Milk can lull a scared child back to sleep, it can calm a colicky baby and some believe it can cure a common stomachache. While milk does work wonders for some people, it may make others much worse. Before treating your stomachache with milk, first determine the cause of your pain. If you cannot discover the cause, consult your doctor to rule out any possible health problems.
Like many antacids, milk contains calcium. Calcium helps to calm an upset stomach by improving your stomachs pH balance. Milk's thick consistency allows it to coat the lining of your stomach, making milk a good option to take with NSAID medications to avoid stomach upset. Additionally, a study performed by Hammersmith Hospital and Leicester General Hospital shows that certain milk attained from cows within a few days of giving birth, can cure ulcerative colitis. The high levels of colostrum found in the milk of these cows may also improve other stomach problems and injuries.
Many adults have a difficult time digesting lactose, a sugar found in milk. This may result in an array of stomach and digestion problems from a stomachache to diarrhea. If your stomach often feels funny after drinking milk, milk may not soothe your current stomach pain; it can make it worse. However, low-fat or fat-free yogurts have many of the same soothing properties as milk with less lactose. Yogurt also has live cultures that aid digestion, so you may consider substituting a glass of milk for yogurt.
Other problems, besides lactose, can make milk the wrong treatment choice for your stomachache. If you have a stomachache as the result of an ulcer or heartburn, milk may exacerbate your problem further, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While milk may ease your ulcer pain temporarily, drinking milk unnecessarily raises the acid levels in your stomach, causing more long-term pain.
If your stomach pain continues and milk does not help but you still want natural relief, you have other options available to you. Avoid smoking and alcohol, as both can irritate the stomach. Limit your intake of caffeine and anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen. Eat frequent small meals, avoid fatty foods, foods high in acidity and spicy foods. Sleep in a propped up position to avoid acid rising into your esophagus. If none of these solutions cure your stomachache naturally, you should talk to your doctor about possible medications.