August 26, 2011

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion is also known as dyspepsia. It is used to describe a few different conditions. Some of these are a sensation of fullness during or following a meal that is uncomfortable, as well as acid reflux, also known as heartburn. Indigestion is an uncomfortable yet common condition. For some people it occurs after almost every meal. It is treated as a natural occurrence, but it can be an indicator of a serious condition.

Sometimes indigestion is the result of a serious medical condition:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD — This condition occurs when the sphincter that connects the esophagus to the stomach malfunctions and stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. The acid erodes away the lining of the esophagus and, if left untreated, can even lead to cancer of the esophagus.
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease — A peptic ulcer is a sore or raw spot that develops in the lining of the stomach, the esophagus or the small intestine. Ulcers are usually caused by a bacterial infection due to H. pylori bacteria, and can also be caused by some medications.
  • Cancer — As frightening as it is, sometimes the first symptom of stomach cancer is indigestion. If you have indigestion and cannot identify a reason, or if cancers of the stomach or other digestive organs run in your family, speak with your doctor to rule it out.
  • Pancreatitis — Sometimes inflammation of the pancreas can lead to indigestion symptoms. Pancreatitis can be caused by gallstones or by chronic alcoholism.

Sometimes indigestion occurs because of lifestyle behaviors that can be changed:

Eating meals that are overly large can cause indigestion. When the stomach becomes overly full, the sphincter relaxes, allowing food and stomach acid to seep into the lower intestine. This can be prevented by eating several smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three huge ones.

Smoking can also cause indigestion, because the smoke irritates the esophagus. In addition to helping ease the indigestion, quitting smoking will help your health in a number of other ways. If you are smoking, now is an excellent time to speak with your doctor for help quitting.

People who are overweight are often prone to indigestion. Part of this may be due to eating meals that are overly large, but the added weight also appears to put stress on the digestive system and causes the sphincter muscles to relax.

Certain beverages can lead to indigestion, including those that are caffeinated, carbonated or alcoholic. These act as irritants on the lining of the stomach and the esophagus. Cutting these out of your diet and sticking with plain water is a healthy lifestyle decision.

Medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can be quite irritating to the lining of the stomach. You may find that stopping these can provide some relief. Before stopping a medication that has been prescribed, however, have a conversation with your doctor to make sure that discontinuing it is appropriate.

Understanding what is causing your indigestion will go a long way in choosing an appropriate treatment plan. Track your symptoms and see if you can link them to a cause. If you can’t easily identify one, make an appointment with your doctor or other healthcare provider.

For more information on the causes of indigestion be sure to visit Reflux Remedy at today!

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