Dyspepsia or indigestion refers to discomfort or pain that occurs in the upper abdomen. It is defined as a set of symptoms that originate in the upper gastrointestinal tract, in the absence of any structural cause or metabolic disease that can explain them. In some cases, there may also be a greater perception of gastric activity, which is called visceral hypersensitivity.
Who is affected by dyspepsia?
The pain may come and go, but it is usually present most of the time. People of any age can have dyspepsia, both men and women have it. About 1 in 4 people have dyspepsia at some point.
In patients with dyspepsia, the stomach does not relax in response to a meal, with alterations in contractions and gastric emptying being also observed. Some patients complain of pain, bloating, heartburn or nausea, while others have indigestion, but generally speaking, all suffer from discomfort in that area.
The causes of this condition are unknown in some cases, the symptoms may appear after an excessive meal or by having ingested certain medications that cause lesions in the gastric mucosa, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. It is also possible that the cause is due to psychological problems, such as stress, anxiety or depression.
Dyspepsia is often caused by a stomach ulcer or acid reflux disease when stomach acid returns to the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. This can lead to chest pain. Your doctor may do some tests to determine if you have an ulcer or acid reflux disease.
Some patients with dyspepsia may have a wound called an ulcer, in the stomach or in the duodenum area, caused mostly by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Other causes by which most cases of dyspepsia occur are excessive alcohol consumption, the intake of spicy or very greasy foods, and eating large amounts of food in a short time, in addition to other reasons such as smoking, high fiber foods or consuming too much caffeine.
Symptoms of dyspepsia
The main symptom of dyspepsia is discomfort in the upper abdomen, which occurs during or after meals. This pain is described as burning in the area between the navel and the lower part of the breastbone, and a bothersome feeling of bloating when or after starting to eat.
Other symptoms may also occur to a lesser extent, are the bloating or nausea. This condition is not the same as heartburn since its symptoms usually originate in the chest and can radiate to the neck or throat.
There are two types of dyspepsia, functional dyspepsia is one that occurs without an apparent cause and is not caused by an organic problem, and organic dyspepsia that is caused by organic damage.
Dyspepsia, in general, is not a serious health problem, unless it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as weight loss or discomfort when swallowing, it is recommended that the patient see a specialist if the symptoms persist for several days in a row, there is considerable weight loss or problems when swallowing food, as the condition is considered serious if you have other symptoms such as: yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice or blood in feces and vomit.
How to treat it
If the discomfort does not occur frequently, it is not necessary to go to a specialist doctor, the symptoms will disappear on their own, but if this is not the case, the treatments to consider are to monitor the diet. Patients have symptoms associated with food intake, especially if they are excessive, it is recommended that they eat meals low in fat and calories, and in small quantities.
Eradicate Helicobacter pylori: through antibiotics in cases where this bacterium is the cause. Administering medicines that reduce acid, a clear example is Omeprazole, it is possible that this medicine reduces the amount of acid in the stomach and helps you with pain. This medicine can also help you if you have acid reflux disease.
Your treatment will depend on what is causing your dyspepsia, but medications are the most common treatment. If you have a stomach ulcer, it can heal and you may need to take medicine to block the acid. If you have a stomach infection, you may also need to take an antibiotic.
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