Sour Stomach – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

A sour stomach is something that none of us want to get. It puts you in severe discomfort and can upset your plans for the day.

You are compelled to stay home or away from work when you get a severely upset stomach.

None of us want to be in embarrassing situations caused by a disturbed stomach when in the office or with friends.

For some reason or other, every one of us gets upset stomach issues at least a couple of times a year. Some get it quite frequently.

Most cases of distress in the tummy are not serious. It disappears after a few hours and is easily curable with home remedies or OTC products.

What Is An Upset Stomach

You have experienced it several times, yet you might wonder what a sour stomach is all about.

It is a disturbed and irritated condition of the upper gastrointestinal tract.  This may exhibit symptoms like a burning sensation in the stomach, nausea, belching, sour burps, upper abdominal pain, diarrhea, and indigestion.

It is also known by other names like acid reflux (GERD), stomach pain, stomach bloating, heartburn, or indigestion.

Most people experience heartburn, usually after having certain foods that have not gone well with their stomachs.

According to some health surveys, 60% of the adult population in the world experiences gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at least once a year.

People who suffer from GERD have poor health and quality of life. They have problem with most foods they eat, face sleep disorders, and have poor concentration at school and work.

If you have frequent and recurring upset stomach problems, your life can spiral out of control.

Fortunately, heartburn or upset stomach problems do not last for more than a day or two. Usually, they disappear on their own without needing any medical assistance.

Only chronic cases of disturbances in the stomach need medical attention. A serious gastrointestinal condition with persistent causes can lead to complications if not treated in time.

Symptoms Of A Sour Stomach

The symptoms of a sour stomach are closely connected to two common gastroesophageal conditions, namely acid reflux and indigestion.

Any severe disturbance in the upper digestive tract usually exhibits the following symptoms:

Belching or burping

It usually occurs when the stomach distends or expands because of too much or swallowed air. Burping is produced while releasing the excess air in the stomach via the mouth.


Any severe irritation in the upper digestive tract can make you feel nauseated. When the foods you eat do not properly go through the digestive tract, your stomach gets upset, and you develop a nauseating feeling. You may experience severe dehydration if vomiting or diarrhea occurs.


The presence of an excess amount of gastric acid reaching up to your esophagus causes a burning sensation in the chest and throat.


It is the uncomfortable feeling of fullness, tightness, or swelling in the abdomen, usually caused by a mixture of air and food in the stomach.

Stomach Ache

One of the most common symptoms of a sour stomach is abdominal pain. It may last a few hours and can cause severe pain if the stomach’s condition is bad.


Regurgitation is the forceful expulsion of stomach contents backward through the esophagus and to the mouth. Regurgitation is an important body mechanism for eliminating toxic substances. People with an upset stomach or heartburn usually experience this symptom.


Constipation can happen because of foods with poor fiber and liquid content. Processed foods, red meat, and fatty foods can also result in constipation.

Other Symptoms

People suffering from a sour stomach could also experience stress, mild fever, headache, physical weakness, and drowsiness.

What Causes A Sour Stomach

The most common reasons for a sour stomach are acid reflux and indigestion.

Acid reflux (GERD) is the incidence of stomach acid entering the esophagus. It is characterized by a burning pain, known as heartburn, that has its epicenter in the lower chest area of the body.

Some have indigestion because certain viruses infect cells in the lining of the small intestine or inflammatory bowel disease. Also, chronic gallbladder disease may cause digestive problems.

GERD syndrome is caused by overeating, excess stomach acid, and reduced tonicity of the sphincter.

Dyspepsia or indigestion causes belching, nausea, stomach pain, and bloating. Indigestion usually subsides by itself after a day.

However, chronic dyspepsia conditions caused by gallstones, gastritis, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) must be treated medically. Most covid-19 patients also get similar stomach issues.

Common reasons for indigestion issues are unhealthy diets, spicy foods, alcohol, an irregular eating pattern, or extreme weather conditions.

Ways To Manage Upset Stomach

It is common for everyone to get upset stomachs occasionally. It usually lasts only a few hours or a day.

Home remedies for an upset stomach are effective and healthy.

Of course, you can find several OTC medicines and products to help ease an upset stomach. However, it is better to avoid them for the side effects they might have on your health.

Here are a few coolest and most effective DIY solutions to eliminate stomach bloating and heartburn.

1. Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is a traditionally used natural remedy to soothe and heal an upset stomach.

Drinking peppermint tea helps ease the symptoms of a sour stomach, like nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, and flatulence.

Peppermint aids in the inhibition of peristaltic movement help reduce stomach spasms and cramps and ease dyspepsia.

Menthol, which is present in peppermint, is beneficial for treating microbial infections in the stomach that cause pain or infection.

How to use: Add a few fresh peppermint leaves to one cup of boiling water and let the essence of the leaves steep in the water for a few minutes. Strain out the leaves and let the tea cool down; drink 4 cups of peppermint daily until you get rid of the upset stomach.

2. Apple cider vinegar

The antibacterial properties of ACV are useful for relieving stomach problems caused by bacteria.

The acidic content in ACV is useful for balancing gut microbiota and restoring a healthy pH level in the stomach lining.

The acetic acid in ACV is beneficial for better digestion and metabolism.

How to use: Add 1 tablespoon of ACV to 1 glass of water and drink. When you have an upset stomach, drink ACV water three times a day.

You can also drink ACV water daily to maintain a healthy stomach and metabolism.

3. Rice water

Drinking rice water is an age-old traditional remedy used to treat stomach problems.

Rice water can uniquely protect the stomach lining from inflammation and stomach ulcers.

When you have diarrhea, drinking rice water can keep you well hydrated and repel the food poisoning effects.

How to use: Cook ½ cup of rice in 2 cups of water at a moderate temperature. When the rice is cooked in the right proportion (in 20 minutes), strain the rice water into a bowl and drink it after it cools down.

When you have a sour stomach, drink 4 to 6 glasses of rice water daily to get fast relief.

4. Aloe vera

Aloe vera juice is beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome and cleansing the digestive tract.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder that causes constipation, indigestion, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

It works well to manage acid reflux, stomach bloating, and flatulence by cleansing the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, reducing colonic buildup, and improving the transit of bowel waste.

Aloe is effective at soothing irritation and inflammation in the intestinal lining. It helps reduce colitis symptoms and ulcers.

Aloe vera is a proven laxative useful for getting rid of constipation.

Some recent research has reported the efficacy of Aloe Vera juice in promoting the growth of helpful bacteria in the gut.

How to use: For each serving, add two tablespoons of aloe vera juice to 1 cup of water; blend it well until smooth. You can drink the aloe vera juice twice or three times a day to effectively manage the upset stomach.

5. Charred toast

Burnt toast is a folk remedy for an upset stomach. The charred toast treatment works well for curing vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.

It is believed that charred toast can absorb toxins from the digestive system.

According to the book “Human Biochemistry,” the carbon in burnt toast absorbs impurities in the digestive tract. It acts as a filter to prevent some compounds and microorganisms from passing through the mucus membrane of the gut.

How to use: Make two whole-wheat burnt toasts and eat them slowly. Do not eat any other food for the next hour.

6. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal absorbs and removes the toxins in the digestive tract. It is a folk medicine for curing food poisoning.

How to use: Add one teaspoon of activated charcoal powder to a glass of water or liquid food and have it. You can also get activated charcoal capsules in the drugstore; consume one capsule daily.

7. Ginger tea

Ginger tea is an excellent home remedy for getting rid of indigestion and reflux-acid problems in the stomach.

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help to increase the digestive enzyme and neutralize the toxins in the abdomen. This relieves stomach ache and upset stomach.

The anti-nausea elements in ginger reduce nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness by expelling intestinal gas.

Gingesulfonic acid contained in ginger boosts anti-ulcer activity in the stomach.

Gingerols and shogaols are two powerful antioxidants in ginger that are beneficial for relaxing the intestinal tract.

Drinking ginger tea helps in the smooth passage of foods through the digestive tract, improving nutrient absorption and preventing indigestion.

Eating a slice of ginger quickly increases the production of saliva, bile, and gastric juices, which improve digestion and prevent gas.

How to use: Add a tablespoon of neatly sliced fresh ginger root to two cups of boiling water. Let the essence of the ginger steep in the water for 5 minutes. Strain the water into a cup and enjoy the ginger tea. You can add a teaspoon of honey to the ginger tea for a better taste. Drink ginger tea twice or thrice daily until the upset stomach is healed.

7. Fennel tea

Fennel tea is excellent for improving digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Its aromatic and carminative properties are an excellent ally for treating flatulence, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach cramps.

The antibacterial properties in fennel seed are useful for preventing gastrointestinal problems and aiding in keeping the gut microbiota healthy.

Some studies have shown that fennel seed effectively removes harmful gut bacteria that cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.

It is a fantastic diuretic that promotes diuresis. It is also a good natural remedy for stopping indigestion.

How to use: You can make fennel tea with the fennel seed, leaves, or roots.

Take two teaspoons of fennel seed and crush it. Add the crushed seeds to two cups of boiling water; let the essence of the seeds steep in hot water for a few minutes.

Strain the tea and enjoy drinking this healthy drink; drink a few cups of fennel tea daily.

In the same way, you can also prepare fennel tea with the leaves or roots of the fennel plant.

How To Prevent A Sour Stomach

An upset stomach or indigestion mostly happens because of unhealthy diet habits and lifestyles.

You can easily prevent sour stomach problems by making healthy changes in the foods you eat. A healthy body is also necessary to give abode to a healthy digestive system.

Here are a few tips for preventing indigestion and acid reflux:

  • Do not overeat; stop eating when your hunger pangs are satisfied.
  • Include a generous amount of soluble fiber foods (pectins, β-glucans, psyllium, guar gum, etc.) in your daily diet;
  • It would be best if you compulsorily had enough amounts of a variety of fruits and green vegetables in your daily diet;
  • Eat slowly and chew the food properly;
  • Eat at regular intervals and do not skip meals at random;
  • Do not eat citrus fruits on an empty stomach, for this can cause acid reflux;
  • Avoid some of the foods and drinks like fried, spicy, and processed foods, alcohol, sodacoffee, artificial sweeteners, and bad fats;
  • Drink one glass of water at every hour of the day;
  • Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep daily;
  • Avoid smoking;
  • Drink many sips of water every hour to prevent dehydration.
  • Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes daily;
  • Do yoga exercises that increase circulation and reduce bloating in the stomach;
  • Do not sleep or lie down immediately after eating;
  • Stay free of tension and stress;
  • Reduce the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The Final Thought

A sour stomach is mainly the result of bad eating and lifestyle habits. By discarding unhealthy food and lifestyle habits, you can easily prevent and manage recurring acid reflux and indigestion issues.

However, if underlying diseases or medication side effects cause stomach issues, you need to see a doctor.

Some of the best diets and remedies for a sour stomach are herbal teas, aloe vera juice, burnt toast, rice water, and activated charcoal.

Include foods such as cherries, apricots, raisins, prunes, carrots, yogurt, mint juice, and caraway seeds to prevent and cure indigestion and acid reflux problems.

If you have severe stomach ache caused by acidity or indigestion, it is worth doing a hot water compress on the stomach to get fast relief from pain.