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Many people have experienced indigestion at some point in their life. Whether it is a chronic situation or heartburn, people have experienced some sort of discomfort. Indigestion is a functional disease that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) organs.
Primarily, indigestion affects the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. On occasions, it has been known to affect the esophagus. This disease is also known as dyspepsia. Of course, there are several different GI issues in which indigestion is a problem. For instance, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Some people can feel symptoms of indigestion on a daily basis. Other’s are lucky enough to only feel heartburn once in a while. Heartburn can be caused by various reasons. Like if a person were to eat spicy or greasy foods. Some people can even be affected by citric acids; like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits.
Some of the symptoms people feel from dyspepsia are:
- Feeling full early on during a meal. This is when a person has barely eaten anything and feels like they have eaten a ton.
- Awkward fullness after a meal is finished. Meaning the full feeling lasts much longer than necessary.
- Upper abdomen discomfort. A person may feel mild to severe pain between the bottom of the breastbone and the naval.
- A burning feeling in the upper abdomen. This is an uncomfortable sensation of tightness due to a buildup of gas.
- Nausea. The unwelcomed feeling that one is going to vomit.
Some people have reported experiencing vomiting or belching due to indigestion. These are less frequent symptoms. Many people mistake indigestion for heartburn. There are times these two things go hand and hand. However, heartburn is not indigestion, they are in fact two different conditions.
Some people believe indigestion can be caused by an abnormal input from intestinal sensory nerves, abnormal stimulation of the intestines by motor nerves, and abnormal processing of input from the sensory nerves.
There are many treatments available to assist in symptoms of dyspepsia. These can range from smooth muscle relaxants, promotility drugs, or education on what causes the symptoms. Due to acid reflux being so common, it is normal to start treatment with a trial of stomach acid suppressants.
Eliminating foods and beverages that provoke dyspepsia symptoms is also a great start. There are also many natural or home remedies that can assist with some of the symptoms. However, these products have not been proven to prevent dyspepsia.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Medicine Net: Indigestion (Dyspepsia, Upset Stomach Pain); by Jay W. Marks, MD
Mayo Clinic: Indigestion
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