Indigestion is basically a problem related to eating and it manifests itself as an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, pain or a burning sensation in the upper abdomen. Acidity, cramps, bloating and gas are the add on.
Usually, it is very common, but individuals may have different symptoms. Indigestion is usually caused by unhealthy choices like junk food, lack of or no exercise, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, etc.
If the cause of indigestion is not because of these common issues then it might be because of some underlying conditions like stomach infections, ulcers, IBS, thyroid disorders, and pancreatitis. Indigestion could be:
If indigestion is left untreated, it can seriously hamper daily life.
The reason for your indigestion could be:
Indigestion is so common that at least 1 in 4 people suffers from indigestion in the United States only. And out of those 4 that get medical attention, 3 of them get diagnosed with functional indigestion.
Symptoms of indigestion are:
Severe symptoms of indigestion that should not be ignored are:
Indigestion is often a symptom of any other serious problem that a person can be suffering from like:
Indigestion occurs when the acid in the stomach comes in contact with the sensitive protective lining of the digestive system. This lining of the digestive tract gets inflamed and irritated due to the presence of acid. However, very few people suffer from digestive system inflammation.
Indigestion and its accompanying symptoms are usually caused by irritation in the sensitive region of the digestive system. It is generally because of eating a certain food that is hard to digest, alcohol, smoking, the food properly before ingesting it, stress, pregnancy.
Indigestion, commonly referred to as abnormal digestion, is a chronic condition that continues to affect our gastrointestinal tract for a longer period of time. It is characterized by periodicity i.e fluctuations in the symptoms which show an increased frequency and severity during a particular duration, followed by a decrease in the same for another duration.
Anyone with following issues are at risk for indigestion:
If the indigestion is mild and infrequent, it does not need a medical analysis and can be cured at home. However, if it is recurring, sever, and comes with major symptoms then the diagnosis of indigestion would proceed in the following way:
Indigestion may last for a day to weeks and months. It depends on the cause, type (occasional, chronic, and functional), and severity of the condign. Indigestion can be treated with some natural home remedies. However, if it’s chronic it is better to get tested.
Treatment of indigestion differs, it depends on the severity of the condition. Indigestion generally goes away on its own or can be treated with home remedies, or over-the-counter medications. Regardless of the treatment, its cure will ultimately depend on what is causing indigestion.
Anybody suffering from indigestion should avoid exercising with a full stomach, should not lie down immediately after eating and wait for at least 3 hours after the last meal of the day and then go to bed.
Consuming water frequently aids in digestion and thus helps in indigestion. The pH level of water is neutral and can raise the pH level of the gastric juice in the stomach thereby lowering the acidity of the stomach. Additionally, water can clear out the oesophagus providing a relief from the symptoms of indigestion.
Home remedies have always been proven as a boon as far as gastrointestinal abnormalities are concerned. Milk is one of them which is linked to the well-being of the gut in case of indigestion. As fat is an aggravating factor for acid-reflux, the fat-free milk i.e skimmed milk should always be preferred that actually acts a buffering agent and neutralises the acidity of the stomach.
Though prescription drugs or over the counter medicines can alleviate the symptoms of indigestion, prevention of indigestion is the cornerstone of treatment. Sleeping on the left side, sleeping with the upper body elevated, wearing loose-fitting clothes during sleep and avoiding late night meals should be followed to avoid indigestion.
A. Some of the problems associated with the consumption of proton pump inhibitors include:
B. H2 receptor blockers generally provide mild side-effects that generally go away within a few days. However it may cause constipation.
C. Antacids may cause milk-alkali syndrome and dose-dependent rebound hyperacidity. If a person consumes antacids containing aluminium hydroxide he/she can suffer from:
D. Consuption of sodium alginate may cause nausea,bloating and diarrhea.
Indigestion due to lifestyle disorders require a person to change his/her habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Such a person may use antacids to reduce the symptoms of indigestion. But to avoid experiencing it again he/she will have to improve their eating habits and also cut down on smoking and consumption of liquor.
If a person suffers from persistent indigestion, he/she should avoid acidic foods, reduce intake of caffeine, use relaxation techniques and biofeedback mechanisms to reduce stress and should also avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes that can put pressure on the stomach.
How long a person will take to recover from indigestion will depend on the cause of this ailment. Life-style related indigestion may go away when the person improves his/her lifestyle. Indigestion due to such causes may cause a person to suffer for about 2 hours after he/ahe has excreted.
Similarly, a person suffering from indigestion due to some medication can be cured of the condition if he/she changes or altogether stops having that medicine. Symptoms of indigestion may last for up to 4 hours if a person is pregnant or if the person is suffering from diseases like Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease and peptic ulcer.
Antacids are available in both tablet and liquid form. It can be purchased within Rs 100 in our country. Proton-pump inhibitors are available within a price range of Rs 500 – Rs 2000. Anti-depressants can be purchased within a price range of Rs 25- Rs 1650. Ranitidine, which is a type of H2-receptor antagonist is available for a price of Rs 250.
The results are not permanent as a person can again suffer from indigestion if he/she again reverts back to a bad lifestyle. If the indigestion is due to some other disease like stomach ulcer or GERD, the person needs to ensure that he/she does not suffer from such disease so as to avoid suffering from indigestion. A woman who gets pregnant or a person suffering stress can again experience indigestion.
Indigestion can be prevented by routinely exercising, reducing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, quit smoking, limiting spicy and greasy food, eating smaller meals throughout the day, chewing slowly, and walking after a meal. These are just simple lifestyle changes that can positively affect not only indigestion but other medical conditions too.
Some home remedies that are a great help in the treatment of indigestion are:
Summary: Poor digestion is a very common issue these days. It usually resolves its own or with some simple remedies in a day or two.