Indigestion (dyspepsia) happens to almost
everyone. Eating habits or a chronic digestive problem can trigger indigestion.
Indigestion can cause stomach pain or
bloating, or heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. Other common symptoms of include:
- feeling full during a meal and
not being able to finish eating
- feeling very full after eating a
- burning sensation in the stomach
- gnawing sensation in the stomach
- experiencing excessive gas or
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
Eating habits and lifestyle choices can cause.
Symptoms of indigestion can also be caused by:
Sometimes, there’s no known cause of
indigestion (functional dyspepsia). Functional dyspepsia may be caused by
abnormal muscle motility (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. And your doctor may order X-ray images of your abdomen to
see if there are any abnormalities in your digestive tract.
Your doctor may also collect samples of your
blood, breath, and stool to check for a type of bacteria that causes peptic
Your doctor can use an endoscopic 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. Then you doctor can 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
options for indigestion
Several medications can treat indigestion,
but 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 (motility) of the digestive
tract. These medications may cause the following:
- 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
- Avoid spicy, fatty foods that can
- Eat slower and don’t eat before
- Stop smoking.
- Lose excess body weight.
- Reduce the amount of coffee, soft
drinks, and alcohol you consume.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Stop taking medicines that
irritate the stomach lining, such as NSAIDs
- Reduce stress through yoga or
Poor digestion is a common problem, but you shouldn’t
ignore indigestion that’s chronic, severe, or doesn’t respond 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 to fine the underlying cause of poor digestion.