Help, My Stomach Hurts!
Last updated: September 2023
As a heart failure patient, I know that stomach issues come up! It can be when we take too many meds and have not eaten enough food or we have eaten a larger meal and for some reason now our stomachs have a harder time handling it. And, whether it is pain or just a lingering feeling of being very full, it is not ideal. I wanted to share a few tips I have learned to help others who might have similar situations pop up.
What I do when my stomach hurts, as a person with heart failure
Have certain foods ready
The first thing I have learned is to always have bland, easily accessible, food handy. The freezer is my best friend, as I can pop stuff in there and not worry about stuff going bad. I have an assortment of lower sodium plain white bread I can pop in the microwave and eat quickly when needed. I also have frozen fruit, like grapes and strawberries, which are smaller, and I can pop into my mouth without cutting. The benefit of frozen fruit is that it serves dual purposes - it can also help when I am thirsty but I do not have much fluids left. This might come up at the end of the day when I have a sudden burst of thirstiness but have maxed out my allotted fluid intake!
I can tell pretty quickly if I have not eaten enough after meds, and when I have not, I just grab stuff and start eating. I personally like to always have no fat plain Greek Yogurt in the house as well. There is some salt in it (like bread) and yogurt is also a liquid, so you have to watch it. I do add ground flaxseed in it to help bulk it up without eating more yogurt than I have to. Yogurt also helps me with acid reflux, so that is a bonus!
Along those lines, when my stomach hurts, I think about what is easy to prepare AND what is easy on my stomach. That is why I tend to stick to bland, low fat and lower fiber foods. If I want the discomfort to be resolved as quickly as possible, I try to make it as easy on my stomach as I can. Help it help me is my motto. If you want more info, feel free to do a little research on what foods are easiest to digest and you might find it enlightening.
Ginger tea when my stomach feels full
Now, if the issue is a lingering feeling of full or bloating after eating that requires a different approach. At that point, eating may not be the best course of action! In that case, I also always have ginger tea in my cabinet. I have found that ginger and ginger/turmeric teas are good for an upset stomach.
The other thing I have found when my stomach needs a boost is moving around. The natural inclination is to lay in the fetal position, and I get it, but I found that if I can walk around it helps. This may not seem like the best time for a walk up and down the street, but if I can manage it I have found it is a great way to aid my body in digestion.
Drinking warm water if I can
The last tip I have found helpful is, as long as you have the fluid available, drink some warm water about 30 minutes after you eat. I have found that this helps break down the food in my stomach, so it is easier for my body to start the digestive process. Whatever you do, try really hard not to go straight to bed if you are feeling super full and/or bloated.
I hope these tips help!
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