Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a common term used to describe a persistent or recurrent discomfort or pain felt in the upper abdomen just below the ribs.1 Discomfort refers to a subjective sensation such as upper abdominal fullness, early satiety, bloating, belching, nausea and vomiting.
Indigestion can be experienced by each person in different ways. So, the feeling of indigestion you feel might be slightly different from that of your friends. However, in most cases, indigestion is just mild and may only occur occasionally.
If you have indigestion, you may have:
– Limit fried, spicy gassy foods
– Enjoy smaller portions
– Limit alcohol
– Quit smoking
– Wait an hour after eating to exercise
– Wear loose clothing
– Manage stress
– Manage your weight
– Avoid eating for a few hours before bed
There are many possible causes of indigestion. These can range from dietary and lifestyle habits to the side effects of medications and serious underlying conditions.
– Overeating or eating too quickly
– Fatty, greasy or spicy foods
– Lying down soon after a meal
– Too much caffeine, alcohol, chocolate or carbonated beverages
– Cigarette smoking
– Anxiety or stress
– Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID), such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen
– Certain antibiotics
– Thyroid medicines
– Ulcers, GERD, Gastroparesis (a condition where stomach does not empty properly, often occurs in diabetes patient)
– Irritable bowel syndromes (IBS)
– Thyroid disease
– Pregnancy and obesity
Indigestion often goes away on its own and will pass with time. However, some lifestyle changes and medications can help you prevent and treat indigestion symptoms.
If your indigestion persists, medications may help. Over-the-counter antacids(eg. Gaviscon Double Action) are generally the first choice. Other options include:
*Proton pump inhibitors, H2-receptor blockers, prokinetics are controlled medications. Consult your pharmacist or doctor for further information.
Mild indigestion is usually nothing to worry about. Consult your doctor if your discomfort persists for more than two weeks and if you have any of the symptoms:
Symptoms similar to indigestion may be caused by heart attacks. Seek medical attention immediately if you have:
In a nutshell, indigestion is completely normal and most people will certainly experience indigestion in some form throughout their lives. But if you’re unsure or unable to manage indigestion at home, feel free to approach any of our caring pharmacists at Caring Pharmacy for more information on how to deal with your indigestion.