What is indigestion?
Indigestion Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Indigestion is a feeling of discomfort or pain in the stomach caused by a difficulty in digesting food. The pain may also be felt behind your chest bone or on your throat.
Indigestion is common and it happens to people of all ages. Majority of people have experienced a bout of indigestion at some point in their lives.
Mild indigestion is bothersome but nothing to significantly worry about. However, persistent or reoccurring indigestion may be a sign of underlying medical conditions. In these cases, you must speak to a doctor to discuss your symptoms, confirm your diagnosis, and discover the underlying illnesses so you can get treated right away.
Symptoms of indigestion are variable. However, they may all cause severe pain or discomfort. Such symptoms include the following:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Stomach cramps
- Acid reflux
- Growling stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Generalised sick feeling
- A feeling of heaviness and fullness after eating
- Dry cough that worsens when lying down
These symptoms typically appear right after or sometime after eating or drinking. This is highly variable and not all people may experience them after food and drink intake.
If you think you have mild indigestion symptoms, you can treat them on your own through over-the-counter medications. You can also modify your diet and see if there are improvements to your symptoms.
But if your indigestion didn’t subside, becomes worse, or reoccurs, speak to a doctor promptly. You may need to get checked through an online video consultation. Your Mobidoctor GP will ask about your symptoms and diagnose you so that the right treatment may be prescribed for you.
Severe or persistent indigestion cases may require further tests to figure out the main causes or underlying medical conditions associated with it. Mobidoctor physicians will arrange for a referral to specialists so that you can get tested the soonest time possible.
Common causes of indigestion include the following:
- Excessive eating even when already full
- Eating too fast
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
- Alcohol consumption
- Medication use
Mild indigestion doesn’t necessitate a visit to the doctor. It can easily be treated at home by switching the way you eat, modifying your diet, and avoiding harmful habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Over-the-counter medications such as alginates and antacids may also help resolve your indigestion.
Stronger medications are needed for persistent or severe indigestion. These medications work by lessening the amount of acid inside your stomach.
Indigestion that comes as a part of an underlying medical condition will require a different treatment. It all depends on the illness that causes symptoms of indigestion. Your doctor will prescribe the proper medications for you in this case.
Indigestion in pregnancy
Pregnancy-induced indigestion is common and is not a worrisome medical problem at all. Changes in your body during pregnancy can precipitate an increase in stomach acid production, leading to indigestion. These changes include the following:
- Hormonal changes
- Your growing womb pressing against your stomach, causing acid to rise up your oesophagus
You may feel some burning sensations or pain with indigestion during pregnancy.
The condition is often treatable with lifestyle modification and over-the-counter medications. But if the condition persists or you experience severe pain, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. A simple online video consultation is often enough to get the medical help you need to manage your indigestion in pregnancy.