Are those abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting, making your life miserable? You are most probably suffering from an infection known as gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis can hit anyone and when it does, you will be making a dash to the bathroom and rolling on your bed with stomach cramps and simultaneously trying to combat that horrible queasy feeling. Also known as stomach flu, gastroenteritis can sap you out and leave you feeling miserable. The OTC products can alleviate some of the symptoms, but also can prolong the recovery. That is why you should try some test home remedies for gastroenteritis. Not only will they make you feel better, but these will also help treat the underlying cause.
What Causes Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is a bacterial or parasitic infection that you can get by eating contaminated food. The condition causes the gastrointestinal tract to inflame. This is accompanied by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Usually, gastroenteritis heals on its own, but there is always a cause for worry because the frequent vomiting and diarrhea can result in dehydration.
Symptoms of Gastroenteritis:
Your symptoms will manifest within two to three days of contracting the infection. Usually, gastroenteritis lasts for about 10 days and the symptoms can often be confused with those of flu. While there are some similarities in the symptoms, gastroenteritis adversely affects your gastrointestinal tract and not your respiratory system.
Some of the symptoms you will get with gastroenteritis include:
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach cramps
- Loose, runny stools (diarrhea)
- Body pain
- Low-grade fever
Home Remedies for Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis can really bring you down. When you are struck, you will automatically stop eating heavy foods and stick to drinking lots of liquids and getting bed rest. This is sensible, but you can hasten your recovery by also incorporating some home remedies. You will be knocked out for three to four days, but will feel much better with natural remedies that you most probably have in your kitchen.
Here are the top 25 home remedies for gastroenteritis that you can mix and match if you somehow end up with stomach flu.
1. Bed Rest:
There is no doubt that the best form of treatment for gastroenteritis is bed rest. You should be looking to stay in bed the whole day, as you will feel weak and wobbly due to frequent purging and diarrhea. Of course, you will not make it out of the house due to the diarrhea and vomiting, but that is a different story altogether.
2. Homemade Electrolyte:
To avoid dehydration, you should be drinking an electrolyte formulation. You can make this at home. Dissolve five teaspoons of sugar in a glass of water. Add a pinch of salt and stir well. You can make the taste more palatable by squeezing a lemon into it. Keep sipping this drink to replace the lost fluids and minerals.
3. Ice Pack:
You can ease your discomfort by applying an ice pack on your stomach and throat. With gastroenteritis, you will have stomach cramps and the vomiting may make your throat feel raw and sore. The ice pack will not only take away the discomfort, it also will provide relief from the frequent vomiting. Do not let the ice pack stay for more than 20 minutes on your stomach or throat.
4. Baking Soda:
Baking soda is known for its anti-bacterial property. You can consume it to ease the infection. Mix a pinch of baking soda in a glass of clean water. Sip the water periodically to soothe your gastrointestinal tract and get relief from the symptoms.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It also works as a mild sedative and can relax you, which can be heaven when you are worked up and stressed out due to your illness. You can drink chamomile tea to get relief. In case you are allergic to it, you can get the same effects with ragweed tea, but drink this tea with caution. Do not over use these natural remedies for gastroenteritis.
Mint has been used for centuries to cure several stomach ailments. You can use catnip, as it is freely available in North America. Alternatively, you can use peppermint, wintergreen, lemon balm or spearmint which is part of the mint family. Mint has antimicrobial properties and can relax you. It also is antispasmodic and mildly sedative. Make mild mint tea and sip it slowly to ease the symptoms of gastroenteritis. Brew the tea and consume with a teaspoon of honey, as honey too has antibacterial properties.
Acidic fruits are not advised on your diet when you have a stomach ailment. The lemon is an exception. Try drinking a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice added to a glass of water. Lemon juice can eliminate the pathogens causing your diarrhea. It also is rich in Vitamin C, which will help boost your immunity, so that your body can fight more effectively against the stomach flu.
There is scientific evidence to show that green and ripe bananas can stop diarrhea. This fruit is easy to digest and can help provide your body with vital magnesium and potassium which are required to maintain electrolyte balance in your body and help in proper functioning of the heart.
9. Broths and Soups:
Since you should not be looking to eat solids when you are down with gastroenteritis, the best way to replace loss of fluids and do away with weakness is to consume nourishing broths and soups. These are comfort foods that will make you feel better not just physically, but also emotionally. Add a pinch of salt to your broth, as it will help replenish the electrolytes you lose due to diarrhea and vomiting.
10. Rice Water:
Cook some rice in a deep-bottom pan. Strain and set the water aside to cool. Drink a cup of rice water every hour to help ease the effects of diarrhea. You can make the rice water tastier by adding a little bit of powdered cinnamon and honey. If you are suffering from nausea, use powdered ginger instead of cinnamon.
Stay away from fresh apples, as they can aggravate your diarrhea. Instead, eat some applesauce, one of the effective gastroenteritis remedies. The sauce contains pectin, which is a water-soluble fiber and helps retain water and bulk up the stool, thereby reducing diarrhea.
12. Toast and Crackers:
If your stomach is heaving and you want the nausea to abate, try eating dry toast and crackers. Once your stomach is settled, you will be able to consume broths, soups and herbal teas that will hasten your recovery.
Turmeric has been used for a long time in Asian cultures for its antibacterial and healing properties. Add a pinch of turmeric to your soup or rice water and it will help to destroy the bacteria causing your gastroenteritis.
For some people, the strong, pungent odor of garlic may exacerbate the nausea and vomiting. However, if you can take the odor, you will benefit from garlic’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It will soothe your stomach and bowels and provide relief from the persistent cramps. Chop up a clove of fresh garlic and add it to a teaspoon of honey. Munch and swallow.
15. Natural Yogurt:
Your sore and inflamed gastrointestinal tract needs good bacteria to heal quickly and resume normal digestion. You can provide it with good bacteria by consuming natural yogurt. You can improve the flavor by adding applesauce, blueberries and/or bananas in the yogurt. You can add honey if you like.
For centuries people have been using dried blueberries to ease diarrhea in kids. It has a high level of fiber and antioxidants. Blueberries contain a compound called anthocyanoside, which can kill E. coli bacteria, which are known to cause several stomach infections. Blueberries also help to retain water and bulk up stool to reduce the frequency of diarrhea.
17. Hot Water Bag:
If you are experiencing extreme pain and cramps, you can get relief by applying a hot water bag on your abdomen. It will provide temporary relief, but those moments of relief will seem like a blessing!
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can ease nausea. Make mild ginger tea and sweeten it with a bit of honey. Honey has antibacterial properties that will help to destroy bacteria causing the gastroenteritis. Sip this slowly to get relief. You can also chew a fresh piece of ginger root to alleviate the nausea. If you can lay your hands on ginger ale made from real ginger, drink it.
19. Rooibos Tea:
Also known as red tea, Rooibos tea can soothe your gastrointestinal tract and provide relief from cramps. Brew the tea and let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes before consuming it lukewarm with some honey.
20. Tender Coconut Water:
Find a tender coconut, and drink the water inside. This liquid is filled with vital nutrients and salts that will prevent dehydration. Try sipping the coconut water at regular intervals to make it easy on your stomach.
21. Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds have the ability to absorb water and bulk up your stool, thereby easing diarrhea. Mix the seeds in some natural yogurt and let it sit for a while. You will notice the seeds developing a gelatinous layer. When this happens, you can consume the yogurt or make a smoothie with a banana and drink it.
22. Caraway Seed Tea:
Once your nausea and vomiting is under control, you can eat some caraway seeds to ease the abdominal pain and cramps. Soak one tablespoon of the seeds in a cup of boiling water. Cover and let it stand for about 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Be sure to sip the tea slowly.
Marjoram is another herb that you can use to ease the pain in your stomach and muscles. Take a teaspoon of fresh marjoram and steep it in a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Drink marjoram tea three times a day for best results.
24. Lemon Grass:
The aromatic oils in lemon grass have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. You can make use of these properties to ease your discomfort. Soak lemon grass in boiling water. Be sure to cover the cup to retain the aromatic oils. Wait for three minutes. Dissolve honey in the lemon grass tea and strain. Drink it up for instant relief.
25. Apple Cider Vinegar:
As yucky and nauseating it may sound, you will be surprised how effective apple cider vinegar is in treating your gastroenteritis. It can ease the nausea and stem your vomiting. It also will get rid of gas and bloating. Mix two teaspoons of the vinegar in a glass of water and drink. The diluted apple cider vinegar starts acting pronto and you will feel much better within 15 to 20 minutes.
Points to Remember:
It is necessary to stay away from solids when you are nauseated and vomiting. The key is to first get control over your nausea and diarrhea before you begin eating. So stick to consuming broths, electrolyte drinks and herbal teas. Once the diarrhea and vomiting stops, you should take it easy. You will be famished and may go overboard. Stick to simple, fat-free diet, such as toast, soup, crackers, plain cooked rice and yogurt. This will give your gastrointestinal tract an opportunity to heal and recover.
Also, do not look to consume milk and fruit juices when you are suffering from gastroenteritis. The sugar and lactic acid in these beverages will irritate your stomach even further and worsen your symptoms.
Once your diarrhea and vomiting abate, you can ease your sore and tired muscles by soaking in a warm bath or taking a warm shower. It will refresh you and also soothe your aching muscles. Try not to take a bath while having diarrhea, as the hot water will work as a muscle relaxant and you could end up messing up your bathtub.
If your symptoms linger for more than 2 to 3 days, even after trying these gastroenteritis home remedies, it is important to consult a doctor. You could be putting yourself at unnecessary risk if you do not do this. Also, if you are taking prescription medication, do not try these home remedies without speaking to your doctor. The remedies for gastroenteritis could interfere with the effectiveness of the medications or result in undesirable interactions.