Indigestion is a vague feeling of abdominal discomfort -- possibly including belching , a feeling of fullness, bloating , and nausea .
Alternative Names: Dyspepsia; Uncomfortable fullness after meals
Indigestion is usually not a serious health problem, unless it comes with other symptoms.
Indigestion is a common problem. It may be triggered by eating particular foods, or drinking wine or carbonated drinks. It may also be caused by eating too fast or by overeating. Some people may find that spicy foods, high-fiber foods, fatty foods, or too much caffeine can all make this problem worse. Symptoms may be worsened by anxiety and depression .
Rarely, the discomfort of a heart attack is mistaken for indigestion.
Indigestion can be a symptom of a bowel disease like nonulcer dyspepsia.
- Eating too fast
- Having too much caffeine
- Eating fatty or greasy foods
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Tobacco smoking
- Eating spicy foods
- Emotional trauma or nervousness
- Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
- Acute or chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
- Acute or chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Duodenal ulcer
- Gastric ulcer
- Drugs such as antibiotics, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Allow time for long meals.
- Chew food carefully and completely.
- Avoid arguments during meals.
- Avoid excitement or exercise immediately after a meal.
- A calm environment and rest may help relieve stress-related indigestion.
- Avoid aspirin and NSAIDs (use acetaminophen instead). If you must take them, do so on a full stomach.
- Antacids may relieve indigestion. Stronger medications are available over-the-counter, such as ranitidine (Zantac). Your doctor may prescribe similar medications, or stronger ones such as omeprazole (Prilosec).
Call your health care provider if:
- Your symptoms last longer than a few days
- The pattern of indigestion symptoms changes noticeably
- You have sudden, severe abdominal pain
- You have unexplained weight loss
- You vomit blood or pass blood in the stool
- You have jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes)
- Symptoms include jaw pain, chest pain , back pain , profuse sweating , anxiety, or a feeling of impending doom (possible heart attack symptoms)
What to expect at your health care provider's office:
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, paying special attention to the stomach area and digestive system. The doctor will ask questions related to your indigestion. For example:
- Does it begin or get worse after eating particular foods?
- Does it begin or get worse after drinking alcoholic or carbonated drinks?
- Do you eat fast?
- Have you been overeating?
- Have you changed your diet? Have you had any spicy foods, high-fiber foods, or fatty foods? Have you had a lot of caffeine?
- What medications are you taking?
- Have you changed medications recently?
- What other symptoms do you have?
- Do you have stomach pain?
- Are you vomiting ?
The following tests may be performed:
|Review Date: 4/12/2007|
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: Greg Juhn, M.T.P.W., David R. Eltz, Kelli A. Stacy. Previously reviewed by Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Jefferson Health System, Philadelphia, PA.Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (10/18/2006).
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