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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Dyspepsia

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common Name/Other Name

Indigestion; upset stomach (Eng.)

Dyspepsia is a group of symptoms that result in the discomfort of the upper abdomen. It is typically characterized by abdominal pain and feeling of fullness at the beginning of a meal. Some diseases of the digestive tract may have dyspepsia as a symptom.

Some common causes of dyspepsia include overeating, eating too fast, eating fatty, greasy or spicy foods, too much caffeine, alcohol, chocolate or carbonated drinks, smoking, anxiety, and use of certain antibiotics, pain relievers and iron supplements. Common digestive conditions that present with dyspepsia include gastritis, peptic ulcer, gallstones, constipation, pancreatitis, and intestinal blockage. If the symptoms do not have an obvious cause, it is called functional or non-ulcer dyspepsia.

Patients who present with mild symptoms can be diagnosed with dyspepsia based on their medical history and results of a physical exam. For patients experiencing sudden and severe symptoms or those older than 55 years old, other diagnostic tests are done by the physician. These include breath and stool tests, endoscopy, x-ray, and CT scan. These tests determine the possible underlying cause of dyspepsia. Inability to determine a cause through initial testing usually leads to a diagnosis of functional dyspepsia.

Symptoms
  • Feeling of fullness at the start of a meal
  • Uncomfortable and lasting fullness after a meal
  • Pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Burning sensation in the upper abdomen
  • Bloating of the upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Burping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Risk Factors
  • Overweight or obese. Extra pounds increase the pressure on the stomach leading to acid reflux
  • Pregnancy. Hormonal changes and the fetus pressing on the stomach cause indigestion of the mother
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Antacids are the first line of treatment if lifestyle modification does not work for the patient. These drugs provide quick but short relief of mild to moderate symptoms. Antacids lessen the acidity of the gastric juice.
  • Alginates are usually combined with antacids. A foam barrier is produced on the surface of the stomach contents so the gastric acid does not reach the esophagus.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) inhibit acid production in the stomach so these are given to patients who also experience heartburn. Examples include omeprazole and esomeprazole.
  • H2-receptor antagonists also reduce acidity level of the stomach. Examples include ranitidine and famotidine.
  • Prokinetics are given to patients who experience dyspepsia to improve the emptying of the stomach. Metoclopramide is a common prokinetic agent that improves the muscle movement of the GI tract. Complications: involuntary repetitive movements
  • Antibiotics are given to patients diagnosed with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria in their GI tract. This bacteria increases the amount of acid in the stomach causing the symptoms. Antibiotics are usually given with PPIs for a more effective treatment.

 

Treatment and Management
  • Dyspepsia that is not caused by another medical condition is usually managed through lifestyle modifications. Determining the cause of dyspepsia helps in managing the symptoms.
  • Identify which food and drinks trigger the symptoms and minimize or avoid its consumption.
  • Consider eating five to six small meals instead of three big meals throughout the day.
  • Use an alternative pain reliever if aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs trigger dyspepsia.
  • Manage stress and anxiety. Try relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • Eat meals 2 to 3 hours before lying down. Avoid late-night snacks.
Home Remedies
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