Acid Indigestion: What It Is and What You Can Do About It

In the past, some physicians would have diagnosed peptic ulcer disease in a patient complaining of upper middle abdominal (epigastric) pain and nausea. Now, using such investigative tools as detailed barium X-rays or gastroscopy, physicians can quickly rule out an ulcer diagnosis. In fact, twice as many tested will not have an ulcer as will have one in this grouping of dyspeptic people. A bit like being overweight, tight clothes add unwanted pressure to your stomach and therefore will increase acid reflux.

Additionally, there are other health-related reasons for reducing dietary fat. Patients with functional disorders, including indigestion, are frequently found to be suffering from depression and/or anxiety.

Your doctor may also suggest you have an upper endoscopy to look closely at the inside of the stomach. During the procedure, an endoscope — a flexible tube that contains a light and a camera to produce images from inside the body — is used to look inside your stomach. If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion, make an appointment to see your doctor. Because indigestion is such a broad term, it is helpful to provide your doctor with a precise description of the discomfort you are experiencing. In describing the symptoms, try to define where in the abdomen the discomfort usually occurs.

Heartburn is one symptom of indigestion

A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits such as irregular meals, skipping meals and consuming spicy, oily and fast-food can cause acidity. Along with this, obesity, stress, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and prolonged use of certain medications such as pain killers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can lead to other digestive ailments. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, GERD accounts for 22 to 66 percent of visits to the emergency room for noncardiac chest pain. However, the symptoms are often similar enough to warrant taking them seriously and getting checked out for a more serious condition like a heart attack.

The answer is unclear. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection of the stomach. Some patients with mild upper gastrointestinal symptoms who were thought to have abnormal function of the stomach or intestines have been found to have stomachs infected with H.

Sometimes people have persistent indigestion that is not related to any of these factors. This type of indigestion is called functional, or non-ulcer dyspepsia. Swallowing excessive air when eating may increase the symptoms of belching and bloating, which are often associated with indigestion.

Some recent studies have suggested that long-term PPI use may increase the risk of dementia, heart attack, and chronic kidney disease, although this has not been proved. Talk to your doctor about any irregular stomach pains or frequent pain, diarrhea, nausea or constipation.

Indigestion is also very common and can stem from certain lifestyle habits or eating choices. If you eat certain foods, eat too fast, smoke, drink alcohol or are often fatigued, you may experience indigestion. PPIs are usually taken under the care of a doctor to prevent acid reflux from recurring, but certain ones, like Prilosec, are now available over-the-counter.

However, there is no hard and fast rule, as irritating foods vary among individuals. Avoiding large portions at mealtime and eating smaller, more frequent meals is important to normalize upper gut motility. Following meals, it may help to avoid lying down for at least two hours. People could even suffer from a ‘silent’ form of the condition – without the more obvious heartburn symptoms. The poll, released ahead of Gut Week 2016, also found other regular complaints include ­indigestion (28%), heartburn (26%) and abdominal pain (24%).

When indigestion is caused by an underlying condition, that condition can also have its own complications. Your doctor will rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may perform several blood tests and you may have X-rays of the stomach or small intestine.

Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is a form of indigestion that occurs when acid and digestive juices flow back up from the stomach to the gullet, which doesn’t have a protective lining, so it causes inflammation and pain. The most common and uncomfortable symptom of acid indigestion is a gnawing, burning pain in the pit of the stomach. However, other symptoms of acid indigestion include gas, nausea/upset stomach, burping and vomiting. According to NIDDK (2004), excess stomach acid does not necessarily cause or result from acid indigestion.

How Can I Prevent Indigestion?

Subjective symptoms are more unreliable than objective signs in identifying homogenous groups of patients. As a result, groups of patients with indigestion who are undergoing treatment are likely to contain some patients who do not have indigestion, which may dilute (negatively affect) the results of the treatment. Moreover, the results of treatment must be evaluated on the basis of subjective responses (such as improvement of pain). In addition to being more unreliable, subjective responses are more difficult to measure than objective responses (for example, healing of an ulcer). Intolerance to lactose (the sugar in milk) often is blamed for indigestion.

You may experience this if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Dysphagia may occur occasionally or on a more regular basis. The frequency depends on the severity of your reflux and your treatment.

Indigestion is not a particularly good term for the ailment since it implies that there is “dyspepsia” or abnormal digestion of food, and this most probably is not the case. In fact, another common name for dyspepsia is indigestion, which, for the same reason, is no better than the term dyspepsia!

You can experience indigestion when you drink coffee or from an underlying medical condition. Coffee increases stomach acid production, which could lead to indigestion as a normal side effect, or indigestion can occur as a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD. Your symptoms should not last more than a few hours. If your symptoms continue for more than a day or they continue to get worse, call your doctor.

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