Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a chronic digestive condition that includes feelings of prolonged indigestion without a clear structural cause.

However, many nonstructural factors can cause FD, including bacterial infection, diet, and some medications.

This article will detail the causes, treatments, and symptoms of FD.

Dyspepsia is the medical term for indigestion. When you experience symptoms of continuous indigestion, without any structural abnormalities in the upper digestive area, healthcare professionals will refer to your condition as “functional.”

If you have FD, you may feel pain or irritation in your upper digestive tract and experience early or prolonged fullness for a month or longer.

There is no single cause of FD. Many factors can result in FD symptoms, either on their own or in combination with one another.

Some of the causes of the condition may include:

Approximately 20 percent of people around the globe have FD. You may be more at risk of developing FD if you are female, smoke, or take NSAIDs.

Research from 2020 has suggested links between several other factors and the development of FD. These include:

The symptoms of FD can vary from person to person, per 2017 research, but you may experience:

For a doctor to diagnose you with FD, you will generally have to experience symptoms for 1 month or longer. Your symptoms may come and go over time.

A doctor can often diagnose FD by assessing your symptoms and medical history. Long-term feelings of early fullness when eating and prolonged fullness following meals, in addition to upper abdominal discomfort, may be enough for a doctor to diagnose FD.

However, your doctor may order emergency diagnostic tests if you:

  • have lost weight unexpectedly
  • are older than age 60
  • have a family history of cancer in your gastrointestinal tract
  • are bleeding or vomiting

As part of a general diagnosis, doctors may wish to rule out other conditions that can produce similar symptoms. These include:

The tests a doctor may order include:

There’s no known single cause of FD, and your symptoms may vary significantly from someone else’s. In turn, there is a broad range of treatment options for FD, according to a 2018 research review.

The severity of your symptoms will help your doctor decide what treatment is best for you. Often, you may be able to treat the condition without the use of any medication. Or you may need a short-term or long-term medication to manage symptoms.

Your doctor may also recommend a combination of several methods for relieving symptoms of FD.


Your doctor may recommend the following medications to help with FD symptoms:

These medications may be available over the counter or by prescription only. Your doctor will recommend the length of time you should use any given medication.

Psychological intervention

A 2015 study suggests that there may be a link between psychological disorders and FD, both as contributory causes of the condition and as effects.

As a result, psychological interventions may be beneficial in treating those with FD, according to a 2021 review.

More specifically, a 2019 review concluded that hypnotherapy may help alleviate symptoms. However, the researchers noted that further research is necessary to confirm results.

Other psychological interventions that may help relieve symptoms of FD, per a 2020 review, include cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy.

Assessing your diet can be an important first step in managing FD. It may be that what, when, or how you eat is causing your symptoms. In these instances, dietary changes can provide long-term relief.

The following dietary and lifestyle adjustments may help to relieve your FD symptoms:

  • eat smaller meals more frequently
  • skip high-fat foods because they may slow the emptying of your stomach
  • prioritize low FODMAP foods
  • avoid smoking
  • limit alcohol intake
  • limit caffeine intake

While medical professionals may often recommend many of these adjustments, a 2018 review suggested that further large-scale studies are necessary to determine their efficacy.

You may find it beneficial to work with a doctor or a dietitian to determine which dietary changes will work best for you.

The symptoms of FD can interfere with your activities of daily living, so seeking psychological support as part of an overall treatment plan may help you manage your FD symptoms.

FD occurs in each person differently. Symptoms can vary, and your doctor may order tests to confirm a diagnosis.

Remember to get the support you need to help manage the condition. Modifications to your lifestyle, certain medications, and mental health support may relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life.