Causes and Symptoms of Indigestion

When our stomach does not digest the food properly, this condition is known as indigestion, dyspepsia or upset stomach. Many of us may have experienced it because it is a common problem. It is not a disease rather a group of symptoms. Pain or discomfort in the stomach or abdomen is usually felt by the people who have indigestion. Let’s discuss what exactly causes indigestion, its symptoms and treatment.

Causes of Indigestion

Gastroesophageal reflux disease and gastritis are the main causes of indigestion. Other causes of indigestion are food allergy, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroparesis, chronic intestinal ischemia, peptic ulcer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, and coeliac disease. Some common causes of indigestion are:

  • Overeating
  • Eating very fast
  • Consuming too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Eating spicy, fatty or greasy foods
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Emotional changes
  • Eating too much chocolate or soda
  • Gallstones
  • Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis)
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Infection with helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Nervousness
  • Obesity
  • Inflammation o pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Smoking
  • Stomach cancer
  • Long-term use of some medications

Signs and Symptoms of Indigestion

  • Pain in stomach
  • A feeling of fullness after eating
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Vomiting
  • Black stools
  • Swallowing problems
  • Chest pain during exertion
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Excessive gas
  • Acidic taste in the mouth
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea or constipation

Best Diet for Dyspepsia Patients

Food high in fiber is best for dyspepsia patients. Fiber is used to clear out the intestine and make digestion easier. Foods that contain fiber are nuts, legumes, fruits, and wholegrain foods. Cereals and yogurts also contain a good amount of fiber and can make digestion easier. Avoid spicy and greasy foods. Drink plenty of water especially before eating food because fluids help the digestion process. Do not eat too much nor eat too quickly. Do not eat much at once, instead eat in gaps.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Indigestion for one day may not be very serious and do not require treatment. But if it continues for weeks and months, then you must consult a doctor. The doctor will ask about the symptoms and severity of the symptoms. He will also check your medical history. After inspection, the doctor may prescribe the following tests:

1- Blood Test

The doctor will ask for a blood test if he notices any symptoms of anemia.

2- Endoscopy

If the initial treatment does not work for you, endoscopy is done to fully examine your upper gastrointestinal tract. In endoscopy, a long thin tube having a camera at its one end is inserted in your stomach through the mouth to see the underlying cause for dyspepsia.

Some other tests may also be prescribed by your physicians such as the test for diagnosis of helicobacter pylori, liver function test, x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, and an abdominal CT scan.

Treatment depends on the cause of your indigestion. Besides medications, your doctor may ask to change your eating habits.

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