Indigestion, also referred to as dyspepsia, is not a medical condition, but rather the name for a combination of symptoms that many people experience after eating. Indigestion most commonly includes burning and pain in the upper abdomen, premature fullness during a meal and uncomfortable fullness following a meal, but some people also experience bloating and nausea.
Some people experience indigestion as a result of eating too quickly or overeating. Indigestion can also occur in response to certain trigger foods, which most commonly include chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, fatty foods and greasy foods. Nervousness, emotional trauma or certain medications may make indigestion and bloating following a meal more likely. Chronic digestive disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, bile duct diseases, pancreatitis and cancer, may also increase the risk of indigestion. When indigestion occurs as a result of muscle abnormalities where the stomach meets the small intestine, it is called functional dyspepsia.
In order to diagnose indigestion, your doctor may perform a series of medical tests including an abdominal ultrasound, an abdominal CT scan, X-rays and endoscopy. These medical tests can help determine if you have indigestion as well as rule out the possibility of other medical disorders that may be causing the symptoms of indigestion.
Changing your lifestyle and diet habits is often enough to control indigestion and avoid the symptoms. Eating small low-fat meals regularly throughout the day gives your body time to digest the food without causing any uncomfortable symptoms. Avoiding trigger foods, such as coffee, chocolate and alcohol, can also help reduce the occurrence and severity of symptoms. If indigestion is caused by certain medications, your doctor may switch your prescription to a medication that does not cause problems. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are also available to neutralize and reduce the production of stomach acid, which can help prevent indigestion.
Although it can be severely uncomfortable, indigestion is not considered a serious medical condition. Many people experience indigestion regularly and it does not cause any permanent harm to your digestive tract. The feelings associated with indigestion are often mistaken for a heart attack. If you experience chest pain, back pain, jaw pain, anxiety or an increase in sweating, contact your doctor immediately.
- stomach image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.