132013May

Indigestion

Indigestion is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen.  Indigestion is also many times referred to as dyspepsia or upset stomach.  The symptoms many times associated with indigestion are a feeling of heat, burning, or pain in the area between the navel and the lower part of the breastbone.  Indigestion can also be described as a feeling of fullness that is bothersome and occurs soon after the meal begins or when in is over.  Occasionally you can experience bloating or nausea with indigestion.  Indigestion is not the same as heartburn.  Indigestion is not a disease, but rather a symptom or symptoms that you experience, such as abdominal pain or the feeling of fullness soon after eating.
Indigestion is a common problem.  Indigestion is usually not a sign of a more serious health problem, unless you also experience of the symptoms along with the indigestion, such as weight loss or trouble swallowing. There are many possible causes of indigestion.  The most common causes of indigestion are: drinking too much alcohol; eating spicy, fatty, or greasy foods; eating too much (overeating); eating too fast; emotional stress or nervousness; high fiber foods; tobacco smoking; too much caffeine.   Some of other possible causes of indigestion are: gallstones; gastritis; pancreatitis; ulcers; use of certain drugs such as antibiotics, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Treatment for indigestion usually consists of lifestyle changes.  Some recommended lifestyle changes may be: avoiding foods that trigger indigestion; eating 5 to 6 small meals per day instead of 3 large meals; reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and caffeine; avoiding certain pain relievers; finding alternatives for medication that trigger indigestion; controlling stress and anxiety.  Over-the- counter antacids may help control your symptoms of indigestion.  Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly will also help to prevent symptoms of indigestion.  If you have any further questions, contact your gastroenterologist.

References:
1.  “Indigestion.”  Mayo Clinic.  Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.  May 1, 2013.  Web 13 May 2013.
2. “Indigestion.”  Medline Plus.  U.S. National Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health.  February 4, 2011.  Web 13 May 2013.