What Is Dyspepsia?
Dyspepsia or indigestion is a sensation of discomfort in the upper part of the stomach or the abdomen which usually starts immediately after having a meal. There may be a feeling of burning or pain between navel and the lower part of breastbone. It may also present as a discomfort or a sensation of fullness right at the start of having a meal or immediately after it. Rarely, there may be bloating or nausea accompanying it.
What Are The Causes Of Dyspepsia?
Majority of cases of Dyspepsia or Indigestion is due to one of the causes mentioned below:
- Non-ulcer Dyspepsia: It is also known by the name of Functional Dyspepsia. This means that there is no known cause identified for Dyspepsia signifying that all the other causes like ulcers, reflux, esophagitis, gastritis, etc have been ruled out. When screening the stomach, it looks completely normal. This is the most common cause of Dyspepsia. The exact cause is not known however researchers believe that it is caused due to an H. Pylori infection.
- Gastric Ulcers: This is also one of the causes for Dyspepsia. An ulcer develops when there is some sort of damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and the tissues get exposed. At times, these ulcers are termed as peptic ulcers and the disease is called as peptic ulcer disease
- Gastritis: Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract which may ultimately lead to formation of ulcers can also cause Dyspepsia.
- Reflux: This is a condition which is seen commonly when at times some amount of acid from the stomach refluxes back into the esophagus. Frequent reflux may cause irritation of the lining of the esophagus and may cause esophagitis which can also cause Dyspepsia.
- Hiatal Hernia: This is a pathological condition in which there is herniation of the upper part of the stomach into the thoracic region as a result of some sort of tear or weakness in the diaphragmatic region. This is also a common cause for Dyspepsia.
- Medications: Some medications have Dyspepsia in their side effect profile. Most common medications are NSAIDs which tend to cause Dyspepsia. Other medications like digoxin, some types of antibiotics, steroids, iron, calcium antagonists etc, can also cause Dyspepsia.
- H. Pylori Infection: H. Pylori bacterium can infect the stomach liming and is one of the most common infections. It usually produces no symptoms and majority of individuals with this infection do not even know that they have it. This infection is one of the most common causes of ulcers which in turn causes Dyspepsia.
- Some of the rare causes of Dyspepsia are medical conditions like stomach or esophageal cancers in their initial stages.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dyspepsia?
Some of the symptoms of Dyspepsia or indigestion are:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Persistent belching
- Early satiety
- Abdominal distention
How Is Dyspepsia Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Dyspepsia or Indigestion is usually made depending on the symptoms observed by the affected individual and ruling out other medical conditions causing those symptoms. To do this, the treating physician will take a detailed history and conduct a physical examination ir order to identify the cause of Dyspepsia. Blood tests may be done to look for any underlying disease conditions. Stool examination may also be conducted to look for signs of infection or inflammation.
What Are Treatments For Dyspepsia?
Dyspepsia or indigestion is basically treated with medications but all the medications used to treat it have their own side effect profile. Common medications used for Dyspepsia are Maalox or Mylanta which helps treat indigestion but an also cause diarrhea or constipation. Medications like Zantac and Pepcid are also helpful for Dyspepsia but their side effects include the following:
- Easy bruising
- Involuntary spasms
- Excessive fatigue
Medications like Prilosec are also helpful but their side effects include:
- Back pain
- Pain in the abdomen
Do’s And Don’ts For Dyspepsia
Some of the home remedies suggested for Dyspepsia or Indigestion are:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Try and eat several small meals instead of having one large meal
- After eating it is best to sit for a couple of hours before lying down in bed
- Chocolates and alcohol tend to make Dyspepsia worse.
- Avoid spicy and acidic foods
- Avoid smoking
- Try and wear loose clothing, especially around the stomach area
- Maintain an ideal weight.
- Posture: A common cause of reflux is too much of lying down or forward bending, so this needs to be avoided. If an individual has a habit of sitting in a hunched over posture then it may cause extra pressure on the stomach worsening the reflux. Wearing tight fitting belts may also cause extra pressure on the stomach causing worsening of reflux
- While going to bed, it is imperative to make sure that meal is taken at least a couple of hours prior. Also helpful is to keep the stomach dry so it is preferable not to drink anything just prior to going to bed.
- It is helpful to keep the head of the bed elevated as it helps in preventing reflux
Home Remedies For Dyspepsia Or Indigestion:
Papaya is good for digestive problems because it contains an enzyme called papain which plays an important role in digestion. It helps in digestive process.
Aniseeds is useful in treating problems related to indigestion.
Grapes play an important role in dyspepsia. They alleviate heat and provide relief from indigestion and irritation of the stomach.
Bananas are easy to digest. It keeps digestion regular and helps to maintain low blood sugar and curbs overeating. Bananas are good for people who suffer from ulcer. Banana is a barrier against stomach acids.
Bitter herbs are helpful in stimulating digestive secretions needed for assimilation and digestion of food.
Mixture of Honey and Cinnamon Powder: sprinkle cinnamon powder on 2 tablespoons of honey and take this before meals. This helps in relieving acidity and aids in digestion.
Pineapple contains properties that help with digestion and inflammation! Bromelain, an enzyme which is present in pineapple aids digestion.