Indigestion (dyspepsia) happens to almost everyone. Eating habits or a chronic digestive problem can trigger indigestion.
Indigestion can cause:
Other common symptoms of include:
- feeling full during a meal and not being able to finish eating
- feeling very full after eating a normal-sized meal
- burning sensation in the stomach or esophagus
- gnawing sensation in the stomach
- experiencing excessive gas or belching
Don't’ ignore severe symptoms of indigestion. See your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:
Indigestion something results from overeating 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 increase your risk for abdominal discomfort.
Other common causes of poor digestion include:
Eating habits and lifestyle choices can cause. Symptoms of indigestion can also be caused by:
Peptic ulcers are sores in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, or duodenum that can be caused by H. pyloribacteria.
Sometimes, there’s no known cause of indigestion, which is referred to as functional dyspepsia. Functional dyspepsia may be caused by abnormal muscle motility, like a squeezing action, in the area where the stomach muscles digest and move food into the small intestine.
Your doctor will likely start by asking questions about your medical history and eating habits. You’ll also undergo a physical examination. Your doctor may 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 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. You’ll be mildly sedated for this procedure.
An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy can diagnose the following:
- reflux esophagitis
- inflammatory diseases
- infection cancer
Several medications can be used to treat indigestion, but they may cause side effects. Over-the-counter antacids like Maalox and Mylanta help neutralize stomach acid, but may cause diarrhea or constipation.
H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) like Zantac and Pepcid reduce stomach acid. Side effects are uncommon, but can include:
- rash or itching
- bleeding or bruising
Prokinetics, like prescription medications Reglan and Motilium, improve the muscle action — or motility — of the digestive tract. These medications may cause:
- involuntary movements or spasms
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec reduce stomach acid, but are stronger than H2RAs. Side effects include:
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain
Both PPIs and H2 drugs are typically used to treat peptic ulcers. If H. pylori are the cause of ulcers, these drugs are used in combination with antibiotics like clarithromycin and amoxicillin.
Lifestyle changes and home care
Medication isn’t the only treatment for indigestion. You may be able to improve digestion and relieve uncomfortable symptoms with lifestyle adjustments. For example:
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day.
- Avoid spicy, fatty foods that can trigger heartburn.
- Eat slower and don’t eat before lying down.
- Stop smoking, if you smoke.
- Lose excess body weight.
- Reduce the amount of coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol you consume.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Stop taking medications that can irritate the stomach lining, such as NSAIDs
- Reduce stress through yoga or relaxation therapy.
Poor digestion is a common problem. However, you shouldn’t ignore indigestion that’s:
- unresponsive to over-the-counter medication
If left untreated, the symptoms of indigestion may interfere with your quality of life.
If you’re can’t manage indigestion at home, speak with your doctor. They can help determine the underlying cause of your digestion issues.