Indigestion is a term that describes recurrent pain in the upper abdomen and a feeling of discomfort, burning, bloating, belching or nausea during or after eating. It is a common problem and is frequently caused by reflux of food contents (and acidic digestive fluid) from the stomach into the esophagus. If this continually occurs the lining of the stomach and esophagus becomes irritated, inflamed and painful.
Heartburn occurs commonly in patients who are pregnant or overweight individuals or those who have a diet high in spicy foods, coffee and alcohol. It is also common in patients who have a hernia of the diaphragm muscle, which causes part of the stomach to move up into the chest cavity. Smokers are at an increased risk of experiencing heartburn and anti-inflammatory tablets can also cause stomach irritation and pain.
The symptoms of heartburn or reflux include:
- upper abdominal pain
- a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
- an acidic taste in the mouth
- feeling full or bloated
- burping, belching or flatulence
- feeling sick or nauseated
You can ease heartburn and acid reflux by undertaking simple lifestyle changes. By quitting smoking and losing weight your symptoms will reduce. Importantly if you eat smaller more frequent meals and avoid foods that trigger your symptoms the irritation and inflammation will subside. We also recommend avoiding eating meals 3 hours before bed to avoid heartburn symptoms.
Should these lifestyle changes fail to reduce your symptoms you can call upon the experienced clinicians at My Emergency Dr for an immediate online consultation and expert care. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms please advise the team at My Emergency Dr – vomiting blood, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss; so, we can expedite your care.