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Indigestion, also known as upset stomach or dyspepsia, is discomfort or a burning feeling in the upper abdomen, often accompanied by nausea, abdominal bloating, belching and sometimes vomiting. Some people also use the term indigestion to describe the symptoms of heartburn. (Read about "Heartburn")
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says indigestion can be caused by a number of things, including:
A type of indigestion called functional or nonulcer dyspepsia may be caused by a problem in the muscular squeezing action of the stomach.
If you are getting frequent indigestion, your doctor may do tests to rule out serious causes. These can include x-rays, as well as gastroscopy, in which a thin tube or endoscope that works like a tiny camera, is passed through your mouth and down into your stomach to look at the stomach lining. (Read about "X-rays" "Endoscopy")
If there are no underlying conditions, NIDDK says lifestyle changes can help. Exercising with a full stomach may cause indigestion, so scheduling exercise before a meal or at least an hour afterward might help. You will also need to avoid any foods, beverages or medicines that cause symptoms. Cutting back on high-fat foods can help. (Read about "Low-Fat Food Tips") If you smoke, you should quit. (Read about "Quit Smoking") Treatment can also involve taking antacids and other drugs to reduce stomach acid and thereby help relieve symptoms and promote healing. If your indigestion is related to an illness or infection, that problem will have to be treated as well. To treat indigestion caused by a functional problem in the digestive tract, the doctor may prescribe medicine that affects the stomach's motility. (Read about "Digestive System")
Because indigestion can be a sign of, or mimic, a more serious disease, people should see a doctor if they have any of the following:
Although indigestion is a common complaint, it can indicate a serious problem, and in many cases, it shouldn't be ignored.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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