Upset stomach? Before you book an appointment with your local GP, read on for our doctor’s advice on how best to zap that pesky stomach bug.

Upset stomach here’s what to do

What to do with a stomach upset depends on whether you have vomiting or diarrhoea or both.

Diarrhoea Only

Here, we’re talking about watery or ‘true’ diarrhoea rather than just bowel motions that are loose. Then there are a few steps to follow.

  1. The most effective step is to stop intake of all solid food (this includes milk and milk based products. This is because when they are digested in the stomach, they are more like solids than liquids due to the effect of the digestive juices of the stomach).
  2. Focus on getting (and increasing) fluid only intake. This is to replace the normal amount of fluid lost daily (through sweating, urine and the water vapour in your breath) as well as that extra amount of fluid lost in the watery diarrhoea. The fluids should be light and contain sugar. So an example of this would be 7-Up or Sprite. If you prefer warm fluids, then tea (or coffee) with a spoon of sugar is best (the fluids replace what you’re losing while the sugar gives you energy as you are not taking any solids in).
  3. Imodium tablets are available without prescription which act to slow down the bowel. These are usually taken as follows: two to start with and then one capsule every six hours. These are continued for as long as the diarrhoea occurs and are only stopped when you have taken a light meal of something like tea and toast. If no further diarrhoea occurs after this, then stop the Imodium and over a 24 hour period gradually introduce a normal diet again.
  4. If the diarrhoea starts again after trying the light meal, then go back to step 1 above.
Vomiting and Diarrhoea

The crucial thing here is to get the vomiting to settle. A trial of Motilium tablets at a dose of two tablets every eight hours may settle the nausea and vomiting. Once this is settled then start taking the measures outlined for the diarrhoea above.

Vomiting Only

When vomiting only is the main symptom – this may be due to a simple gastric upset but can have other causes such as gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or stomach ulcer or gallstones. So in this case:

  1. Again settle the nausea and vomiting with Motilium
  2. If there is associated upper abdominal discomfort, try some ant-acid agent such as Bisodol or Rennies.
  3. In addition for this upper abdominal discomfort, there are several medications available which have the effect of suppressing the stomach acid. These include Pantoloc, Nexium Control, Pantup Release and Somac.

If symptoms persist despite using these treatments for a few days, then the safest option is to opt for a consultation with one of our doctors or your local Doctor.