What Is Indigestion?
Indigestion is not actually a disease or disorder but rather symptoms associated with digestive functioning. Also called dyspepsia or upset stomach, indigestion is a general term that is used to describe discomfort located in the upper abdomen. Indigestion is a common complaint for many individuals; however, the actual experience of indigestion varies from individual to individual.
Symptoms of indigestion may be felt occasionally or even daily and often range in intensity. Many individuals who experience indigestion describe the feeling as an early fullness during a meal, an uncomfortable fullness after a meal or mild to severe pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Additional symptoms include burning in the upper abdomen, bloating or nausea. More intense cases of indigestion may involve vomiting or belching; however, these symptoms are not common. Additionally, severe indigestion that involves unintentional weight loss or loss of appetite, repeated vomiting, vomiting with blood, black or tarry stools, trouble swallowing and fatigue or weakness requires express medical treatment.
The causes of indigestion vary greatly and may be a result of lifestyle choices or even underlying health issues. Common factors that may cause indigestion include overeating, eating too quickly, consuming fatty, greasy or spicy foods, smoking, anxiety, excessive caffeine, alcohol, chocolate or carbonated beverages and certain antibiotics. Additionally, other digestive conditions may cause indigestion including gastritis, peptic ulcers, celiac disease, gallstones, constipation, pancreatitis or pancreas inflammation, stomach cancer, intestinal blockage and reduced blood flow to the intestine.
Indigestion can often be effectively treated with minimal lifestyle changes; however, additional treatment is sometimes required. Effective indigestion treatment often centers on eating slowing, chewing completely and selecting non-irritating or even anti-inflammatory foods. Additional indigestion remedies include apple cider vinegar, mustard, onion juice, kalunji juice and oregano oil. Monitoring and even recording one’s diet and gastric health or responses may also help regulate and treat indigestion.