Indigestion — also called dyspepsia or an upset stomach — is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen.
It is a term that people use to describe a range of different symptoms relating to the stomach and gastro-intestinal system.
Indigestion is not a disease, but rather a collection of symptoms you experience, including bloating, belching and nausea. Although indigestion is common, how you experience indigestion may differ from other people. Symptoms of indigestion might be felt occasionally or as often as daily.
Fortunately, you may be able to prevent or treat the symptoms of indigestion.
Most people with indigestion have one or more of the following symptoms:
*Early fullness during a meal. You haven’t eaten much of your meal, but you already feel full and may not be able to finish eating.
*Uncomfortable fullness after a meal. Fullness lasts longer than it should.
*Pain in the upper abdomen. You feel a mild to severe pain in the area between the bottom of your breastbone (sternum) and your navel.
*Burning in the upper abdomen. You feel an uncomfortable heat or burning sensation between the bottom of the breastbone and navel.
Less frequent symptoms that may come along with indigestion include:
*Nausea. You feel like you are about to vomit.
*Bloating. Your stomach feels swollen, tight and uncomfortable.
Sometimes people with indigestion also experience heartburn, but heartburn and indigestion are two separate conditions. Heartburn is a pain or burning feeling in the center of your chest that may radiate into your neck or back after or during eating.
It’s not uncommon for people with severe indigestion to think they’re having a heart attack. The pain may be stabbing, or a generalised soreness.
Some people experience reflux – where acidic stomach contents are regurgitated up into the gullet causing a severe burning sensation. Other symptoms include bloating, wind, belching and nausea. Sometimes the pain of indigestion can be relieved by belching.
People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. It’s extremely common. An individual’s risk increases with excess alcohol consumption, use of drugs that may irritate the stomach (such as aspirin), other conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract such as an ulcer and emotional problems such as anxiety or depression.
Indigestion has many causes, including:
*Stomach cancer (rare)
*Gastroparesis (a condition where the stomach doesn’t empty properly; this often occurs in diabetics)
*Irritable bowel syndrome
*Aspirin and many other painkillers
*Estrogen and oral contraceptives
*Eating too much, eating too fast, eating high-fat foods,eating fried and toomuch spicy food or eating during stressful situations
*Drinking too much alcohol
*Stress and fatigue
*Swallowing excessive air when eating may increase the symptoms of belching and bloating, which are often associated with indigestion.
Sometimes people have persistent indigestion that is not related to any of these factors. This type of indigestion is called functional, or non-ulcer dyspepsia.
During the middle and later parts of pregnancy, many women have indigestion. This is believed to be caused by a number of pregnancy-related factors including hormones, which relax the muscles of the digestive tract, and the pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach.
Although indigestion doesn’t usually have serious complications, it can affect your quality of life by making you feel uncomfortable and causing you to eat less. When indigestion is caused by an underlying condition, that condition could come with complications of its own.
If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion, make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out a more serious condition. Because indigestion is such a broad term, it is helpful to provide your doctor with a precise description of the discomfort you are experiencing. In describing your indigestion symptoms, try to define where in the abdomen the discomfort usually occurs. Simply reporting pain in the stomach is not detailed enough for your doctor to help identify and treat your problem.
First, your doctor must rule out any underlying conditions. Your doctor may perform several blood tests and you may have X-rays of the stomach or small intestine. Your doctor may also use an instrument to look closely at the inside of the stomach, a procedure called an upper endoscopy. An endoscope, a flexible tube that contains a light and a camera to produce images from inside the body, is used in this procedure.
Because indigestion is a symptom rather than a disease, treatment usually depends upon the underlying condition causing the indigestion.
Often, episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention. However, if your indigestion symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate indigestion:
*Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat too fast. This causes you to swallow too much air, which can aggravate indigestion.
*Drink fluids after rather than during meals.
*Avoid late-night eating.
*Try to get little relaxation after meals.
*Avoid toomuch spicy and fried foods.
*Avoid alcoholic beverages.
*Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.Exercise regularly. With your doctor’s OK, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. It can be as simple as a daily walk, though not just after you eat.
*Regular exercise(specially Yoga exercise ) helps you keep off extra weight and promotes better digestion.
*Manage stress. Create a calm environment at mealtime. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga. Spend time doing things you enjoy. Get plenty of sleep.
*Reconsider your medications. With your doctor’s approval, stop or cut back on pain relieving drugs that may irritate your stomach lining. If that’s not an option, be sure to take these medications with food.
*Do not exercise with a full stomach. Rather, exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
Do not lie down right after eating.
*Wait at least three hours after your last meal of the day before going to bed.
*Raise the head of your bed so that your head and chest are higher than your feet. You can do this by placing 6-inch blocks under the bedposts at the head of the bed. Don’t use piles of pillows to achieve the same goal. You will only put your head at an angle that can increase pressure on your stomach and make heartburn worse.
*Go to bed early and get up early. Try to have atleast 6 hours sound sleep at night.
If indigestion is not relieved after making these changes, your doctor may prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms.
Some people may find relief from indigestion through the following methods, although more research is needed to determine their effectiveness:
*Drinking herbal tea with peppermint.
*Psychological methods, including relaxation techniques, cognitive therapy and hypnotherapy.
*Regular Yoga exercise under a trained Yoga instructor
*You may see herbal products that promise relief from indigestion. But remember, these products often haven’t been proven effective and there’s a risk that comes with taking herbs because they’re not regulated.
*Sometimes proper Homeopathic treatment works very well.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose
- Understanding Indigestion (everydayhealth.com)
- Heartburn and Indigestion (everydayhealth.com)
- Finding the Source of Your Indigestion (everydayhealth.com)
- Long-Term Use of OTC Indigestion Medications (everydayhealth.com)
- 5 Tips to Prevent Indigestion (foxnews.com)
- Excess Wind or Stomach Gas (findmeacure.com)