Indigestion is often a sign of an underlying problem. Also called dyspepsia, indigestion is a term used to describe a feeling of fullness or discomfort during a meal. It can be described by burning or pain in the upper stomach.
The symptoms of indigestion include: growling stomach, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating (full feeling), belching and gas and more.
The symptoms may increase in times of stress. People often have heartburn along with indigestion but heartburn is caused by stomach acids rising into the esophagus.
The Risk of Indigestion
People of both sexes and all ages can be affected by indigestion. The risk is increased with consuming alcohol or drugs that may irritate the stomach.
Causes of indigestion include: stomach infections, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pancreatitis, thyroid disease and more.
Recommended medications are: aspirin and many other painkillers, estrogen and oral contraceptives, steroid medications, certain antibiotics, thyroid medicines.
Lifestyle is another thing to worry about as well. Eating too much or fast or eating during stressful situations is not recommended. Drinking too much alcohol or cigarette smoking is also not recommended.
The symptoms of belching and bloating might increase if swallowing excessive air when eating is part of your behavior. In some situations, people have persistent indigestion that is not related to any of these factors. Many women have indigestion during the middle and later parts of pregnancy. This is believed to be caused by a number of pregnancy-related factors.
Make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out a more serious condition, if you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion. Try to define where in the abdomen the discomfort usually occurs, in describing your indigestion symptoms.
Your doctor must rule out any underlying conditions and perform several blood tests and you may have X-rays of the stomach or small intestine as well. Procedure called an upper endoscopy might be a part of your doctor checking, a flexible tube that contains a light and a camera to produce images from inside the body, is used in this procedure.
Treatment usually depends upon the underlying condition causing the indigestion because indigestion is a symptom rather than a disease. Episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention but if your indigestion symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor.
How to prevent Indigestion?
The only way to prevent indigestion is to avoid the foods and situations that seem to cause it. You can always keep a food diary that will help you identify foods hat cause indigestion.
– Eat slowly and small meals so the stomach does not have to work as hard or as long.
– Try to avoid foods that contain high amounts of acids and caffeine.
– Re-evaluating your lifestyle may help to reduce stress, if stress is a trigger for your indigestion. Find new ways to manage your stress, like relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
– Quit smoking and or at least stop smoking right before or after eating, as smoking can irritate the stomach lining.