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Indigestion

Indigestion is felt the minute one feels it. You either feel too full, uncomfortable in your stomach, especially after having a meal. It causes pain in your stomach along with a burning sensation. Indigestion is medically called as dyspepsia.

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Indigestion is unusually a symptoms and not a condition in itself. Chronic indigestion usually indicates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallbladder disease or ulcers in the stomach. Thus, if indigestion becomes an everyday complain and does not get better with use of antacids, you should consult your doctor for further advice.

Symptoms if Indigestion

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Indigestion usually leads to the following symptoms:

  • Uncomfortable or unusual feeling of fullness after a meal
  • Early fullness of stomach during a meal, even before you have finished eating
  • Burning in the upper abdomen just below the breastbone and above the navel
  • Bloating or feeling of tightness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting and bleaching in some cases

Heartburn can also occur with indigestion. Heartburn causes one to experience pain and burning feeling in the center of the chest. This pain can radiate into the neck or back and occurs during or after you finish eating.

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Some people also experience:

  • Acid reflux
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Acidic taste in mouth
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Causes of Indigestion

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There are many causes of indigestion. These include:

Medical conditions are plenty some of which include:

  • GERD
  • Gallstones
  • Histal hernia
  • Pregnancy
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammation of pancreas
  • Food allergies
  • Heart disease, angina and even heart attach
  • Stomach cancer
  • Food poisoning
  • Stomach infections

Medications that can lead to indigestion include:

  • Aspirin or other painkillers like NSAIDs
  • Steroids
  • Estrogen and other oral contraceptives
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Pain medications
  • Thyroid medication
  • Cholesterol (statins)

Lifestyle factors can also cause indigestion like:

  • Eating too much or too fast
  • Eating fatty or spicy foods
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Fatigue
  • Caffeine

Diagnosis of Indigestion

Indigestion is usually mild and infrequent. It generally does not require medical help. Over-the-counter drugs and some home remedies help overcome indigestion. However, when one experiences severe pain or discomfort, they should visit their GP. The doctor will note down your symptoms and then treat you accordingly. In some cases, investigative tests will be offered like:

  • Endoscopy
  • Stool test, breath test or blood test to check for H.pyroli infection
  • Guaiac test to check for blood in stools
  • Colonoscopy
  • CT scan or MRI scan in case of severe conditions

Treatment for Indigestion

Indigestion can be treated in various ways depending on the severity of the condition.

Treatment includes:

  • Lifestyle changes like losing excessive weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Cutting down on alcohol
  • Changes in diet like cutting down on spicy foods, caffeine, cola, fatty foods, etc.
  • Start eating at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime
  • Change in medication that leads to acidity
  • Use of antacids or alginates

Severe or persistent indigestion can be treated by:

  • Use of proton pump inhibitors
  • H2-receptor antagonists
  • Antibiotics to treat H. pyroli infection

This is all about indigestion and its treatment. Persistent and severe indigestion should be reported to the GP for further diagnosis. Do not take it lightly as it could be a sign of a major underlying condition like GERD.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: April 03, 2016