Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is improper breakdown or absorption of food, caused due to numerous reasons. The stomach produces acid that helps in the digestion of food. There is a mucous lining present in the stomach and the esophagus that protects these organs from the acid. Sometimes, due to certain reasons, the mucous lining gets damaged, which results in the inflammation of the stomach lining due to the stomach acid. Secondly, certain foodstuffs can also trigger indigestion.
Irregular eating habits is the most common cause of indigestion. Extremely citrus, spicy or fried foods can build up acid in the stomach causing upset stomach. Swallowing food very quickly leads to intake of excess air in the stomach, which leads to bloating. Drinking excess alcohol and smoking also contribute in frequent indigestion. It can also be a side effect of certain medications. On the other hand, excess stress, insomnia, and anxiety are other significant causes of indigestion. Sometimes, indigestion can also be a symptom of other disorders like gallstones, ulcers, GERD, H.pylori infection, etc.
Indigestion is often experienced after having meals. Discomfort and pain in the stomach are the common symptoms.The pain and discomfort is experienced in the upper stomach. Following are the other symptoms:
- Fullness in stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal distention
Indigestion is commonly seen in women during pregnancy. This is due to the hormonal changes that take place in this phase. It is also one of the side effects of birth control pills. On the other hand, excess weight gain during pregnancy also leads to indigestion as the uterus exerts pressure on the stomach.
As aforementioned, in most of the cases, indigestion is not a serious disorder. However, if it is accompanied with other symptoms like bleeding, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, jaundice, etc., it is recommended to consult the doctor immediately. Secondly, if the aforementioned symptoms are observed with no obvious cause, it is wise to contact a doctor.
Symptoms of dyspepsia can be treated by taking over-the-counter medications. Secondly, antacids, prescription medication like H2 blockers are also effective. If it is caused due to other underlying disease, the doctor will recommend the related treatment methods.
Indigestion can be overcome by following certain preventive measures. Change in lifestyle and eating habits contributes a lot in preventing this condition.
► You should avoid or limit the intake of spicy and fried foods, especially at night.
► You should stop smoking and avoid consumption of alcohol.
► It is advisable to chew food slowly and carefully.
► You should not recline on the chair, lie down or go to bed immediately after having meals.
► It is recommended to go to bed 2-3 hours after having meals.
► Try to overcome stress by following stress-relieving relaxation techniques.