Indigestion is one of the most common digestion disorders, and it affects most of the people who live their lives on a fast track. The disorder can affect anybody who is not particular about his/her diet, leads a sedentary lifestyle, and is under lot of stress and tension. It is often due to an underlying illness like GERD, ulcers, or disorders of the gall bladder, etc. Indigestion is a feeling of fullness or discomfort during or after a meal, and it may be accompanied by heartburn.
- A burning sensation in the stomach and upper abdomen
- Acidic taste in the throat and mouth due to acid reflux
- Pain in the abdomen
- Feeling of uneasiness in the stomach, nausea, and vomiting
- Belching and gastric trouble
- Growling stomach
Indigestion is generally a result of an unhealthy lifestyle and habits, which include:
- Eating too fast, without chewing properly
- Eating oily and spicy food
- Going overboard with smoking and alcohol consumption
- Stress, depression and fatigue
- Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
- Consumption of a food to which you are allergic
Medicines such as aspirin, various pain killers, oral contraceptives, antibiotics, and thyroid medications may also be responsible for indigestion.
As mentioned earlier, this digestion related disorder may also be a result of an underlying condition such as:
- Stomach infections
- Thyroid disease
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Stomach cancer
Indigestion which occurs once in a while can be successfully treated by taking some self help measures and making some alteration in your lifestyle. However, if the symptoms persist or in case the problem occurs regularly, the doctor might conduct a physical examination, and question you regarding the exact location of pain in the stomach and other symptoms. Blood tests and a detailed endoscopic examination may also be done to find out the underlying problem, which may be responsible for indigestion.
Prevention and treatment
As mentioned earlier, indigestion can be prevented by making small alterations in your lifestyle and eating patterns and habits. Listed below are a few tips that will ensure better digestion:
- Do not starve yourself for a long time
- Don’t ever over- stuff your stomach
- Eat small portions of food at regular intervals
- You can munch on nuts and fruits between meals
- Take your dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before you sleep
- Reduce the intake of alcohol; tea, coffee and other drinks that contain caffeine should also be avoided
- Stop or at least cut down on smoking
- Avoid fatty foods
- If indigestion is due to an allergy, identify the food/s that you are allergic to and avoid them.
- Stress causes a host of disorders and indigestion is one of them. Try to overcome stress through meditation.
- If you have a sedentary lifestyle, it becomes very important to maintain a healthy weight by eating right and doing some physical activity, as obese people are more likely to suffer from the indigestion problems. An early morning jog or yoga may help; there are specific mudras in yoga that help improve digestion.
- Avoid certain medicines like aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they irritate the digestive tract and stomach lining, and this may result in indigestion.
If you are facing extreme symptoms like passing blood in stools and vomit, loss of appetite, and resulting weight loss, or severe pain in the stomach and abdomen, you should seek immediate medical help.