WITHDRAWAL OF RANITIDINE

In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that all forms of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine (Zantac) be removed from the U.S. market. This recommendation was made because unacceptable levels of NDMA, a probable carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical), were found in some ranitidine products. If you’re prescribed ranitidine, talk with your doctor about safe alternative options before stopping the drug. If you’re taking OTC ranitidine, stop taking the drug and talk with your healthcare provider about alternative options. Instead of taking unused ranitidine products to a drug take-back site, dispose of them according to the product’s instructions or by following the FDA’s guidance.

Indigestion is the name given to a collection of digestive symptoms, including a feeling of fullness or discomfort in your upper abdomen, heartburn, and nausea. The medical term for indigestion is dyspepsia.

People often experience indigestion after eating large meals. However, several other factors can lead you to develop symptoms of indigestion.

There are many possible causes of indigestion. These can range from dietary and lifestyle habits to the side effects of medications and serious underlying conditions.

Lifestyle

You experience indigestion when your body cannot digest food as normal. This may be the result of eating a lot or eating too fast.

Spicy, greasy, and fatty foods also increase the risk of indigestion. Lying down too soon after eating can make it harder to digest food. This increases your risk of abdominal discomfort.

Other common causes of poor digestion include:

Medication

Indigestion can be a side effect of taking specific medications.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are one class of medications that can cause indigestion.

Antibiotics, medications that treat or prevent bacterial infections, can also irritate the digestive system and cause indigestion as a side effect.

Medical conditions

Several medical conditions can also cause indigestion. These include:

Sometimes you may experience indigestion with no apparent cause. The medical term for this is functional dyspepsia.

Learn more about functional dyspepsia here.

Indigestion can cause:

Other common symptoms include:

  • quickly feeling full during a meal
  • burning sensation in the stomach or esophagus
  • experiencing excessive gas or belching

Indigestion may accompany severe symptoms such as:

If you experience any of these severe symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately.

Indigestion does not typically lead to severe complications. However, severe or persistent symptoms may make it more difficult for you to eat the necessary amount of food. This may have an effect on the overall nutritional balance of your diet.

You may also experience indigestion alongside other symptoms, which themselves can lead to complications. For example, GERD can lead to the following complications:

Your doctor will likely start by asking questions about your medical history and eating habits. You may also undergo a physical examination. Your doctor might order X-rays of your abdomen to see if there are any abnormalities in your digestive tract.

They may also collect blood, breath, and stool samples to check for a type of bacteria that causes peptic ulcers. Your doctor can also order an endoscopic exam to check your upper digestive tract for abnormalities.

During an endoscopy, your doctor passes a small tube with a camera and biopsy tool through your esophagus into your stomach. They can then check the lining of the digestive tract for diseases and collect tissue samples.

An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy can diagnose the following:

Indigestion often goes away on its own and will pass with time. For example, if you experience indigestion after a large meal, your abdominal discomfort may lessen as your body begins to digest the food you’ve eaten.

However, some medications and lifestyle changes can help you treat and prevent indigestion symptoms.

Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat common indigestion symptoms, but they can cause side effects.

H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) like Pepcid reduce stomach acid. Side effects are uncommon but can include:

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), like Prilosec, reduce stomach acid but are stronger than H2RAs. Side effects include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • cough
  • headache
  • backache
  • dizziness
  • abdominal pain

Prokinetics, like prescription medications Reglan and Motilium, improve the muscle action of the digestive tract. However, taking these medications may cause side effects, including:

Home remedies

Medication isn‘t the only treatment for indigestion. You may be able to improve digestion and relieve uncomfortable symptoms with lifestyle changes. For example, it can be helpful to:

  • avoid foods that can trigger heartburn
  • eat slower
  • don’t eat before lying down
  • try to stop smoking, if you smoke
  • try to maintain a moderate weight
  • reduce the amount of coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol you consume
  • reduce stress through yoga or relaxation therapy

Poor digestion is a common problem. However, you shouldn’t ignore indigestion that‘s:

  • chronic (long term)
  • severe
  • unresponsive to OTC medication

If left untreated, the symptoms of indigestion may interfere with your quality of life.

If you’re unable to manage indigestion at home, speak with a doctor. They can help determine the underlying cause of your digestion issues.