensitive to lactose or not.
- You had too much fun last night
It’s almost a rite of passage in Western culture for young people to drink excessively to the point of throwing up. Uncomfortable tummy sensations can persist until the next day. Unfortunately, popular “hangover cures” like drinking coffee are not scientifically proven to work. The best you can do is wait out the hangover and drink plenty of water.
In addition to the specific medications listed above, many over-the-counter drugs like calcium carbonate (TUMS®) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) do a good job making tummy trouble symptoms easier to deal with. If you’re about to go on a long journey, taking dimenhydrinate (GRAVOL™) might help. On the natural front, people have claimed ginger relieves nausea and vomiting. If you have underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications, be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before buying an over-the-counter drug, supplement, or herb – you don’t want negative medical interactions to cause even worse tummy troubles!