Indigestion is not actually an illness, but rather a general term for a set of symptoms that can cause you lots of discomfort.
The most common among these symptoms is sakit sa tiyan (stomachache), which can also be an indication of a more serious condition in your digestive system, such as gastroenteritis, peptic ulcer, and bato sa apdo (gallstones). Other common symptoms of indigestion include feeling full or bloated long after eating, a burning sensation in the upper abdomen, and nausea. In some cases, indigestion also manifests as frequent belching and vomiting.
Known as impatso in the vernacular, indigestion is typically caused by overeating, anxiety, and the intake of too much greasy, acidic, and spicy food.
That said, indigestion is for the most part harmless and it can be eased by the following home remedies:
1. Drink Water
Dehydration causes a myriad of health problems, one of them being indigestion. The reason being is that the lack of water in the body makes digestion extremely difficult, thus leading to indigestion.
The simple solution to this is to drink plenty of water — at least 2.7 liters for adult women and around 3.7 liters for adult men (and slightly less for kids). This way, you not only ease your indigestion but also avoid other dehydration-related issues such as headache, dizziness, and lethargy.
2. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Another common cause of indigestion is a decreased level of stomach acid, which then makes digestion difficult. Drinking apple cider vinegar can remedy this situation. That said, never take apple cider vinegar straight as its acidity might damage your throat, esophagus, and stomach. Instead, dilute a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in half a cup of warm water and add a teaspoon or more of honey to sweeten the mixture a bit. Then, drink it right before eating or even after.
If it is your first time drinking apple cider vinegar, drink only small amounts to check how your body will react. When there are no adverse reactions, like an upset stomach or a burning sensation, then you can start drinking more as needed. In addition, it is best to drink the solution using a straw because its acidity might damage your pearly whites.
While many make use of apple cider vinegar as a home remedy, it should be noted that it hasn’t been scientifically proven to be effective for any type of treatment.
3. Drink Lemon Water
Too much stomach acid is a common cause of indigestion, and you can neutralize it by drinking lemon water. Lemon in itself is acidic. But when mixed with water, it can have an alkalizing effect once digested. This simply means that lemon water can lower the acidity in your digestive system, thereby easing indigestion. It can even improve digestion.
To make lemon water, squeeze out from a tablespoon of lemon juice and mix it with eight ounces of either hot or cold water. Ideally, drink this mixture some 20 minutes before a meal to minimize your risk of indigestion. If possible, drink it using a straw to keep the acidic juice from touching your teeth and potentially damaging the enamel.
4. Drink Water-Baking Soda Mix
Like lemon water, a mixture of water and baking soda can also neutralize the adverse effects of too much stomach acid, making it an effective remedy for indigestion. To make this mixture, mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with four ounces of warm water. Then, drink it the moment you feel the symptoms of indigestion.
While this mixture is an effective remedy for indigestion, do not drink too much of it as doing so can cause some side effects like diarrhea, muscle spasms, constipation, irritability, and even vomiting.
A good rule of thumb: Drink 7 glasses only of this solution in a 24-hour period, but make sure that you do so at 2-hour intervals. Kids and seniors should drink less — ideally around 2–3 glasses only and with longer intervals in between.
5. Consume Ginger
Ginger is a great remedy for indigestion since it reduces stomach acid. You can drink ginger water to ease the symptoms of indigestion.
To make ginger water, boil some ginger root in approximately three cups of water and then add some flavor, such as lemon juice or a sweetener (e.g., honey). Alternatively, you can make ginger tea using commercially available ginger powder, drinking ginger ale, or by dissolving ginger candy.
Take note to limit your ginger intake to 4 grams at the most because consuming more might lead to gas, heartburn, and throat burn.
6. Take a Warm Bath or Apply Heat
If your stomachache is causing much discomfort, try to warm yourself up by either taking a warm bath or applying a heating bag on your abdomen. The reason this remedy works is because heat relaxes tense muscles, thus alleviating the pain. This soothing effect also helps ease most of the other symptoms of indigestion, like nausea and that feeling of being full.
For the most part, the home remedies above would suffice in easing your indigestion. But if the symptoms persist or worsen over time, get in touch with a doctor right away as there might be a serious underlying condition that must be treated immediately.