Indigestion
5 Case Studies
7 Member Stories

Indigestion is also known as dyspepsia or an upset stomach. Diet & lifestyle changes may ease indigestion that is not due to any medical condition. Eat small meals, slowly. Avoid foods that contain high amounts of acids. Natural therapies can help provide indigestion relief.

What is indigestion or upset stomach?

Indigestion is also known as dyspepsia or an upset stomach. It is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen. Indigestion is not a medical condition, but instead, some symptoms you experience, such as stomach pain and a sense of fullness shortly after you start eating. Though indigestion is frequent, each individual may experience indigestion in a slightly different manner. Symptoms of indigestion may be felt occasionally or as frequently as daily. Indigestion may be a sign of another autoimmune disease. Lifestyle changes and medication may ease indigestion that isn't due to an underlying medical condition. 

It's frequently described as a feeling of fullness, nausea, bloating, heartburn, or gassy discomfort in the stomach or chest. The symptoms develop through foods or shortly afterward. Normally, indigestion is a minor problem that often clears up without professional treatment. Indigestion is a widespread condition, estimated to occur in 30 percent of adults. Most people with indigestion don't feel sick enough to find a doctor; nonetheless, it's a frequent reason for visits to the physician.

See: Acupuncture treatment for GERD

What causes indigestion?

Physical causes

The symptoms associated with indigestion have various potential physical causes, ranging from trivial food items to acute systemic ailments:

Diet: Milk, milk products, alcoholic beverages, tea, and coffee cause indigestion in some people because they stimulate the stomach's production of acid.

The majority of the time, indigestion isn't a sign of a substantial health issue unless it happens with different ailments. These can include bleeding, difficulty swallowing, or weight loss.

Indigestion could be caused by:

- Drinking carbonated beverages

- Eating spicy, oily, or greasy foods

- Overeating

- Eating too quickly

- Eating high-fiber foods

- Smoking or chewing tobacco

- Anxiety or being nervous


Other causes of indigestion are:

- Gallstones

- Gastritis (when the lining of the gut becomes inflamed or swollen)

- Ulcers (stomach or intestinal ulcer)

- Use of certain medications such as antibiotics, aspirin, and over-the-counter pain medications


Psychological & emotional causes: Indigestion often accompanies an emotional upset, because the section of the nervous system involved in the so-called "flight or fight" response also affects the gastrointestinal tract. Individuals diagnosed with anxiety frequently have problems with indigestion. Plenty of individuals will also experience heartburn, "butterflies in the stomach," or stomach cramps when they are in upsetting situations. These feelings can occur near school or college examinations, arguments with close friends, emergencies in their workplace, or some stressful situations. Some people's digestive systems appear to respond more intensely to emotional stress because of hypersensitive nerve endings in their intestinal tract.

See: Baking soda for heartburn & acid reflux

Specific gastrointestinal ailments

Specific gastrointestinal ailments

On occasion, the patient's description of the symptoms indicates a distinct autoimmune disease as the cause of indigestion. Some physicians classify these cases into three classes:

Esophagitis type: The cells of the esophagus can become irritated from the flow (reflux) of stomach acid backward into the lower section of the esophagus. If the patient describes indigestion about severe or frequent heartburn, the doctor will consider gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as a possible cause. In 2001, a study demonstrated that obesity impairs the anti-reflux activity. The ones that are obese have more severe reflux than several individuals. Night-time GERD affects 79 percent of adults with heartburn and can be potentially more damaging to the esophagus than day-time drowsiness. Another research study found that acid flux contributes to cough and wheezing problems, especially in those with asthma.

GERD also affects some children and is a frequent reason for infants spitting up the formula. Typically, the condition resolves itself, but children older than one year with often occurring pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen should be cause for concern. If these symptoms discomfort a child during activities or sleep, consult a physician.

This group also includes those who find that their indigestion is relieved by taking antacids or ingesting just a tiny bit of food. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a rod-shaped bacterium that lives in the tissues of the intestine and causes irritation of the mucous lining of the intestine walls.

Non-ulcer type: Non-ulcer dyspepsia may be called functional dyspepsia because it appears to be associated with abnormalities in the way the stomach empties its contents into the intestine. In some people, the gut drains too slowly or too fast. In the others, the gut's muscular contractions are irregular and uncoordinated. These ailments of gut movement (motility) may be caused by hypersensitive nerve endings in the gut cells. Patients in this category are likely to be younger than 45 and have a history of taking medication for anxiety or depression.

See: Heartburn and Acid Reflux Remedies

Natural remedies for indigestion relief

Remedies For Indigestion Relief

Nutritional supplements: Holistic professionals, nutritionists, or naturopaths may indicate the following to enhance digestion:

• Stay away from foods that may include hot, fried, treated, or junk foods, caffeine.

• Eat milder but more regular meals.

• Avoid smoking.

• Adopt a high fiber diet Improve regularity and treat these digestive problems like gout, a high fiber diet

• Increase water intake. Proper Hydration aids the digestive system work better.

• Boost poor digestive enzyme 

Acupuncture & TCM Herbal Medication: Practitioners of Oriental herbal medicine might recommend medicines derived from peony (Paeonia lactiflora), hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa), or Hare's ear (Bupleurum Chinese) to handle indigestion. Western herbalists have been Officinalis), or peppermint (Mentha piperita) to relieve stomach cramps and heartburn.

Ayurveda: The Ayurveda approach to describing digestion is quite straightforward and effective. The food we eat is digested by body fire or Agni that's within our body. The elements that help Agni to digest the food entirely: Thridoshas -Vata, Pitta, and Kapha assist Agni to digest the food.

When food is completely digested by all of the Agnis, the body cells will be well-nourished and have a healthy development of mind and body. Indigestion happens when Agni is imbalanced by the variables (tridoshas) that help Agni to digest food. The variations of Agni because of tridoshas are of 4 types.

The diminished Agni improperly digests the food, and this indigested food is tacky in nature and nourishes cells, causing fatigue of the body. This tacky improperly digested food is called ama. Ama, because of the sticky nature, blocks the channels of the body, vitiate doshas, contaminates cells, the imbalanced body acts, and causes diseases.

Causes of imbalance of Agni that lead to indigestion.

- Spicy foods, cold, oily foods, medicines, milk and milk products, alcohol and tobacco.

- Irregular food habits and sleeping routines.

- Drugs like pain killers, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and steroids.

- Intestinal parasites.

- Diseases of liver, pancreas, gall bladder, intestinal infections.

- During pregnancy, premenstrual period, the menstrual period in women.

- Emotional distress such as stress, anxiety, family pressure.

Home Remedies for Indigestion:

- Fasting completely for a single day will help to normalize imbalanced Agni and digest ama.

- Consuming liquid foods and boiled vegetables or fruit juices improves Agni and relieves indigestion.

- Prevent the factors (mentioned above), which cause indigestion.

- Drinking a glass of warm water once in two hours raises Agni and digests ama.

- Abdominal massage also helps to ease indigestion. It calms the tight muscles and increases the blood supply to the digestive tract.

Homeopathy: Homeopaths tailor their treatments into the patient's overall personality profile in addition to the particular symptoms. Depending upon the individual's reaction to indigestion and a variety of its likely causes, the homeopath may choose Lycopodium, Carbo vegetalis, Nux vomica, or Pulsatilla.

Diet and stress management: Many patients take advantage of the physician's reassurance; they don't have severe or deadly disorders. The individual may also be asked to keep a daily record of food intake and symptom severity. Food diaries sometimes reveal dietary or psychological factors that may also influence indigestion.

Other Natural treatments: Some alternative treatments are directed at reducing the person's stress level or changing attitudes and beliefs, which result in indigestion. These remedies and clinics include Reiki, reflexology, hydrotherapy, therapeutic massage, yoga, and meditation.

Allopathic treatmentSince most cases of indigestion aren't due to serious disorders, many doctors prefer to test medications and other treatment measures before ordering an endoscopy. Many individuals with acid reflux treat themselves with over the counter remedies. For night GERD, a 2001 study recommends a dose of a proton pump Inhibitor before breakfast and another dose before dinner. Some medicines are also qualified for use in infants and children with indigestion which doesn't resolve itself.

See: Magnesium for constipation relief

How to get rid of indigestion

How can indigestion be treated?

Since indigestion is a symptom instead of a disorder, treatment usually depends on the underlying condition that's causing indigestion. Excess stomach acid doesn't cause indigestion, so using antacids won't help your indigestion. Frequently, episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical care. But if your symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor. Avoiding foods that cause indigestion is the most effective way to take care of it. Changing the next eating habits that cause you to swallow too much air can help alleviate indigestion:

- Chewing with your mouth open

- Talking while chewing

- Eating food too quickly

Other ways to cure indigestion:

- Drink fluids after meals as opposed to during.

- Avoid eating late at night.

- Try to relax after meals.

- Avoid spicy foods, smoking, and alcoholic drinks.

- Occasionally aspirin can irritate the stomach lining. If this happens, switch to acetaminophen.

If indigestion is a functional or non-ulcer condition, your doctor may prescribe medications that affect stomach function.


How can indigestion be avoided?

The best way to deal with indigestion is to keep it by avoiding the foods and situations that seem to cause indigestion. Keeping a food journal is useful in identifying foods that cause indigestion. Here are some other suggestions:

- Eat small meals, so the stomach doesn't have to work as hard or as long.

- Eat slowly.

- Avoid foods with high levels of acids, such as citrus fruits and berries.

- Reduce or avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine as caffeine causes the stomach to produce more acid, so r.

- Reevaluate your lifestyle to decrease stress, if stress is a trigger for your indigestion. Learn new procedures for handling stress, such as relaxation and biofeedback methods.

- Wait at least 3-4 hours after the last meal before bedtime.

- Sleep with your head raised (at least six inches) over your toes and use pillows to prop yourself up. This will enable digestive juices to flow to the intestines rather than into the esophagus.

- Smokers should think about quitting smoking, or at least not smoking right before eating, as smoking may irritate the stomach lining.

- Cut back on your alcohol intake, because alcohol can irritate the stomach lining.

- Avoid wearing tight-fitting garments since they have a tendency to compress the stomach, which may cause its contents to enter the esophagus.

- Don't exercise with a full belly. Get your workout before a meal or at least two hours after eating a meal.

- Don't lie down right after eating.


Most of this appears to be all common-sense precautions to reduce indigestion in the first location. Indigestion can often be avoided by paying attention to one's diet, overall stress level, and way of bringing stress levels down. Specific preventive measures known to work include:

• avoiding foods which are highly spiced or packaged with fat

• quitting smoking

• eating slowly and being relaxed

• practicing yoga asanas or meditation

• not taking medications or aspirin on an empty belly

• maintaining a person's weight in healthy limits

See: Apple Cider Vinegar for Acid Reflux

References

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/indigestion/symptoms-causes/syc-20352211

2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/h-pylori/symptoms-causes/syc-20356171

3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003260.htm

4. https://badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/functional-dyspepsia/

5. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/7316-upset-stomach-indigestion/care-and-treatment

6. Gayle Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

7. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Indigestion (Dyspepsia) Accessed 11/1/2016.

8. American Academy of Family Physicians. Dyspepsia Accessed 11/1/2016.

9. Apple cider vinegar. (n.d.). goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/apple-cider-vinegar

10. Kaur GJ, et al. (2009). Antibacterial and phytochemical screening of Anethum graveolens, Foeniculum vulgare and Trachyspermum ammi. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-9-30

11. Langella C, et al. (2018). New food approaches to reduce and/or eliminate increased gastric acidity related to gastroesophageal pathologies. DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2018.03.002

12. Lete I, et al. (2016). The effectiveness of ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy & chemotherapy. DOI: 10.4137/IMI.S36273

13. Licorice root. (2016). nccih.nih.gov/health/licoriceroot

14. Madisch A, et al. (1999). Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a fixed peppermint oil & caraway oil combination preparation as compared to cisapride. A multicenter, reference-controlled double-blind equivalence study. DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1300528

15. Srivastava JK, et al. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. DOI: 10.3892/mmr.2010.377

See: Ginger for acid reflux relief

Get a Consultation
(650) 539-4545
Get more information via email