Indigestion can be caused by a condition in the digestive tract such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.
Indigestion, also referred to as dyspepsia, is a term used to describe one or more symptoms including a feeling of fullness during a meal, uncomfortable fullness after a meal, and burning or pain in the upper abdomen. Indigestion is often confused for heartburn, but both are different conditions. However, a person can have symptoms of both.
Indigestion can be caused by a condition in the digestive tract such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts. If the condition improves or resolves, the symptoms of indigestion usually improve.
Sometimes a person has indigestion for which a cause cannot be found. This type of indigestion, called functional dyspepsia, is thought to occur in the area where the stomach meets the small intestine. The indigestion may be related to abnormal motility—the squeezing or relaxing action—of the stomach muscle as it receives, digests, and moves food into the small intestine.
Diagnosis and treatment
The doctor may order x rays; blood, breath, and stool tests; and an upper endoscopy with biopsies to diagnose indigestion. The doctor may prescribe antacids, H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), prokinetics, or antibiotics to treat the symptoms of indigestion.
Some people may experience relief from indigestion by making some lifestyle changes and decreasing stress. You may experience relief from symptoms of indigestion with the following.
- Eating several small, low-fat meals throughout the day at a slow pace.
- Refraining from smoking.
- Abstaining from consuming coffee, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.
- Discontinuing the use of medications that may irritate the stomach lining—such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Getting enough rest.
- Finding ways to decrease emotional and physical stress, such as relaxation therapy or yoga.
If you've got an upset stomach, there are many things that you can do or try natural cures or home remedies. If they don’t seem to work, see a doctor.
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