Also known as dyspepsia, the burning sensation in the stomach is a very common occurrence. Reports show that one out of four people suffer from dyspepsia at least once in their lifetimes. You can use OTC medications to relieve the burning. If the sensation is severe or persistent, you will need evaluation followed by treatment from your doctor.
Dyspepsia symptoms include burning pain or gnawing, heartburn, burping, lack of appetite, vomiting and nausea. The symptoms can either be consistent, occasional, or occur after a meal.
Causes of Burning Sensation in Stomach
A burning stomach pain can be a sign of problems occurring inside your stomach; problems like inflammation, alcohol abuse, gastritis, excess production of acid which causes ulcers or heartburn in your stomach's lining and overeating. The Mayo clinic states that about 10% of all Americans suffer from ulcers at one point in their life. Stomach cancer, which is most common in the elderly folks (The University of Maryland Medical Center statistics), can also cause burning stomach pain. Drugs known to irritate the lining of your stomach like anti-inflammatory medicines and aspirin can also cause the burning pain.
1. H. pylori Infection
This is a bacterium that could be responsible for the burning sensation you feel in your stomach. This is a common bacterial infection, and it breaks down the protective lining of your stomach.
You need to seek medical attention if you fear the burning sensations in your stomach could have been caused by this bacterium. You physician can treat you using a blend of proton-pump inhibitors and antibiotics.
2. Food Allergy
You will know that the burning sensation you feel is caused by food allergy if the sensation comes soon after you have eaten. If you are allergic to some foods, chances are that you feel the burning sensation once you have eaten these foods. Other people will feel this sensation when they eat food that has been contaminated. In such a case, it will be accompanied by fever, vomiting diarrhea etc.
If the allergic reactions are minor then prescribed or OTC antihistamines will ease the symptoms. If it is severe, your doctor may prescribe an emergency epinephrine injection. You can also try oral immunotherapy but consult your doctor first.
3. Stomach Ulcers
This can be open sores found in your stomach's inner lining. Once the stomach acid comes in contact with the sores, it causes a painful burning sensation. Most people with stomach ulcers get pain at night because that is the time when the stomach is empty.
Depending on the type of ulcers, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics and medications that will block production of acid thus promote healing to the open sores. Other than that, you should start eating small meals more frequently, avoid foods that will irritate your stomach, drink moderate alcohol and manage/reduce your stress levels.
4. Gastroenteritis/Stomach Flu
This is stomach infection, and it can either be viral or bacterial. This condition is characterized by inflammation of your stomach. When you eat food or water that has been contaminated, you are most likely to end up with stomach flu.
Try solutions for oral hydration like Pedialyte. You can also take water in small sips, eat foods that are easily digestible, get lots of rest and avoid solid foods to allow the stomach to settle. If you have constant sleepiness/fatigue, notice blood in your vomit or stool, have a fever of over 101 degrees, have lower-right abdominal pain and are dehydrated, seek immediate medical attention.
5. Excessive Stomach Acid
If you have been experiencing stomach burning sensation, chances are that it has been caused by excess acid in your stomach. The acid in the stomach is usually more than the foods that need digestion.
You can try some OTC medications to relieve the sensation. Your doctor can also prescribe some medications that will reduce the acid production levels. Some of the medications are Axid, Pepcid and Zantac.
6. Medication Reaction
By frequently taking anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal drugs (NSAIDs) for pain or headaches, you may be unknowingly increasing your chances of developing gastritis, a condition that can cause the burning sensation you feel in your stomach. Ibuprofen and aspirin are such NSAIDs, and as such should be taken only occasionally. If the pain you experience is frequent, consult your doctor for other options for pain-relief.
Different digestive problems have been associated with stress. If you are stressed, your digestive system is unable to function properly. Stress also has the ability to cause the release of acid in your stomach causing the burning sensation.
Try techniques used to relieve stress. Some of them are meditation, exercise and yoga. Adequate sleep, regular exercise and having healthy meals will eventually reduce your stress levels.
8. Other Causes
Non-ulcer dyspepsia, underlying problems with your health, radiation and chemotherapy sessions can also cause the burning sensation in your stomach. Substances like smoking and alcohol also aggravate the problem.
Remedies for Burning Sensation in Stomach
- Thyme Tea: to treat flatulence. It reduces the mucosal lining swelling alleviating the burning sensation and pain brought about by reflux of acid. Boil one teaspoon of thyme then drink the water twice each day.
- Plain Foods: to help neutralize your digestive acids. Plain foods are easily digestible and do not need extra acid to be broken down. Eat boiled rice and green vegetables without adding spices or a lot of oil.
- Ginger: it reduces intestinal inflammation, soothes burning and irritation and also releases any trapped gases. You can drink it in tea or chew it.
- Peppermint: it eases stomach muscles relieving gas problems, treats cramps and cools burning caused by reflux of acid. Make peppermint tea and drink twice daily.
- Yogurt/Buttermilk: eases discomfort brought about by the burning sensation in your stomach. Eat and/or drink buttermilk and yogurt twice daily.
- Honey: treats intestinal lesions, UTIs and other acidity problems. Eat one teaspoon daily or mix it with cinnamon for additional benefits.
- Soothing Fruits: they soothe the burning sensation and treat acidity and heartburn. Eat lots of fruits like bananas and watermelons daily.
- Chamomile: is used to ease tensed muscles in your intestines and also contains sedative effects. Take chamomile tea daily.
- Coconut Water: it soothes irritated linings of the intestines giving it instant relief. Also energizes your body. Drink some coconut water two times each day until the symptoms subside.
- Exercise: take walks in the park or jog around the block to relieve stress.