What Are The Symptoms Of Indigestion
Each persons symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling full too soon while eating
- Feeling pain, burning, and discomfort in your upper belly or abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Burping and loud stomach gurgling
- Having an upset stomach or vomiting
- Having diarrhea
- Having gas
The symptoms of indigestion may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
How Is Indigestion Diagnosed
If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion, make an appointment to see your doctor. Because indigestion is such a broad term, it is helpful to provide your doctor with a precise description of the discomfort you are experiencing. In describing the symptoms, try to define where in the abdomen the discomfort usually occurs.
Your doctor will rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may perform several blood tests and you may have X-rays of the stomach or small intestine. Your doctor may also suggest you have an upper endoscopy to look closely at the inside of the stomach. During the procedure, an endoscope — a flexible tube that contains a light and a camera to produce images from inside the body — is used to look inside your stomach.
Now You Know The Differences And Similarities
All these conditions are sometimes even wrongfully diagnosed by medical practitioners, because of the similarities in their symptoms and causes.
However, most sufferers will agree that the symptoms of GERD, heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion are usually observed and felt right after bingeing on the wrong types of foods and drinks.
So now you know! Just remember, GERD is a clinical diagnosis, acid reflux is the action of regurgitated acid into the oesophagus and heartburn pain and indigestion are some of the many symptoms associated with them.
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A Pharmacist Can Help With Indigestion
A pharmacist can recommend medicines to ease the burning feeling or pain that can come with indigestion.
Medicines that help reduce acid in your stomach include:
- proton pump inhibitors
Some indigestion medicines are best to take after eating as their effects last longer. Check the information leaflet that comes with the medicines for more information.
How To Relieve Heartburn And Indigestion
Both heartburn and indigestion treatment options neutralise stomach acid, reduce the production of stomach acid, or form a physical barrier to help prevent stomach acid from moving into the oesophagus.
Medications for heartburn and indigestion include
- Antacids that work by neutralising the acid produced by your stomach
- Alginates that form a raft to block acid from travelling back into the oesophagus
- H2-antagonists and proton-pump inhibitors that work to stop the production of acid in your stomach
Other ways you can help relieve or prevent heartburn and indigestion include:
- Avoiding or limiting food and drinks that can trigger symptoms
- Eating smaller meals
- Waiting 2 to 3 hours after eating or drinking before lying down
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Pharmacy First Scotland: Indigestion Treatment From Your Pharmacy
Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if you have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:
- you are 55 years old or over
- you have lost a lot of weight without meaning to
- you have increasing difficulty swallowing
- you have persistent vomiting
- you have a lump in your stomach
- you have blood in your vomit or blood in your stools
This is because these symptoms may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a stomach ulcer or stomach cancer. You may need to be referred for an endoscopy to rule out any serious cause.
An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the body is examined using an endoscope .
Severe indigestion can cause long-term problems with parts of your digestive tract, such as scarring of the oesophagus or the passage from your stomach. Read more about the possible complications of severe indigestion.
Heartburn Is A Key Symptom Of Acid Reflux
Heartburn, or that burning sensation typically located just behind or below the breastbone, is caused by acid reflux — the upward splashing of acidic contents of the stomach back into the esophagus. The resulting irritation of the esophagus creates burning symptoms that are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as a sour taste in the mouth, regurgitation and belching. Technically, the word heartburn can refer specifically to the chest discomfort. However, many people talk about their heartburn, indigestion and any accompanying symptoms together as a single problem.
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Who Is At Risk For Indigestion
People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. It’s extremely common. An individual’s risk increases with:
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Use of drugs that may irritate the stomach, such as aspirin and other pain relievers
- Conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract, such as an ulcer
- Emotional problems, such as anxiety or depression
Treating Heartburn Vs Indigestion
Both heartburn and indigestion may be treated with over-the-counter products, such as:
- Antacids for mild, occasional heartburn symptoms. Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid. They may be taken as soon as you experience symptoms, or before eating trigger foods to prevent them. Antacids arent meant to be taken every day, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Daily use can cause GI upset.
- Proton pump inhibitors for long-term treatment. PPIs work by decreasing the amount of acid in your stomach, allowing your esophagus to heal.
- Histamine-H2-receptor antagonists . These are also designed to decrease stomach acid, but they arent as strong as PPIs.
Ask your doctor before taking any herbal remedies for GI issues, as you may unintentionally make your heartburn or indigestion worse.
Occasional heartburn or indigestion is largely preventable. Prevention methods are the same for both conditions.
Here are some of the ways you can help decrease a flare-up of heartburn and indigestion symptoms:
These preventive measures may also help alleviate symptoms of chronic heartburn or indigestion, but youll need to see your doctor to help treat the underlying causes to help prevent further complications.
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How Can My Doctor Tell If I Have Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
A medical doctor can often diagnose GERD and heartburn by your description of the symptoms your experience.
You may see a gastroenterologist, a medical specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, who may order an upper GI series. This is a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the intestine often used to rule out other health conditions. An upper GI endoscopy, where a flexible probe with a tiny camera at the end is passed down your throat to see the esophagus. This helps diagnose how severe your acid reflux is, and can also rule out other health complications.
If your symptoms are not clearly from acid reflux, your doctor may perform other tests to rule out important conditions like heart attack, ulcers, lung problems, esophagus problems, and gastritis.
Can Indigestion Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are ways to prevent indigestion. To start, you need to know your body and how it reacts to different food and drinks. Spicy and acidic foods and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion. Try to avoid those things when possible. Eat smaller meals throughout the day, and dont eat too late at night. Dont lie down too soon after eating. Limit the use of alcohol. If you use tobacco, try to quit. Stress and lack of sleep also can worsen symptoms.
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Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd
The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.
Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.
Indigestion Doesn’t Always Involve Reflux
Indigestion conveys that a person is having unpleasant stomach symptoms, perhaps associated with his intake or a specific meal, but not necessarily so. Occasional heartburn from acid reflux is very common, so for many people who say they have indigestion, it’s likely they are referring to acid reflux symptoms. However, many possibilities other than acid reflux can make a person feel like there’s something wrong with their stomach. For some, the medical term dyspepsia is a better fit than heartburn for these symptoms. Dyspepsia is a burning discomfort in the stomach, sometimes likened to hunger pains — except that it occurs on a full stomach, too. Like acid reflux, dyspepsia may be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, including belching, bloating and feelings of gassiness, nausea or fullness.
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Learn What Causes Heartburn Symptoms And How To Control Them
That burning sensation in your chest and throat, often accompanied by a bitter taste in your mouth, is a common ailment known as heartburn. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, some 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and about 15 million people have daily flareups. In this video, San Diego Health host Susan Taylor talks with Richard Onishi, MD, a family medicine physician with Scripps Clinic in Carmel Valley, about what causes heartburn and how to control it.
What is heartburn and what causes it?
Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Heartburn is a form of indigestion, which is a broad term that includes upper abdominal pain often associated with food or other causes. Heartburn happens when acid in the stomach backs up, or refluxes, into the upper abdominal area and, sometimes, the esophagus and the back of the throat.
Your stomach is an acidic environment, and its protected by a layer of mucous, says Dr. Onishi. Unfortunately, the esophagus doesnt have that same protection, so if the acid refluxes up into the esophagus it causes a burning pain.
Along with burning in the chest and throat, heartburn symptoms may include regurgitation of stomach contents into the mouth, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing and a feeling of having something stuck in the throat. Some people may have a chronic cough.
Heartburn and GERD
A variety of factors can trigger GERD. The most common include:
How Is Indigestion Treated
You should not have foods or medicines that cause indigestion. It is also helpful to avoid stressful situations. Your symptoms may feel better if you:
- Quit smoking
- Take medicines that weaken or neutralize stomach acid
Your healthcare provider may suggest you take medicines that:
- Help your stomach move food more quickly into your small intestine
- Kill bacteria if tests show you have the H. pylori bacteria in your stomach
- Help calm the gut’s nervous system
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Q: Are Heartburn And Acid Reflux The Same Thing What About Gerd
A: They are different but related. It starts with the esophagus. The esophagus is made up of predominantly smooth muscle. It extends from the throat down through the chest cavity and, when it gets past the abdomen, joins up with the stomach. When you swallow, the esophagus opens and then squeezes food down.
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At the very bottom of theesophagus, there is a valve that separates it from the stomach. That valve shouldnormally be closed. When you swallow, it opens so that food can pass through,and then it closes again. Acid reflux is a disorder that occurs when that valveopens when its not supposed to, so stomach contents can flow backward from the stomach into the esophagus and causesymptoms.
Now, normal individuals can have up to an hour of reflux per day and not feel it. But if people have problematic reflux, it can cause heartburn, which is a burning thats felt mid-chest, below the sternum, especially after meals or at night when you lie down. So heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux can also cause regurgitation.
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Its a more severe form of acid reflux where the stomach contents flowing back up into the esophagus becomes problematic. It can also cause a cough or the feeling that theres a lump in the back of your throat.
What Is The Treatment For Indigestion
Because indigestion is a symptom rather than a disease, treatment usually depends upon the underlying condition causing the indigestion.
Often, episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention. However, if your indigestion symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate indigestion:
- Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat too fast. This causes you to swallow too much air, which can aggravate indigestion.
- Drink fluids after rather than during meals.
- Avoid late-night eating.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages.
If indigestion is not relieved after making these changes, your doctor may prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms.
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What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Indigestion
Although many believe that heartburn and indigestion are the same condition, there are slight differences between them. Heartburn is type or symptoms of indigestion, while indigestion is a relative term used to describe one of several potential stomach conditions which characterize the condition. In other words, indigestion is a term used to describe heartburn as well as reflux, sour stomach, and other conditions or symptoms. Both are caused by an increase in stomach acid that is usually related to eating foods that are spicy or hard to digest and sometimes by having an empty stomach.
The main cause of pain in heartburn and indigestion is acid being pushed back into the esophagus from the stomach. This causes a burning or uneasy sensation in the upper portion of the chest or lower throat. Acid may rise due to several factors, the most common being the consumption of foods that cause an increase in acid needed for digestion. Others may include weakened or underdeveloped sphincter muscles, an empty stomach, and certain stress-related conditions.
What Triggers Indigestion
Depending on what’s causing your indigestion, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating , belching and gas, nausea, vomiting, and acidic taste in your mouth, “growling” stomach, and even diarrhea. Symptoms usually get worse when you’re stressed but normally go away in a few hours.
Indigestion can be linked to more serious chronic conditions, including ulcers, pancreas abnormalities, or acid reflux disease. Speak to your doctor if your symptoms are severe or last for more than two weeks.
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The Next Steps May Differ
While occasional heartburn or indigestion happens to most people at some point, symptoms that occur frequently or over an extended period of time need to be evaluated by your doctor, as they could indicate a serious illness.
In some cases, heartburn and indigestion respond to lifestyle changes. Avoiding trigger foods, shedding excess weight, not eating too close to bedtime and elevating the head of the bed are all potentially helpful. Eating smaller meals, eating more slowly, not smoking or consuming alcohol and reducing stress may be helpful as well. Heartburn also responds to over-the-counter and prescription medications that suppress stomach acid.
If the underlying cause of your symptoms is unclear, additional tests may be needed in some instances and an endoscopy may be performed. Endoscopy is a procedure in which a slender tube containing a camera is slid down the throat to examine digestive tract lining. Testing can also determine the presence of H. pylori bacteria. If your doctor identifies an underlying cause of indigestion, a specific treatment program may be recommended.
Medical advisor: Jonathan E. Aviv, M.D., FACS
When Should I Call The Doctor About Indigestion
Because indigestion can be a sign of a more serious health problem, call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Vomiting or blood in vomit
- Weight loss
- Black, tarry stools or visible blood in stools
- Severe pain in theÃ abdomen
- Discomfort unrelated to eating
Symptoms similar to indigestion may be caused by heart attacks. If indigestion is unusual, accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, or pain radiating to the jaw, neck, or arm, seek medical attention immediately.
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Common Triggers For Heartburn
Some people experience heartburn regardless of what they eat. Others find they only get it after eating certain foods or meals. Common food triggers for heartburn include:
- large meals
Smoking cigarettes can also be a trigger for heartburn.
Other things that can increase the risk and the severity of heartburn include:
- being overweight or obese
- taking certain medications
- exercising too soon after eating