Indigestion also referred to as dyspepsia or an upset stomach, is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen and a feeling of fullness after eating.
Indigestion is common and is not usually a sign of anything more serious.
It can usually be treated at home and can be eased with lifestyle changes and medication if it doesn’t go away on its own.
You are likely to have indigestion if you have the following symptoms after eating or drinking:
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Being sick (vomiting)
- Heartburn or acid reflux (a painful burning sensation in the chest, often after eating due to acid from your stomach coming up your throat)
- Feeling bloated and full
- Belching and farting
- Bringing up food or bitter tasting fluids
- If you have stomach ache or back pain, these are not typically symptoms of indigestion and you may be constipated
When to see an expert at Ahmeys?
Normally there will be no need to see a doctor about indigestion, as it can be cured at home. However, a call to one of our experts can help you understand the recommended medicines that will ease the burning feeling or pain.
Some of the symptoms of indigestion are shared with more serious illnesses, so it is important to speak to an expert if you are concerned about your indigestion symptoms.
Call to speak to or make an appointment with one of our experts at Ahmeys if you:
- Are pregnant (indigestion in pregnancy is very common, especially from 27 weeks. One of our experts will be able to recommend the best medicines to use when you are pregnant)
- Keep getting indigestion
- Have lost a lot of weight unintentionally
- Are 55 or older
- Are experiencing severe pain and discomfort
- Keep vomiting
- Have difficulty swallowing
- Have an iron deficiency (anaemia)
- Have bloody vomit or stools
- Feel as though you have a lump in your stomach
Indigestion can happen when the acid in your stomach irritates your stomach lining or throat. Other potential causes include:
- Pregnancy (hormone changes and the baby pressing on the stomach)
- Other illnesses such as stomach hernias, ulcers, stomach cancer, H. pylori infections and gastro-oesophageal disease
If you are able to recognise from the list of symptoms that you have indigestion, you can usually treat it at home by taking antacids and modifying your diet and lifestyle.
If you are concerned that your symptoms are severe or have lasted for a long time, call Ahmeys to book an appointment for a physical exam from one of our experts and a discussion about your symptoms and potential treatments.
If your indigestion has begun suddenly, you are experiencing severe symptoms or you are older than 55, one of our experts at Ahmeys may potentially recommend one of the following tests:
- A stool sample test (to check for internal bleeding and infection)
- An H. pylori breath test (involves drinking a glass of clear, tasteless liquid that contains radioactive carbon and blowing into a bag)
- An endoscopy (a flexible tube is passed down through your throat and into your oesophagus and stomach to look for inflammation
- Laboratory tests to check for anaemia or metabolic disorders
- Imaging tests such as an X-Ray or CT scan to check for intestinal obstructions and other potential issues
Once one of our experts has assessed you, they will discuss treatment options with you.
Your treatments will be based on what one of our experts determines is the cause of your inflammation.
Treatment may also depend on the results of any potential diagnostic tests. One of our experts may prescribe:
- Histamine 2 (H2) blockers (medicines that decrease acid production)
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole (medicines that decrease acid production more effectively than H2 blockers
- If you have been diagnosed with an H. pylori infection by one of our Ahmeys experts, it is likely that you will also be prescribed antibiotics
How to manage your symptoms?
- If you think that your indigestion may be caused by repeated use of painkillers, try to switch to a different class of painkillers, such as paracetamol. Call Ahmeys to speak to one of our experts if you feel unsure about which painkiller you should be taking
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Avoid or reduce your consumption of alcohol
- Avoid recreational drugs
- Avoid spicy, acidic or fried foods (as these irritate the stomach lining)
- Try to manage and reduce your stress
- Cut down on caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, cola)
- Prop your head and shoulders up in bed while you sleep (to prevent stomach acid coming up)
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Avoid eating three to four hours before going to bed