A burning sensation in stomach is a condition that afflicts many people, and it has a number of causes and a few possible home remedies. Very often, stomach burning is accompanied by pain, tiredness, and stress. Some of the causes of stomach burning can be ulcers, certain foods, indigestion (dyspepsia), as well as long term use of NSAIDs.
In this article, I will look at the many causes of a burning sensation in stomach as well as the many natural remedies to help you treat and prevent this painful condition.
The Stomach – Facts and Functions
The stomach is a bean-shaped muscular organ located on the left side of the upper abdomen. The stomach secrets acids and enzymes that break down the food so that it can continue on its journey through the digestive system. As it secretes acid and enzymes, the stomach muscles contract in a process called peristalsis to mix the food with the acid and enzymes. When the contents of the stomach are sufficiently processed, they are released into the small intestine.
What Causes Stomach Burning?
Indigestion (or sometimes called dyspepsia) is one of the most common reasons for a burning stomach and it is also one of the causes of gas and bloating, pain under ribs as well as hard stomach. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that indigestion can cause burning in the upper abdomen and can cause a person to feel overly full after a meal.
Indigestion can be caused by other digestive problems like a peptic ulcer or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, the cause of indigestion in some people remains unclear, and this is called non-ulcer (functional) dyspepsia.
To prevent the burning feeling in your belly from indigestion, Dr. William Blahd on WebMD recommends eating smaller meals more frequently. It can also help to avoid acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits as well as caffeinated drinks.
Acid Reflux / GERD
Acid reflux (often referred to as heartburn) can also cause a burning sensation in the upper abdomen. Although both indigestion and heartburn cause a burning sensation and sour stomach, they are not the same condition. Heartburn occurs when the juices from the stomach go back up the esophagus can cause a mild to severe burning sensation.
Dr. Melinda Ratini on WebMD says that heartburn causes a burning pain from the stomach to the middle of the chest and sometimes also in the throat.
GERD is similar to acid reflux, but a more severe form of reflux. GERD also causes a burning sensation in the stomach and chest, but the symptoms can include food coming back into the mouth, coughing, and wheezing.
In rare cases, GERD is also one of the causes of pain in the underarm area.
As with heartburn, doctors recommend eating smaller meals frequently and avoiding acidic foods. You should also avoid lying down after a meal and exercising.
At the end of the article, you can find some home remedies on how to relieve the symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, and GERD.
Although stress doesn’t directly cause burning sensation in the abdomen, it can aggravate health conditions that cause a burning stomach as well as stomach spasms.
Various studies have shown that stress can make the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion worse. For example, the Cleveland Clinic reports that indigestion gets worse during times of stress and that eating during stressful situations causes indigestion.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology studied the relationship between stress and GERD and found that reflux (when the acid comes back up the esophagus) was more severe when the patients were under stress.
Managing stress is an effective way to get a relief from a burning sensation in your tummy. If you are interested in effective ways to deal with stress, please read my article on natural remedies for stress and anxiety.
Stress can also aggravate ulcers – another cause of a burning sensation in the stomach.
Ulcers very often cause burning in the stomach. The University of Maryland says that ulcers can cause abdominal pain with a burning or gnawing sensation. They are usually caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, not spicy foods or stress.
If you have an ulcer, the University of Maryland recommends eating fiber-rich foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Also, foods like onions, garlic, cranberries, and tea can inhibit the growth of H.pylori. It is also important to reduce stress.
You can also use my natural remedies for Helicobacter pylori as well as drinking cabbage juice to treat ulcers.
Do Spicy Foods Cause Stomach Burning?
Many people assume that spicy foods cause burning in the stomach and should be avoided by people who have ulcers, heartburn, and indigestion.
Some studies show that capsaicin, the compound that makes chilies spicy, can cause people to experience more heartburn and can cause a sense of burning in the stomach. Spicy foods can also cause burning in the anal area.
However, some people with heartburn and indigestion can eat spicy foods without feeling any burning. Gastroenterologist, Dr. Lauren B. Gerson says that he recommends that people with heartburn and GERD look for connections with the foods they eat and their symptoms and then avoid those foods.
At the end of the article, you will find a surprising way to use cayenne pepper to help reduce stomach burning that is caused by ulcers and heartburn.
Long-term Use of NSAIDs
The long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause peptic ulcers, which in turn can cause burning in the abdomen. Some of the most common NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
Dr. Michael W. Smith on WebMD says that the long-term use of NSAIDs can cause heartburn, stomach pain, and stomach ulcers.
There are, however, many effective natural alternatives to NSAIDs that you can use to reduce inflammation in the body. Some are mentioned in the treatments section of this article.
A hiatus hernia can cause a burning feeling in the stomach because it causes stomach acid to enter the esophagus (reflux). Dr. Tim Kenny on Patient.info says that the symptoms can be a burning feeling from the upper tummy to the chest.
Non-ulcer stomach pain
The Mayo Clinic describes a condition called non-ulcer stomach pain which can cause a burning sensation in your abdomen. The symptoms are similar to indigestion but with no obvious cause.
This condition is also called functional dyspepsia or non-ulcer dyspepsia.
Early signs of stomach cancer can be a burning sensation in the abdomen and heartburn. Of course, this is just one of many symptoms and usually, heartburn and a burning stomach are caused by less serious issues. You should visit your doctor if the burning sensation in the stomach is accompanied by unexplained weight loss, swelling of the abdomen, nausea, blood in vomit, or black-colored stool.
Home Remedies for Burning in the Stomach
There are many different home remedies to get rid of a burning sensation in your stomach.
Baking soda can help you get relief from a burning stomach if it is caused by indigestion or heartburn. It is one of the cheapest home remedies to reduce acid in the stomach.
For relief from a burning sensation in your stomach after meals, mix 1/2 tsp. baking soda in an 8 oz. glass of water and drink.
Ginger for indigestion
Ginger can help to improve indigestion and thus help you soothe the burning sensation in your stomach. Studies into ginger and ginger extracts show that it helps to improve digestive health and treat ulcers.
It is very easy to make ginger tea to help improve digestion. Chop or grate about 1-2 inch of fresh root ginger. Put in a cup of boiling water and leave covered for 10 minutes. Drink the ginger tea to soothe the burning feeling in your tummy.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice is used by many people to reduce the symptoms of heartburn. One study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine showed that aloe vera syrup showed positive results in reducing the symptoms of GERD.
To avoid a burning sensation after meals you should drink 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice 20 minutes before your meal. Or, if you have heartburn at other times, you can drink aloe vera juice for a quick relief and to soothe the burning sensation in the stomach.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar can help you avoid the burning sensation in the stomach from acid reflux. Rather than making the stomach more acidic, it is thought that ACV helps the body digest food better. This results in less reflux and burning in the abdomen.
Mix 1 to 2 tsp. of raw unprocessed ACV in a glass of water and take before meals to get a relief from a burning feeling in the stomach.
Probiotics can help to reduce stomach burning that is caused by digestive problems and ulcers.
Probiotics help to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive system. Studies into probiotics and ulcers caused by the H. pylori bacteria have shown promising results in treating and healing ulcers. Probiotics can also help reduce the effects of antibiotics on the digestive system.
You can take probiotics in the form of supplements to help boost your digestive system and prevent stomach burning.
Fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut are also sources of probiotics and can help soothe a burning feeling in the stomach. For example, drinking a glass of kefir or having some plain raw yogurt can often give instant relief from a burning stomach.
Cabbage juice has also helped heal peptic ulcers. One study showed that fresh cabbage juice cured patient with ulcers quicker that those who used traditional medication.
Potatoes have been used for centuries by people with digestive issues ranging from heartburn to indigestion. Potato juice can help your treat indigestion and peptic ulcers which can alleviate the pain caused by a burning stomach.
For more information, read my article about the health benefits of potato juice.
You may be surprised to learn that cayenne pepper can help reduce stomach burning that is caused by ulcers. Research has shown that the capsaicin in pepper can help reduce acid in the stomach and stimulates alkali which can help to prevent and heal ulcers. Capsaicin can help to kill off the H. pylori bacteria.20
Cayenne pepper can also help reduce burning in the tummy that is the result of taking NSAIDs. This is because research has also shown that it has anti-inflammatory properties which can help you reduce, or even eliminate the need for taking NSAIDs.
You can take cayenne pepper by mixing 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. in a cup of hot water. Let it steep for a few minutes with the cup covered. You can also add it to cooked foods. It’s important to remember that too much cayenne pepper can cause stomach irritation.