BY Josiah Onyenekwe, 1:00am November 30, 2011,

Your Indigestion May be More Serious Than You Think

People often dismiss the discomfort, or indigestion they experience after a meal. At first the indigestion may be sporadic, then gradually increase in frequency and severity.  Some of the symptoms associated with indigestion include:

Bloating or bothersome feeling after a meal- individuals have a sense of being overly full and that the food is in the stomach too long and stomach feels swollen.

Fullness during a meal – The individual may feel very full during the meal and usually cannot finish the meal.

Epigastric pain/ discomfort- This area is between the lower end of the chest bone (just below the sternum) and the navel, The individual may feel epigastric pain that can range from moderate to severe

Epigastric burning- The individual feels burning or heat sensation that is very unpleasant usually after eating mostly large meals, and gets worse sometimes with lying down. Sometimes seems like cardiac chest pain.

There are numerous causes of indigestion. The most common causes are peptic ulcer disease (PUD), gastroesophgeal reflux disease (GERD) and gastritis.  All are very serious disorders that must be correctly diagnosed and treated quickly.

If you are someone suffering from indigestion, it important that you make an appointment to see your physician.  It can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. You should see your physician right away if you experiencing:

• Blood in your vomit
• Frequent Vomiting
• Difficult or painful swallowing
• Abdominal pain
• Black tar looking stools
• Indigestion sensation accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath, or pain that radiates to the jaw, arm or neck areas.
• Any symptoms that last more than 2 weeks

To correctly diagnose the cause of your indigestion the physician will perform a complete history and physical. He/she may also order an x-ray of your abdomen. The test of choice is an endoscopy because it is one of the least invasive diagnostic tests and can identify and help distinguish between the different causes of indigestion.

To treat indigestion or relieve your symptoms your physician may recommend that you:

• Eat several small, low fat meals throughout the day at a small pace

• Avoid eating before sleeping; quit smoking; avoid carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, other foods that irritate the stomach

• Raise your head up before sleeping, getting enough rest and finding ways to reduce stress both physical and emotional such as relaxation therapy, yoga. 

If these do not relieve your symptoms, your physician may suggest over the counter medications that will reduce the acid production in your stomach or prescribe medications, like proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Many people have signs an symptoms of indigestion and ignore them for long periods of time. Indigestion can lead to bleeding in the abdomen and even cancer if not given medical attention. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with indigestion it is important that you tell your physician. Do not wait until it is too late.

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Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


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