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. Indigestion is often a symptom of any other serious problem that a person can be suffering from like gastroesophagael reflux disease, ulcers or gallbladder disease. The treatment for indigestion will definitely depend on the underlying cause. But a person can take medications to avoid experiencing this or to at least get relief from the symptoms.
Indigestion can be caused due to a number of lifestyle excesses like drinking too much alcohol, smoking, eating too fast or not chewing the food properly before ingesting it, stress and fatigue. Sometimes people may suffer from indigestion that is not related to any underlying cause or some lifestyle disorder. This type of indigestion is called functional or non-ulcer dyspepsia.
If lifestyle problems cause indigestion, a person may not require any medications at all. He can get over this problem by sorting out his/her lifestyle issues. However, antacids and acid blockers may be used to treat indigestion. A person suffering from stomach indigestion due to excessive stomach acid, GERD, gastritis or esophagitis may be recommended powerful acid-blockers like omeprazole, dexlansoprazole, esomaprazole, pantoprazol, rabeprazole and lansoprazole. There are some natural remedies that a person can adopt to treat indigestion.
A person generally does not require to go to a doctor if he/she suffers from indigestion. However, a person needs to go to a doctor if he/she is above 55 years, if he/she has lost a lot of weight without any reason, if he/she has difficulty in swallowing food or if he/she suffers from persistent vomiting. He/she may also have to visit a doctor if he/she suffers from anemia due to deficiency of iron, if the person has a lump in the stomach or if they have blood in their vomit or in their stools.
Some ways how a person can reduce the symptoms of indigestion include: not eating with the mouth open or not eating too fast, not drinking beverages during meals, avoiding spicy foods and alcohol. A person should also avoid eating late at night and should also try to relax after a meal. 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.
A person suffering from indigestion due to Helicobacter pylori might be prescribed a combination of antibiotic and acid-blockers. Again, a person suffering from indigestion due to depression may be prescribed anti-depressants. Antacids provide immediate relief from indigestion by neutralizing the acid in the stomach. Other medications include antacids containing alginates, proton-pump inhibitors like warfarin and phenytoin, H2-receptor antagonists like ranitidine, nizatidine, ranitidine and famotidine.
A person feeling uncomfortably full or bloated, if he/she is belching or passing wind, if he/she is bringing up food or fluid from the stomach and if he/she feeling really sick is eligible for treatment. People experiencing indigestion problems due to consumption of NSAIDs, or due to obesity, pregnancy, stress or anxiety, hiatus hernia or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is eligible for treatment.
A person suffering from indigestion due to lifestyle disorders generally do not require any treatment. Such a person can get relief from the symptoms of indigestion by taking care of his/her problem/s like smoking, drinking, eating late at night or consuming their food too fast. Proton-pump inhibitors and H2-receptor antagonists may produce some serious side-effects on some people. Such people should avoid taking such medications.
Some of the problems associated with the consumption of proton pump inhibitors include headache, vomiting, stomach pain, flatulence, dizziness, skin rash, constipation and diarrhea. H2 receptor blockers generally provide mild side-effects that generally go away within a few days. However, it may cause constipation. Antacids may cause milk-alkali syndrome and dose-dependent rebound hyperacidity. If a person consumes antacids containing aluminium hydroxide, he/she can suffer from constipation, osteomalacia, hypophosphatemia and aluminium-intoxication. 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.
Baking soda has sodium bicarbonate that help a person to deal with heartburn and indigestion. Other things that can help prevent indigestion include apple cedar vinegar, ginger, fennel seeds, carom seeds, coriander seeds and Indian gooseberry. These are natural foods that help to reduce acidity and also cure indigestion.