Everyone has had a stomach ache. It's as ubiquitous a condition as a runny nose. Most of us have learned to live with them; stomach aches have just become a part of life. But if there was something you could do to get rid of them, wouldn't you do it? What if it meant giving something up? Something like your weekly appointment with the China Buffet up the street? Would it really be worth it? I don't know; that's for you to decide. But considering that other than the pleasure derived from eating all of those different flavors, and the occasional bits of nutrients that sneak in with the MSG and peanut oil, you're not doing yourself any favors in eating that crap.
That being said, I eat at places like that as often as I can afford it. I commit this foul act of hypocrisy because I am willing to suffer the inevitable stomach ache once in a while just for the feeling of a cream cheese won-ton in my mouth. And actually, the stomach ache that follows is usually deterrence enough to keep me away for a week or two anyway—so it all works out. Getting rid of those stomach aches is going to require a little bit of control on your part and also some observational skills to figure out what it is that is causing them in the first place.
Getting Rid of Stomach Aches
Changing your diet can help to get rid of stomach aches. If you visit a buffet and don't leave with a stomach ache, then you didn't get your money's worth. That's a joke, but sadly, it seems to be a lot of people's mantra these days. Overeating, especially of greasy, fried, rich foods is the most common cause of stomach aches. We all know it is going to happen, why do we do it to ourselves? Try to practice portion control, and also try to be aware of which foods have a negative effect on your digestive system—then avoid them!
Over-the-counter antacids can help reduce indigestion. Products like Tums, Maalox, and Pepto-bismol work by counteracting excessive acid production in your stomach with basic neutralizing substances. These are good for temporary relief; for a more long-term solution, look into H2 antagonist drugs or proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec. These work by reducing the amount of acid released by the stomach tissues. All of the above will help get rid of that icky feeling in your stomach.
Using an anti-flatulent can reduce gas pains. If it is impossible for you to avoid eating things that you know cause gas, you should try taking an antiflatulent like Beano or Gas-x. A lot of stomach aches are actually just gas pains. These can be caused by excessive intestinal gas or a build up of gas behind constipated blockages. Whatever the case, sometimes it feels as if you are going to die; if there is a way to prevent that, why not use it?
Eating more fiber can help to get rid of stomach aches. Soluble fiber (found in legumes, grains, and some fruits and veggies), is an important addition to any diet. It changes the conditions of your intestines, allowing things to move better. It also can affect the way our bodies absorb cholesterol, which is a nice bonus. Insoluble fiber (found in whole grains, flax seeds, and nuts), helps to bulk up and soften stool. All of which minimizes constipation problems, which in turn will help you to keep stomach aches away.
Reducing stress and activity can help improve stomach health. Don't be in such a hurry; don't eat and run. Giving your stomach some time to do its job before you move on to some kind of stressful activity will do a lot to help cut down on stomach aches. If you are feeling like you have a stomach ache coming on, whether caused by gas, constipation, or over-eating, taking some time to relax in a semi-inclined, seated position will help to get things going. Another restful option that I prefer includes some lavender bubble-bath soap and about an hour immersed in hot water.
A Glass of Warm Milk? Thanks, but no thanks...
Around 75% of adults start to lose the ability to digest lactose (the sugars in milk) as we age. This loss of digestive function is pretty rare amongst Northern Europeans (5%), but very common in Asian and African populations (up to 90%). This attests to the dependence the ancestors of those cultures had on herd animals and their milk.
People who do not have the enzyme lactase present in their stomach flora suffer from horrible stomach aches. The milk sugars should be broken down before reaching the intestines, but as they are arriving there intact, and then they ferment, forming large amounts of intestinal gas. This leads to bloating, cramps, and profound flatulence.
Avoidance is the obvious, albeit difficult, option. But there are some other things you can do as well. Lactose-free milk is available, along with Lact-aid milk, which has the needed enzymes included in its contents. Soy, rice, and almond milks are other possibilities. Harder cheeses, real sour cream, and yogurt will be more tolerable than other versions of the products. Butter is fairly safe as Lactose is water soluble and butter is mostly fat.
Personal experience with mild lactose intolerance has taught me that just avoiding it when I can saves me a lot of trouble. I never liked drinking milk anyway—but cheese, oh blessed cheese, I think about you daily.