Let’s imagine for a moment that you’ve gone out for burgers and beer (or nachos and margs, if you’re like me) with friends and had a blast. You come home to chill, and a couple hours later, your stomach feels all sorts of out-of-whack. It’s not necessarily a “run to the bathroom” kind of feeling, but more like a bloated, burp-y feeling in your upper abdomen and chest.

It’s likely you’re dealing with a case of indigestion—which is just another word for an upset stomach. It usually comes with symptoms like intense fullness or pain in your upper abdomen, a burning sensation in your stomach, bloating, burping, nausea, gas, or diarrhea, per Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Experts In This Article

While occasional indigestion isn’t usually cause for concern, it can feel pretty uncomfortable. Is there anything you can do to make the problem go away ASAP? Thankfully, you’ve got a couple different options, including home remedies you may already have in your pantry.

Here’s a look at the best natural indigestion remedies, plus what to do if you’re getting indigestion on the reg.

In This Article


An oft-used herb for indigestion, ginger is a spicy root that’s been shown to reduce nausea, cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, and gas, according to a January 2019 review in Food Science & Nutrition1. That’s because ginger has compounds that relax the muscles in your GI tract, which can help trapped gas escape and speed up digestion, says Wendi LeBrett, MD, a gastroenterologist based in Los Angeles, California.

You can reap these benefits with ginger tea, either the bagged stuff—like Yogi Ginger Tea—or DIY tea made by steeping sliced fresh ginger root in hot water. Try drinking it when you first wake up to soothe morning indigestion, or at night before you go to bed.

Dr. LeBrett is also a fan of chews or lozenges, like these Gin Gin Ginger Chews by The Ginger People.


Like ginger, “peppermint also has compounds known to soothe and relax your GI tract,” says Dr. LeBrett. Meaning, it’s a great herbal tea for indigestion. In fact, a January 2019 review in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies2 found the cooling herb highly effective at reducing bloating and abdominal pain.

You can make your own peppermint tea by steeping fresh mint leaves in hot water, or pre-bagged blends like Traditional Medicinals Peppermint Tea. If you’re not in the mood for a warm drink, you can also try taking peppermint oil capsules. Dr. LeBrett is a fan of IBGard peppermint capsules . “You can also take [them] before a meal as a preventive,” she adds.

Diaphragmatic breathing

This may sound surprising, but doing something as simple as taking long, deep belly breaths can help soothe your sour stomach. Diaphragmatic breathing is an especially great option to try before bed, if you want to get rid of indigestion at night. (Bonus points if you try it while lying in an optimal sleeping position for heartburn, like with your head elevated.)

“Filling your lungs and abdomen with air puts gentle pressure on your GI tract, which can help get things moving along and release trapped gas,” says Dr. LeBrett.

Here are some steps for diaphragmatic breathing, if you want to try it out, per the the Cleveland Clinic:

  • Start lying down face up with your knees bent.
  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other below your ribcage, so you can feel your breath move in and out.
  • Breath in slowly through your nose for several counts, allowing your diaphragm to fill with air. The hand on your stomach should rise.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles to force the air out of your diaphragm. You should see the hand on your stomach start to fall. (This movement can also almost serve as an internal massage for heartburn and acid reflux.)
  • Repeat for five to ten minutes.

A sidenote: Diaphragmatic breathing is also a great stress-management technique, which could help you relax before bed, too.


If your symptoms start up after a big meal, heading out for a stroll can help. “Walking after eating helps speed up digestion,” says Dr. LeBrett. Not only will that help soothe your stomach, but it can also help keep heartburn at bay, according to a 2017 study in Digestion3.

Try walking around your block after dinner, or hopping on the treadmill for 20 minutes, to help improve indigestion fast.

Baking soda

The same ingredient you add to make your cookies or banana bread rise can also help with the heartburn-like feeling that often comes with indigestion. Try adding 1/2 teaspoon to a glass of drinking water, and repeat every two hours as needed, per the Mayo Clinic. Similar to an over-the-counter (OTC) antacid, drinking baking soda water can neutralize the acid in your stomach to help reduce reflux.

Plus: Hydration and digestion go hand-in-hand, so drinking water this often will also likely help gas and stool move along faster, too, per the Mayo Clinic.

OTC stomach soothers

If natural digestive aids (like peppermint) don’t really work for you, OTC antacids are great for indigestion, as they’re fast and effective at curbing symptoms, per the Cleveland Clinic.

Some of the best medicines for indigestion and bloating are things like TUMS or Rolaids, as they neutralize the acid in your stomach. Proton pump inhibitors (like omeprazole) and H2 blockers (like Pepcid AC) can also help reduce indigestion symptoms like heartburn and burning in your stomach, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

And if you’re dealing with pain, cramping, and lower GI issues like diarrhea, Pepto Bismol might be a better fit, because it has anti-inflammatory compounds aimed at fighting those symptoms, per the National Library of Medicine.

“Eating small, more regular meals throughout the day can help indigestion.” —Wendi LeBrett, MD, gastroenterologist

Can you prevent indigestion?

Lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and making diet changes for better digestion can help prevent indigestion in the long term. A good first step? “Eating smaller, more regular meals throughout the day can help,” says Dr. LeBrett. When you eat inconsistently (say, you don’t eat all day and then have a giant dinner) it can increase indigestion, she adds.

Avoiding trigger foods, like fatty, spicy, or greasy meals, can help, as well as avoiding drinks with caffeine or alcohol, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. Keeping a food log can help you track your symptoms and narrow down what may be worsening them.

If your indigestion causes heartburn, especially at night, try to avoid eating within 3 or 4 hours of going to bed. It can also help to use a second pillow to prop your head up when you lay down, too. “When you’re on an incline, gravity helps stop the acidic contents in your stomach from coming back up into your esophagus,” says Dr. LeBrett.

Taking a probiotic for gut health, or digestive enzymes before eating foods that don’t agree with you (like Lactaid for dairy), may also help prevent indigestion from recurring.

Is it a heart attack?

Sometimes, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between a severe case of indigestion and a heart attack, mostly because their symptoms can feel similar. Common symptoms that heart attack and indigestion share include the following, per Dr. LeBrett:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Chest pain that radiates down towards your upper abdomen
  • Nausea, especially in women and older adults

If you’ve had these symptoms checked out by a doctor before (and they already determined it was indigestion/acid reflux), you might feel more comfortable waiting things out to see if the issue clears up on its own. But if symptoms are new and unusual for you, aren’t going away, or are getting worse, it’s best to call your doctor as soon as possible.

“If it feels new or different, seek medical care,” says Dr. LeBrett.

When to see a doctor

“If your indigestion happens once in a while from eating certain foods, you can typically address that with lifestyle changes,” says Dr. LeBrett. “But if it’s happening often, is affecting your ability to eat, or you’re also losing weight, you should have it checked out,” she adds.

Persistent indigestion could be a sign you’re dealing with an underlying GI condition like inflammatory bowel disease or a food sensitivity. Your doctor can run tests to help narrow down the cause.


How long does indigestion last?

The answer typically depends on what’s causing your indigestion. If your symptoms stem from a large or heavy meal, it usually takes around four hours for your food to move out of your stomach into your small intestine, says Dr. LeBrett. So it could also take about that long before you feel better. Once your appetite comes back, consider sticking to easy-to-digest foods, like rice, baked chicken, or soup, until the indigestion has cleared.

If your indigestion is caused by a larger underlying health condition, it could last longer than a few hours. If your indigestion is persistent or long-lasting, reach out to your doctor.

Does burping help indigestion?

“If your indigestion is coming from gas, then burping might help you feel better, because it releases trapped gas that makes you feel crampy and bloated,” says Dr. LeBrett. If you feel like you have to burp, but can’t, try walking around, curling up with your knees to your chest, or trying certain yoga poses to help move gas.

What is the difference between heartburn and indigestion?

Heartburn or acid reflux is a condition that happens when digestive acids from your stomach flow up into your esophagus or throat, which can cause a burning sensation in your chest, per the Mayo Clinic. Indigestion on the other hand, is a symptom, not a condition itself. It is basically another name for an upset stomach, or what doctors called dyspepsia, per the Cleveland Clinic. While the two are different, it’s possible to get both at the same time, and treat them with similar remedies.

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.

  1. Nikkhah Bodagh M, Maleki I, Hekmatdoost A. Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials. Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Nov 5;7(1):96-108. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.807. PMID: 30680163; PMCID: PMC6341159.
  2. Alammar, N., Wang, L., Saberi, B. et al. The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complement Altern Med 19, 21 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-018-2409-0
  3. Mori H, Suzuki H, Matsuzaki J, Taniguchi K, Shimizu T, Yamane T, Masaoka T, Kanai T. Gender Difference of Gastric Emptying in Healthy Volunteers and Patients with Functional Dyspepsia. Digestion. 2017;95(1):72-78. doi: 10.1159/000452359. Epub 2017 Jan 5. PMID: 28052285.

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Source: Well and Good

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