Indigestion and abdominal pain

Indigestion or dyspepsia is a common digestive problem. It can be due to wrongful eating or indicative of another medical condition. One of the main symptoms of indigestion is abdominal pain.

Causes

Indigestion has many possible causes ranging from mild to severe health problems and poor eating habits.

Illnesses:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Intestinal infections
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Thyroid diseases
  • GERD or acid reflux disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Abdominal cancer (a rare cause)

Diet and lifestyle:

  • Poor diet
  • Overeating fatty foods
  • Eating fast, not chewing food properly
  • Stress
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking

Medication use:

  • Thyroid medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • Birth control pills
  • Steroid pills
  • Certain pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen

Other causes:

  • Some pregnant women can experience indigestion during their second and last trimesters. The reasons can be hormonal fluctuations and extra pressure on the digestive tract from the growing uterine wall.
  • Some people can experience chronic indigestion without a known cause. This is termed as functional dyspepsia.

Symptoms

If you have indigestion, you can experience one or many symptoms at the same time.

  • Abdominal pain (of varying degrees)
  • Burning sensation in the stomach
  • Belching
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Acidity
  • Nausea, vomiting

Treatment

Occasional indigestion requires no treatment. The symptoms can ease after a while. But if you experience severe abdominal pain and other symptoms or if your indigestion is persistent, it is time for medical attention.

  • For severe problems, the doctor may conduct some tests like endoscopy or take X-rays to determine the cause of your indigestion. Your doctor may prescribe you certain medicines to reduce stomach acids. But medicines for indigestion often produce side effects.
  • Making lifestyle changes may be the best treatment for your indigestion.
  • To ease your abdominal pain and other symptoms, you can make certain dietary changes like eating smaller meals and reducing your intake of fried and spicy foods.
  • Reduce stress, exercise and lose any excess weight.
  • Avoid lying down right after a meal.

Indigestion can be uncomfortable. But it is one digestive problem that is easier to manage.

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