Indigestion, also referred to as dyspepsia, is characterized by discomfort or pain experienced after eating, typically during the process of digestion. It occurs when there is some disruption in the normal digestive process. It’s important to note that indigestion can result from various factors, including dietary choices and eating habits.
Indigestion is a common experience for many, but some individuals endure it daily, significantly impacting their quality of life. When indigestion becomes a substantial issue, seeking medical guidance becomes crucial. It’s important to note that while there can be underlying gastrointestinal (GI) diseases that require treatment, in many cases, indigestion can be alleviated through lifestyle adjustments and medications.
Indigestion symptoms can include:
- Early fullness during a meal, where you may find it difficult to finish your meal despite eating little.
- Extended fullness after a meal, with the feeling of being overly full lingering longer than usual.
- Discomfort in the upper abdomen, often manifesting as mild to severe pain between the lower part of the breastbone and the bellybutton.
- A burning sensation in the upper abdomen, causing discomfort and heat between the lower part of the breastbone and the bellybutton.
- Bloating in the upper abdomen, leading to a sensation of tightness in that area.
- Nausea, with an urge to vomit.
Less common symptoms may include vomiting and belching. In some cases, indigestion may also coincide with heartburn, which involves a painful or burning feeling in the center of the chest, possibly radiating into the neck or back, particularly during or after eating.
Mild indigestion is typically not a cause for concern. However, if discomfort persists for over two weeks, consult a healthcare professional. Seek immediate medical attention if severe pain is accompanied by:
- Unintentional weight loss or loss of appetite.
- Frequent vomiting or vomiting with blood.
- Dark, tarry stools.
- Increasing difficulty in swallowing.
- Fatigue or weakness, which may indicate anemia.
A heart attack can mimic indigestion symptoms. If you experience indigestion along with sweating, shortness of breath, or a gripping sensation in your upper abdomen, seek immediate medical attention.
There are several potential reasons of indigestion. Indigestion frequently has a link to lifestyle and can be brought on by certain foods, beverages, or medications. Among the typical causes of indigestion are:
- Overeating or Eating Too Quickly: Consuming excessive quantities of food or eating hurriedly can stretch the stomach and increase the likelihood of acid reflux.
- Fatty, Greasy, or Spicy Foods: High-fat meals can stimulate the production of excess stomach acids and enzymes, potentially leading to tissue irritation.
- Dietary Fat Content: Diets rich in fats can prompt the release of more acids and enzymes, irritating the gastrointestinal tissues.
- Smoking and Alcohol: Both smoking and alcohol consumption can irritate the mucous lining throughout the gastrointestinal tract, leading to inflammation.
- Stress and Anxiety: Emotional stress and anxiety can influence the gastrointestinal system, as the gut and the brain are interconnected through nerves.
- Undiagnosed Food Intolerances: Difficulty digesting specific foods due to underlying intolerances can contribute to indigestion.
- Excessive NSAID Use: The overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen can erode the stomach lining, leading to indigestion.
One of the most typical causes of indigestion is a disorder known as functional or non-ulcer dyspepsia, which is connected to irritable bowel syndrome.
Occasionally, dyspepsia is brought on by additional disorders, such as:
- Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach lining.
- Peptic Ulcers: Open sores in the stomach or small intestine.
- Celiac Disease: An autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption.
- Gallstones: Hard deposits in the gallbladder that can cause discomfort.
- Constipation: Difficulty passing stools regularly.
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas.
- Stomach Cancer: A rare but serious condition that can cause indigestion.
- Intestinal Blockage: Obstruction in the intestines hindering proper digestion.
- Intestinal Ischemia: Reduced blood flow to the intestines.
- Diabetes: This metabolic disorder can affect digestion
- Thyroid Disease: Hormonal imbalances can impact digestion.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to indigestion.