How to Deal with a Stomach Ache

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The stomach is one of the most vindictive organs.

Despite being well into my 20s, I still have my youthful metabolism. My stomach can process just about anything I throw at it, and it naturally burns it all off pretty quickly. Even so, my stomach ain’t a blast furnace; sometimes, for one reason or another, something just doesn’t agree with me, and I end up with an old fashioned tummy ache. Stomach aches are one of the most common physical ailments, occasionally manifesting as a sign of something more serious, but usually just existing as a fun little gripe in itself. If you’ve got a stomach ache, there’s a few ways you can make it a little easier on yourself.

First, drink a lot of water. Whatever it is in your stomach that’s making it do backflips, your body needs water to process it. Dehydration can make the process take much longer, not to mention more painful if your stomach ache is accompanied by bowel problems. Women should try to drink around 91 ounces of water a day, while men should get around 125.

Next, try not to lay down. I know, laying down is one of your first instincts when you’re not feeling well, but placing your body sideways can churn up your stomach acid, which could make your ache even worse. If you can’t stand up straight, then make sure to sit up with your upper body propped at at least a 30 degree angle.

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Finally, eat simple, easy-to-digest foods. Your stomach’s busy enough trying to figure out the present you left it; don’t give it extra work. Good candidates include bananas, applesauce, toast, and rice, a quartet collectively known as the “BRAT” diet. These foods will give you your important nutrition for the day without overburdening your digestive system.

Most innocuous stomach aches will go away on their own after a few hours. If it lasts longer than a day, you may have something a little more serious, so talk to your doctor.