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What is indigestion? - Indigestion is persistent or recurrent abdominal pain / discomfort at the upper part of the abdomen after eating.

What symptoms does indigestion present with?

Someone with indigestion may present with any or some of the following symptoms:

  1. Upper abdominal pain.
  2. Regurgitation
  3. Feeling bloated
  4. Excessive belching (often fermented gas)
  5. Nausea and vomiting

What are the causes of indigestion?

Indigestion can be caused by any of the following:

  1. Overfeeding
  2. Excessive alcohol consumption
  3. Cigarette smoking
  4. Stress
  5. Pregnancy
  6. Disease conditions such as ulcer, thyroid disease, stomach cancer.
  7. Drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, iron etc.

What are the treatment options for indigestion?

As many cases of indigestion are mild, the body can often correct it on its own and so may not need treatment. When necessary, treatment for indigestion is targeted at the underlying cause(s). These may include:

  1. Antacids - They neutralize excess stomach acid so proper digestion can occur.
  2. Histamin (H2) receptor blockers (e.g. cimetidine, ranitidine) - They reduce stomach acid production, thereby allowing digestion to proceed unhindered.
  3. Proton pump inhibitors such (e.g. omeprazole, esomeprazole) - These also reduce stomach acid production.

How can indigestion be prevented?

Indigestion can be prevented by avoiding the causative factors earlier listed:

  1. Avoid excess food at a time. It is better to eat a little at a time.
  2. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  3. Avoid cigarette smoking.
  4. Treatment of associated disease conditions.
  5. Modification of drugs associated with constipation.
  6. Pregnant women should eat a little at a time.
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