What to Do When You Have an Upset Tummy

An upset stomach is a reaction to some form of irritation or invasion in the digestive system.

Your upset stomach might include nausea, pain, vomiting, diarrhea or general stomach discomfort. If your upset stomach doesn't go away on its own, treatment options help deal with both the symptoms and the cause of the stomach problem.


Any symptoms you experience along with your upset stomach help you determine the cause of the problem and how to treat it.

If you experience more severe symptoms, you could have something more than a simple stomachache.

Track the other symptoms you experience and treat them as long as they don't become more severe. Other symptoms that might accompany the upset stomach include abdominal pains, cramping, fever or a sore throat.

Dietary Changes


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Changes to your diet help relieve the upset stomach symptoms and help your body recover. If vomiting accompanies your upset stomach, take small sips of water, sports drinks, broth or other clear liquid until the vomiting passes. For severe upset stomach, stick with a bland diet of easily digested foods until you begin feeling better. The BRAT diet is often recommended for an upset stomach. The letters stand for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, all of which are bland and easy on the stomach. Add other bland foods as you feel comfortable, including crackers, broth soups, potatoes without butter or bland poultry.

Avoid foods that are likely to upset your stomach again like fried foods, greasy food, spicy foods and most dairy products. Yogurt and cottage cheese may help you stomach feel better, but milk, cheese and ice cream are likely to upset your stomach more.


Over-the-counter medications are an option to soothe an upset stomach.

Bismuth subsalicylate is a medication that helps relieve diarrhea and some other stomach discomforts. Loperamide hydrochloride is another active ingredient that helps with loose bowel movements.

If you also have general aches or pains, a dose of acetaminophen may help relieve the pain. Call your doctor before taking the stomach medications if you are currently taking any prescription medications to ensure there are no drug interactions.

Medical Attention


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An upset stomach typically goes away on its own, but if the symptoms persist or you experience other severe symptoms, consult with your physician. Particularly worrisome symptoms include blood in the stools or vomit, decreased urination, fever of 102 F or higher that doesn't go away with acetaminophen or severe abdominal pain that doesn't subside. If you have diarrhea or vomiting and it doesn't go away in 24 to 48 hours, contact your doctor.