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Indigestion

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Introduction

Indigestion is a health condition caused by several factors. In most cases, the cause is an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle. You should not ignore Indigestion and consult a doctor as it may indicate a severe underlying medical condition.

Indigestion is a gastrointestinal symptom that is initiated by various factors. The patient experiences fullness and abdominal pain. It is also known as dyspepsia or stomach upset. Frequent indigestion affects an individual’s quality of life.

In severe cases, the patient may require leave from work or school. Indigestion may be chronic or occasional. Patients may also experience functional indigestion, which means that there is no specific cause backing it up.

In some cases, indigestion may indicate a gastrointestinal disease. The patient may experience discomfort of varying severity at different times

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What are the Causes of Indigestion?

There are various causes of Indigestion. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Excessive eating: Eating habits play an essential role in maintaining the health of the gastrointestinal system. People who consume heavy meals or eat too fast may have this condition.

Spicy and greasy foods and food containing acidic ingredients such as tomatoes or oranges may also cause Indigestion. Going to bed just after having dinner may also be a possible reason.

  • Excessive drinking: People in the habit of drinking carbonated or fizzy drinks may end up having indigestion. Drinking alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks also results in Indigestion.
  • Psychological conditions: Various psychological conditions may result in indigestion. The conditions may include stress and anxiety. Excessive fatigue and smoking are some other contributing factors.
  • Medications: Various medications affect gastrointestinal health, as their side effects. These medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, steroids, antibiotics, thyroid medications, estrogens, oral contraceptives, and iron supplements.
  • Gastrointestinal disease: Indigestion may also arise as a result of various underlying gastrointestinal disorders. These may include intestinal ischemia (low blood flow to the intestine), peptic ulcers, stomach cancer, celiac disease, constipation, pancreatitis, and intestinal blockage.
  • Non-Gastrointestinal diseases: Apart from gastrointestinal disease, indigestion can be caused by various non-gastrointestinal diseases. These include severe kidney diseases, thyroid disorders, diabetes, and hyperparathyroidism.
  • Functional indigestion: Functional indigestion is a chronic condition without any apparent cause. It is also known as non-ulcer dyspepsia.

What are the Symptoms of Indigestion?

Despite Indigestion being a common condition, different people experience different symptoms with varying severity. Some of the common symptoms of indigestion are:

  • Upper abdominal discomfort: A person with indigestion may experience upper abdominal discomfort. The discomfort may be due to excessive stretching of abdominal muscles or mild to moderate pain in the abdomen.
  • Bloating: Bloating is another common symptom of indigestion. The patient may have excessive gas formation and feel a tightness in the abdomen.
  • Burning: The patient may experience a burning sensation in the oesophagus or stomach.
  • Stomach fullness: The patient may feel stomach fullness or lose their appetite. The fullness may last longer than expected. In some cases, the patients are unable to eat their meals.
  • Nausea: The patient may also experience nausea. Nausea is the symptom that indicates an urge to vomit.

How is Indigestion Diagnosed?

The doctor may diagnose Indigestion through different methods. Some of the methods for diagnosing Indigestion are:

  • Physical evaluation: In the case of frequent or chronic indigestion, doctors may conduct a preliminary diagnosis by obtaining relevant information about the symptoms. They may also enquire about your medical history and the medications you are taking.
  • Imaging tests: There are various imaging techniques to determine the underlying causes of indigestion. The doctor may advise an X-ray or CT scan to determine any abnormality in the gastrointestinal tract, such as intestinal obstruction.
  • Blood tests: The doctor may recommend some blood tests to rule out the presence of metabolic disorders. Through a blood test, the doctor may also diagnose anaemia, a major cause of Indigestion.
  • Endoscopy: Endoscopies may be performed to investigate the upper digestive tract. The doctor may also take tissue samples for further analysis.
  • Other tests: Other tests that help determine the cause of Indigestion include stool tests and breath tests.

How is Indigestion Treated?

There are various options for treating Indigestion. Some of the methods are:

  • Medications: Various medications help in easing the symptoms of indigestion. The doctor may prescribe various drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) to reduce acid secretion, antibiotics to cure the Infection, and antidepressants to manage depression.
  • Lifestyle changes: Various lifestyle changes help in managing the symptoms of indigestion.

Avoid foods that trigger your Indigestion symptoms. Stay away from eating large meals: instead, eat smaller meals multiple times a day. Avoid excessive alcohol and smoking. Manage your stress through relaxation techniques. Perform regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

What is the Results of Indigestion Treatment?

Indigestion is common and usually not a cause of concern. By effectively implementing the treatment therapies, the condition can be managed.

The doctor aims to determine the cause of the symptoms and treat the patient accordingly. If the cause of symptoms is chronic, the doctor provides the medications necessary to manage the symptoms.

What are the Risk Associated with Indigestion Treatments?

The risk associated with Indigestion depends upon the underlying cause. When the stomach causes indigestion, immediate medical intervention is required.

A healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet help in managing the condition. However, Indigestion significantly hampers the quality of a patient’s life.

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FAQ's

What are the Risk Factors for Indigestion?

Various factors increase the risk of Indigestion. People with conditions such as emotional disorders or digestive diseases are at a greater risk of suffering from Indigestion. People who consume excessive alcohol or live an unhealthy lifestyle are more vulnerable to Indigestion.

How to Prevent Indigestion?

There are various ways through which you can avoid Indigestion. Some of them are:

  • ● Avoid eating spicy food
  • ● Avoid drinking alcohol and carbonated, caffeinated beverages
  • ● Eat slowly
  • ● Avoid exercising with a full stomach
  • ● Have a walk after eating

When should I Consult a Doctor for Indigestion?

You should consult a doctor for Indigestion if you experience chronic symptoms that are affecting your life. You should also consult the doctor if you pass black or tarry stools and experience nausea and vomiting, along with Indigestion.

What is SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)?

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth is one of the major causes of Indigestion. In this condition, there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestine that causes various symptoms, including Indigestion. The doctor may determine SIBO through a hydrogen breath test.

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