Commonly known as an ‘upset stomach,’ indigestion refers to the feeling of discomfort or pain in your upper abdominal region. Fundamentally, indigestion is not a disease but a collection of symptoms that in some cases, suggests something’s not right with your digestive system. Although common, indigestion affects every individual differently. In the majority of the cases, indigestion can be managed with some dietary and lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of indigestion
Do you ever feel you’re ‘too full’ when you have barely eaten anything? Is a lingering ache in your upper abdomen a frequent visitor in your life? Let’s delve into some of the most common symptoms associated with indigestion:
- Burning sensation or discomfort in the upper abdomen
This is when you experience a burning sensation between the bottom of your breastbone to your navel.
- Feeling ‘full’ very soon during a meal
This is when you have barely eaten anything from your meal and you already feel like you are full.
This is when you feel like throwing up whatever you have eaten.
- Feeling of constant fullness after meals
This is when you constantly feel like you’ve eaten so much despite consuming an adequate amount of food only.
- Bloating in the upper abdomen
This is when you feel a buildup of gas in your upper abdomen along with some tightness sensation from within.
Some people often confuse indigestion with heartburn, but the two are very different. Although indigestion and heartburn can co-exist, heartburn is a more specific pain/burning sensation in the chest that indicates acid reflux coming from the stomach to the oesophagus.
Causes of indigestion
Some of the most common causes of indigestion when it is not indicative of something serious underlying include:
- Eating too fast
- Consuming a lot of alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, caffeine, or chocolate
- Eating food that’s very greasy, spicy, or oily
When indigestion is a symptom indicative of an underlying digestive disorder, its causes include:
- Celiac disease
- Peptic Ulcers
- Intestinal Ischemia
- Stomach Cancer
Effective lifestyle changes for treating indigestion
When indigestion is not associated with an underlying condition, it can very well be treated with some lifestyle changes. Make it a point to incorporate these changes in your lifestyle to avoid or treat this condition:
- Avoid or limit your intake of foods and beverages that trigger indigestion
This includes caffeine, alcohol, raw onions, citrus fruits and their juices, black pepper, garlic, etc.
- Opt for shorter meals with more frequency than large meals
Ditch the tendency to eat three heavy meals in one day and replace it with five to six small meals. This will keep your tummy filled without making you feel ‘too full.’
- Avoid some medications
- Search for alternatives for these medicines
You can choose some home remedies to replace the medicines that trigger your indigestion. Alternatively, you can also ask the doctor to prescribe different medicines that in general won’t lead to an upset stomach.
- Control your stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety often play a key role in deciding what we eat and how. Sometimes, anxiety makes us overeat too much. Hence, it is imperative to control our stress and anxiety through activities like yoga and meditation. This will further help you in avoiding indigestion and other digestive disorders altogether.
Now that you know what’s the reason behind your tummy ‘acting full,’ do make sure you follow a healthy diet and lifestyle for a healthy and happy tummy.