Indigestion (dyspepsia) is a mild discomfort in the upper belly or abdomen,it occurs during or right after eating. It may feel like:
A feeling of heat, burning, or pain in the area between the navel and the lower part of the breastbone
An unpleasant feeling of fullness that comes on soon after a meal begins or when the meal is over
Indigestion is NOT the same as
Dyspepsia; Uncomfortable fullness after meals
Most of the time indigestion is not a sign of a serious health problem unless it occurs with other symptoms. These may include bleeding, weight loss, or trouble swallowing.
Rarely, the discomfort of a heart attack is mistaken for indigestion.
Indigestion may be triggered by:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating spicy, fatty, or greasy foods
- Eating too much (overeating)
- Eating too fast
- Stress or being nervous
- Eating high-fiber foods
- Smoking tobacco
- Drinking too much caffeine
Other causes of indigestion are:
Gastritis(when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed or swollen)
- Swelling of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Ulcers (stomach or intestinal ulcer)
- Use of certain medicinessuch as antibiotics, aspirin, and over-the-counter pain medicines (NSAIDs)
Changing the way you eat may help your symptoms. Steps you can take include:
Allow enough time for meals.
Chew food carefully and completely.
Avoid arguments during meals.
Avoid excitement or exercise right after a meal.
Relax and get rest if indigestion is caused by stress.
Avoid aspirin and other NSAIDs. If you must take them, do so on a full stomach.
Antacids may relieve indigestion.
Medicines you can buy without a prescription, such as ranitidine (Zantac) and omeprazole (Prilosec OTC) can relieve symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe these medicines in higher doses or for longer periods of time.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Get medical help right away if your symptoms include jaw pain,
Call your health care provider if:
- Your indigestion symptoms change noticeably
- Your symptoms last longer than a few days
- You have
unexplained weight loss
- You have sudden, severe
- You have trouble swallowing
- You have yellow coloring of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- You vomit blood or pass blood in the stool
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your doctor will perform a physical exam on the stomach area and digestive tract. You will be asked questions about your symptoms.
You may have some tests.
Ultrasoundtest of the abdomen
- Blood tests
- Upper edoscopy
Related:Taking antacids, Belching, Abdominal bloating, Nausea and vomiting – adults, Fiber, Stress and anxiety, Depression, Heart attack