Functional dyspepsia is referred to as a group of symptoms that affect the gastrointestinal tract. These symptoms may include stomach pain, bloating, belching, nausea, discomfort, etc. However, the inference of the term discomfort may vary from person to person. It is called functional because there is no observable structural abnormality seen in the gastrointestinal tract, but the symptoms still exist and persist. (1)
Is Functional Dyspepsia A Serious Condition?
Functional dyspepsia is the commonest form of dyspepsia and is not associated with any serious health conditions or consequences. Though the symptoms of this condition may be long-lasting, they are treatable and manageable with the help of a combination of treatment approaches like lifestyle changes and medication.
Can Functional Dyspepsia Be Reversed?
Functional dyspepsia cannot be completely reversed or cured. However, the symptoms of this condition can be effectively managed with the help of lifestyle changes, medications or both when needed. The treatment measures to manage functional dyspepsia may include-
- Managing, eliminating or lessening any factors that may contribute to stress and/or anxiety
- Identifying and avoiding such foods or factors that worsen your functional dyspepsia symptoms. These may include aerated or carbonated drinks, chewing gum, fatty and spicy food, drinking with a straw, etc.
- It is advisable to eat smaller and frequent meals, instead of eating one large meal
- It is also recommended to keep your weight in check. Being overweight or obese can worsen your symptoms significantly and can even make it worse to treat the condition. Give up the habits of smoking, tobacco chewing and drinking alcohol. (3)
- If these changes alone do not help in managing your condition, there may be a need to pair up these changes with appropriate medication. These medicines may include antacids, proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole, lansoprazole, etc.), histamine blockers (ranitidine), etc.
- If there is an infection caused due to h pylori bacterium, it may need a treatment with antibiotics to manage symptoms of functional dyspepsia
- Some pain medication may be needed to treat the pain and discomfort caused due to functional dyspepsia. (3)
Prognosis For Functional Dyspepsia
Functional dyspepsia is a persistent condition of the digestive tract and it is not associated with any serious consequences like stomach cancer. In most people, the symptoms will come and go over time and are much likely to be influenced by factors like stress, depression, anxiety, unhealthy food habits, smoking, tobacco chewing, etc. most people will also be able to manage their symptoms efficiently and in many cases, the symptoms may eventually fade away completely. (1,2)
Prevention Of Functional Dyspepsia
Once diagnosed with functional dyspepsia, it may not be possible to get rid of it or cure it completely. However, some measures can be taken so that it doesn’t affect you in the first place. You may-
- Try not to talk while chewing. Also, try not to keep your mouth open while chewing. The unwanted air that goes inside due to this may aggravate your condition
- Try eating slowly and try to chew the food completely before swallowing
- Try avoiding spicy and hot food consumption on a regular basis. Occasionally is fine
- Try not to overeat
- Try to eat as early as possible in the evening, before going to bed. Eating too late can cause difficulties in digestion and can slowly lead towards dyspepsia
- Limit the intake of caffeine
- Quit smoking and tobacco chewing. Limit the consumption of alcohol
- Avoid aerated and carbonated beverages
- Try meditation, yoga or other relaxing techniques, if your functional dyspepsia aggravates due to stress or anxiety (4)
Functional dyspepsia is commonly found in many people around the world. It is, in fact, the commonest type of dyspepsia seen among people. Though it can’t be reversed, it is a manageable condition, can be treated through lifestyle changes and medication and has a good prognosis. It is not known to produce any serious consequences.