Seven ways to calm your upset stomach

Maybe youve just eaten, or finished a meal an hour or so ago and now your stomach just doesnt feel right. You feel bloated and uncomfortable. Or maybe its more of a burning sensation. Maybe you feel queasy, or even throw up. You might say you have an upset stomach or indigestion. If there is no known medical cause for your symptoms, your doctor would call itdyspepsia or bad digestion.

Indigestion is real. The medical term for persistent upper abdominal pain or discomfort without an identifiable medical cause is functional dyspepsia. Eating often triggers symptoms of functional dyspepsia. Sometimes the discomfort begins during the meal, other times about half an hour later. It tends to come and go in spurts over a period of about three months. One of the annoying things about functional dyspepsia is that a medical work up often finds no physical or anatomical cause for it.

If you suffer from functional dyspepsia, youre not alone. Roughly 25% of thepopulation is affected, and it hits men and women equally. Its responsible for a significant percentage of visits to primary care doctors; in part because many people worry they might have an ulcer. Its a reasonable concern, given that 10% of Americans develop a peptic ulcer at some time in their lives. While its frustrating that the cause of functional dyspepsia is unknown, its even more frustrating that there is no surefire cure.

The good news is that there are simple things you can try to help get some relief.

1.     Avoid foods that trigger your symptoms.

2.     Eat small portions and dont overeat; try eating smaller, more frequent meals and be sure to chew food slowly and completely.

3.     Avoid activities that result in swallowing excess air, such as smoking, eating quickly, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages.

4.     Reduce your stress. Try relaxation therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or exercise. An aerobic workout 3-5 times per week can help, but dont exercise right after eating.

5.     Get enough rest.

6.     Dont lie down within two hours of eating.

7.     Keep your weight under control.

[SOURCE: Harvard Medical School]