(Dyspepsia; Non-ulcer Dyspepsia; Non-ulcer Stomach Pain)
Indigestion is discomfort in the upper belly or chest. It may result in pain or a burning feeling after eating. A person may also have nausea, belching, or bloating.
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The exact cause is not known. It is due to an action in the stomach or intestine.
Most often, it is linked to unhealthy lifestyle habits. These habits can make it hard for the body to properly digest food.
These lifestyle habits may raise the risk:
- Eating too quickly or at irregular intervals
- Eating greasy, high-fat, or spicy foods
- Drinking large amounts of caffeine, alcohol, or soft drinks
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen
Problems may be:
- Pain or burning in the upper belly or chest
- Abdominal bloating
- Burping or swallowed food that comes back up to the mouth
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Underlying causes will need to be treated. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Choices are:
Healthy diet and lifestyle habits may lower the risk of indigestion.
- Not overeating
- Eating slowly and regularly
- Avoiding greasy, high-fat foods
- Limiting spicy foods
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and fizzy drinks
When Should I Call My Doctor?
It is common to have indigestion from time to time. If it gets worse or happens more often, make an appointment to see the doctor.
You should also call the doctor if you have:
- Trouble swallowing
- Vomiting with most episodes
- Weight loss
- A family history of cancer
- Been taking medicines for more than one month to try to ease symptoms
- Chisty A. (2021). Update on Indigestion. The Medical clinics of North America, 105(1), 19–30.
- Dyspepsia. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/dyspepsia. Accessed February 3, 2021.
- Functional dyspepsia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/functional-dyspepsia. Accessed February 3, 2021.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/indigestion-dyspepsia. Accessed February 3, 2021.
- Moayyedi PM, Lacy BE, et al. ACG and CAG Clinical Guideline: Management of Dyspepsia. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017 Jul;112(7):988-1013.
- Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
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