Dyspepsia is discomfort or pain from the upper digestive tract, also known as indigestion. This discomfort may be originating from the stomach, throat, or upper intestine. Common symptoms of dyspepsia include bloating, nausea, loss of appetite, a burning sensation, regurgitation, and burping. Dyspepsia without the presence of another gastrointestinal (GI) condition is known as functional dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is very common and affects 15% of the Western population.
Dyspepsia may be caused by another GI condition or may be caused by specific food sensitivities or stressors. Potential causes include disorders in the movement of food through the upper GI tract, the presence of ulcers, and acid reflux disease. Certain foods, such as lactose in those who are lactose intolerant, caffeine, alcohol, or oral medications may also cause dyspepsia. Stomach or duodenal ulcers may cause dyspepsia. Depression, anxiety, and increased stress may also cause dyspepsia.
Treatment is often dependent upon the specific cause of the dyspepsia. Dietary changes such as avoidance of the foods that cause symptoms is often suggested. Behavioral changes such as eating frequent, smaller meals rather than three large meals, and not lying down after eating may also alleviate symptoms. Refraining from smoking or wearing tight fitting clothes may be beneficial, as well as maintaining a healthy body weight. Medications to decrease stomach acid or pain may also be used. Certain anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, may cause damage to the lining of the stomach and should be minimized or avoided in individuals with dyspepsia. If you are suffering from dyspepsia, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.