Indigestion is a very common problem that surfaces in a number of ways in a person. Although it is used as a very loose term when referring to any form of abdominal-related problems, on many occasions, it could mean a more serious underlying problem causing the trouble. Indigestion is also known as dyspepsia, which is a term used to define a condition where one feels a constant or recurring pain and abdominal discomfort, particularly in the upper abdominal region.
This condition can occur to almost anyone at any given point in time. A number of reasons including wrong eating habits and severe digestive issues can trigger indigestion in a person.
What could trigger indigestion in a person?
There is a whole load of reasons that could trigger indigestion in a person. These causes can range from simple reasons to more severe medical conditions resulting in various symptoms of indigestion. Here are some of the most common causes of indigestion:
- Gastritis: Gastritis is a condition where the lining of the stomach becomes weak and inflamed and the digestive juices in the stomach begin to damage the protective stomach lining. Gastritis is often caused by bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori and can result in severe indigestion in a person.
- Stomach ulcers: Stomach ulcers are painful ulcers that occur in the lining of the stomach or the small intestine. When this happens, the digestive juices in the stomach get reduced causing the digestive acids present in the stomach to erode away the stomach lining. This can trigger acute indigestion in some people.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy causes a number of changes in a woman’s body. Indigestion is a common condition that occurs during pregnancy. It could be triggered due to the hormonal changes in the body and also due to the growing baby pressing for space within the stomach.
- Medications: Some forms of medications like nitrates, which are consumed to widen the blood vessels could cause the ring between the esophagus and the stomach to relax prompting the acids to travel upwards. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are also known to affect the digestive tract, and can result in indigestion. One should avoid consuming NSAIDs when suffering from stomach-related disorders.
- Obesity: People who are overweight could be more prone to frequent bouts of indigestion. The reason is that a large meal could build up an increased pressure inside the stomach, which can result in an acid reflux.
- Smoking: Smoking leads to a number of health problems and indigestion is one of them. The chemicals inhaled during cigarette smoking could result in indigestion. It could cause the muscle between the esophagus and stomach to relax, which could result in an acid reflux.
- Alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol drinking could also lead to indigestion in a person. Alcohol could cause the stomach to secrete more acids than normal, which would irritate the stomach lining resulting in indigestion.
When is indigestion considered serious?
Usually, indigestion is not considered as a very serious condition. In most people, this condition occurs as a mild one that does not require any specific treatment. However, in cases wherein you suffer from recurring episodes of indigestion, then you may need to consult a doctor for some medical assistance.
If your indigestion is accompanied by any of the following factors and symptoms, then it could be a little serious or should at least be checked by a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions:
- If you are above 55 years old
- Suffering from unexplained or sudden weight loss
- Facing severe trouble in swallowing
- Suffering from vomiting
- Having complaints of iron deficiency or anemia
- Having a growth or lump in the stomach
- Traces of blood in the stool or vomit
These symptoms could indicate a more serious medical condition such as a stomach ulcer or cancer. Hence, a medical checkup is a must to rule out anything serious.
What are the symptoms of indigestion?
There are some specific symptoms that indicate indigestion in a person. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Bloating or an inflamed stomach lining
- Severe gas or burning in the stomach
- Nausea and vomiting
- Having an acidic aftertaste in the mouth, especially after burping
- Feeling full immediately after a meal or while having it
- Distended stomach
- Pain in the abdominal region
How to treat indigestion?
In several cases, a patient may require no treatment at all for indigestion since the symptoms may settle down on its own after some time or after a few hours. However, it is extremely important to inform your doctor in case if the symptoms begin to worsen.
The treatment you are advised will largely depend on the causes and triggers of indigestion. You can also try a number of remedies made from quick ingredients available at your home for quick relief.
- Taking antacids are a quick way to relieve some symptoms of indigestion including a burning sensation in the stomach and severe stomach acid buildup due to indigestion.
- Avoid chewing with your mouth open or eating very fast as this could cause you to inhale a lot of air while eating, thereby resulting in the symptoms of indigestion.
- Avoid drinking beverages including water while eating. Do so after you finish eating after a short gap.
- Avoid eating late at night or keeping long intervals between your meals.
- Avoid excessive spice in your meals.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid alcohol.
If your symptoms persist even after a set of treatments, then you may be prescribed certain medications or tests to further diagnose the cause of your indigestion.
Natural Home Remedies to Treat Indigestion
There are several natural remedies to try using ingredients that are readily available in your kitchen cabinets. These remedies are safe and tried to give quick results in treating symptoms related to indigestion. Some of them are:
- Fennel: If the cause of your indigestion looks like spicy food that you may have consumed, then chewing on some fennel seeds immediately could work wonders for you. Fennel seeds can be helpful in neutralizing the burning that spicy foods cause and also help in treating symptoms like nausea. You could roast and grind some fennel seeds and consume it every day after a meal or soak some fennel seeds in a glass of water and drink it to relieve and prevent indigestion.
- Peppermint tea: Peppermint tea is known to have cooling properties that can bring about instant relief from indigestion, particularly if you are experiencing pain. Make some peppermint tea by placing the tea bag in hot water for about 3-5 minutes. Drink it by sipping slowly.
- Ginger: Ginger is a natural root that is known for a number of medicinal properties and is particularly helpful in treating issues associated with the digestive system. The given juice can help in enhancing the digestive process and break down the food products that are stuck in the stomach, which are failing to get digested. If you think your indigestion is triggered due to overeating then chewing on ginger can help bring about instant relief.
- Carom seeds: Just like fennel seeds, carrot seeds also have amazing digestive properties that can help in relieving symptoms associated with indigestion fast.
- Drinking water: Water is a medicine for treating a number of health issues. Your indigestion problem could be sorted out by sipping water at intervals. When trying out water therapy, always drink warm water instead of cold water as the latter could worsen your indigestion.