Dr. Erin Hendriks

Best natural remedies to soothe an upset stomach in summer

What can you do about summer IBS symptoms? A lot, fortunately.


August 17, 2022

Written by:

Medically Reviewed by:

Dr. Erin Hendriks

Board-Certified Physician


November 20, 2023

Whole Self Science
Whole Self Science

For many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), summer can summon extra stomach trouble. Why is that? Several causes could be behind seasonal gastrointestinal distress: 

  • Dehydration, as you might expect, is a big culprit. Sweat can eat up surprising amounts of water and leave you under-hydrated with an overly upset stomach
  • When we get hot, we often change our habits. For example, in summer you might eat differently, drink a little more alcohol, scale back on exercising, and lie around more (we get it because we do it, too)
  • Heat can make it hard to sleep. And sleep shortages can increase stomach issues
  • In general, heat can turn up the pain sensitivity dial for people with IBS. Heat stress is real!

All this can alter your bowel movements, contribute to bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other symptoms of an upset stomach. What can you do about summer IBS symptoms? A lot, fortunately. See if any of these suggestions work for you:

Give your belly the right botanicals

Aloe Vera

For people with inflammatory bowel problems, constipation, and diarrhea, aloe vera could be an anti-inflammatory balm. Rich in B vitamins and composed 99 percent of water, aloe vera both hydrates and heals. 


Research is still being conducted on ginger’s role in alleviating indigestion, stomach pain, and other IBS symptoms, but it’s a plant with a long history as a helpful home remedy. Get more of it in ginger tea, as a brisk agua fresca, in chicken summer samosas, or drizzled over a tangy fruit salad as ginger lime syrup, among so many other great choices. 


Ever popular, peppermint oil can often help save your digestive tract from pain and bloating. Plus, while you can use peppermint oil, tablets, or supplements, fresh peppermint on its own is a wonderful summer flavor, going as well in mint lemonade as in minty quinoa

Seasonal Tip: While alcohol isn’t always friendly to IBS, a few drops of cocktail bitters splashed into low FODMAP ginger ale or club soda may help settle stomach problems. Cocktail bitters hold botanicals like ginger, mint and fennel, which can all help quell nausea.

Hydrate to combat many summer symptoms of IBS

Dehydration can happen to us all, given summer’s elevated temperatures and increased sunlight. Combat dehydration with, well, lots of water. Pep it up with infusions of lemon, cucumber, or mint or make flavored ice cubes.You could enjoy:

  • Lemonades or iced teas, as long as they’re low sugar
  • Fresh, low FODMAP cranberry juice
  • Smoothies, especially if they contain fresh ginger or mint

You can also chew your liquids in the form of hydration-boosting foods like:

  • Pineapple or papaya for a tropical twist
  • Bananas or pumpkin seeds to help balance your electrolytes
  • Lettuce wraps or fruit cups

Use heat for more IBS relief

Oddly, heat can help calm abdominal pain, even in summer. If you can take the heat, try:

  • A hot water bottle or bag of rice you’ve warmed in the microwave, slipped into a pillow case, and draped over your lower stomach as a homemade heating pad
  • A pet, if you can persuade your cat or dog to snuggle, which can increase your endorphins while also easing pain
  • A warm bath, especially if you add Epsom salts. Pro tip: Why not sip a cooling drink while in the tub?

Follow a few other tips to manage IBS even in summer

  • Stay cool and avoid direct sun. Get under a hat or umbrella, drape your neck with a damp cloth or a cooling pack, find a fan or mister…do whatever you need to!
  • Try not to lie down first thing after eating or when your stomach gets upset, since that may increase acid reflux and heartburn. Mindfulness or relaxation exercises may work better
  • Eat small and eat often. Sip each cup of water rather than chugging it
  • Take note of your symptoms after drinking iced beverages. If cold seems to upset your stomach, try room-temperature beverages 
  • Don’t get fooled by foods that seem safe but are actually high FODMAP, like watermelon, cherries, mangos, and possibly chamomile tea. Skip fatty or spicy foods as well
  • Also stay away from food that’s been sitting out. Gut-disturbing bacteria can breed fast in the heat! So pack only snacks that can get hot without causing food poisoning
  • Don’t quit exercising. Foundational health habits help keep you sleeping and managing stress, which can decrease IBS issues. You can switch to swimming, rowing, or other cooler sports though
  • Keep your bedroom cool and shift to more no-bake foods if the oven heat is too much (snack boards can be your new best friend)

Get more support from Salvo Health this summer

At Salvo Health, our digital healthcare platform and virtual clinic provides you with continuous text-based support and care for your chronic condition. Imagine being able to text a board-certified Physician or Behavioral Health Coach to avoid flare-ups or manage your pain. Alongside messaging-based communication, members receive a customized Care Plan that can take account of how their symptoms can be managed, no matter what’s going on with your poop. 

Get immediate access to a coordinated Salvo Health care team, including a certified gastro specialist and board-certified health coach when you join Salvo Health today. 


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