Last Updated: 24th July, 2022
Dyspepsia, also referred to as indigestion, is a term describing the upper abdomen discomfort or pain. It is not a medical condition. The term relates to a group of symptoms commonly associated with bloating, nausea, burping, and discomfort. Indigestion is related to eating or drinking across most instances. Indigestion might have caused not stimulated by underlying medical condition. Case studies usually involve eating excessively, drinking excessively, intolerance of food, or taking certain pills or medicines on an empty stomach.
But what would that imply precisely? Well, indigestion implies a lack of adequate digestion in easy terms, but most individuals have a unique explanation. Some people describe it as a feeling of fullness and some as bloating or discomfort in the abdomen. So what exactly is indigestion? In this article, we will explain about indigestion and the common causes of indigestion that everyone needs to know.
What Is Dyspepsia Or Indigestion?
Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is simply defined as pain or discomfort which is centered in the upper abdomen. Indigestion is defined as a group of gastrointestinal diseases that happen together, as per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. A person suffering from indigestion can feel:
- Abdominal pain.
- Burning sensation in the stomach.
- Discomfort in the upper abdomen.
- Feeling of full too soon when you eat, which means you cannot complete your meal.
- Uncomfortably full after eating, which often indicates a failure to complete a normal meal course.
Indigestion can also excessively cause bloating or belching, nausea and even vomiting.
Causes Of Dyspepsia Or Indigestion
Most of us might have experienced indigestion at some point or the other. It can be caused due to improper eating habits or a chronic digestive problem. Some of the indigestion’s usual causes typically involve:
Poor Eating Habits: In some cases, indigestion can be caused due to overeating or eating too fast. It may also trigger abdominal discomfort to eat too much spicy, sour and oily foods. Moreover, going to bed immediately after meals can make it difficult to digest.
Smoking: Numerous studies have reported the association between cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption with indigestion. Cigarette smoking raises the frequency of episodes of gastroesophageal reflux by decreasing the pressure on the esophageal sphincter and bicarbonate salivary secretion, which helps with digestion.
Certain Medications: Certain medications such as paracetamol and aspirin are known to increase the risk of indigestion. Using conventional painkillers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is also reported to cause indigestion and several other gastrointestinal problems.
Diseases: The indigestion symptoms could be triggered by certain conditions, including:
GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease): It is a condition that causes a burning sensation (heartburn). However, in around 60% of people with GERD, heartburn along with epigastric (upper central region of the abdomen) pain or discomfort which radiates towards the throat is reported, which indicates indigestion.
Peptic Ulcers: Most people with peptic ulcers show symptoms of indigestion such as postprandial epigastric pain or night pain. It is a condition which is characterized by sores in the lining of the stomach, which can even be caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
Gallstones: This condition can cause unexplained dyspepsia which leads to pain or discomfort in the upper abdominal region. It is different from that seen in biliary colic, a condition that causes severe, episodic and constant epigastric pain which usually lasts for several hours.
Gastric Cancer: It is the fear of cancer due to which many people with dyspepsia consult a doctor. Around 60-90% of patients with gastric cancer present with dyspepsia.
Functional Dyspepsia: In certain cases, causes of indigestion are not identified. This condition is referred as functional dyspepsia. It could be due to abnormal muscle motility in the stomach where food is digested and moved into the small intestine.
Dyspepsia Or Indigestion: When To Go To A doctor?
Indigestion is a common problem which should not be ignored. If you have severe indigestion or fail to handle the situation at home thru the home remedies or counter medication, you must consult a doctor. This is because, if left untreated, it can lead to worsening of the symptoms and may even interfere with your quality of life.
If you experience symptoms like excessive vomiting, bloody nausea, dark stools or difficulty swallowing together with indigestion, you must see a doctor immediately.