Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, refers to the pain or discomfort in the stomach associated with difficulty in digesting food.
According to Right Diagnosis, 35 out of 1000 people experience indigestion. About 1 in 28 or 3.50% or 9.5 million people in the United States suffered from the condition and 6 million cases of the condition are noted every year.
Indigestion can be caused by a variety of factors. According to Mayo Clinic, lifestyle, food, drink, or medication trigger indigestion. The publication added that common causes of indigestion include eating fatty or spicy foods; too much chocolate, caffeine, carbonated beverages, or alcohol; overeating or eating too quickly; smoking; certain antibacterial medications; and anxiety.
There are also some digestive diseases that can cause indigestion. According to Healthline, the common gastrointestinal diseases that may cause indigestion include gastritis or the irritation of the stomach; stomach and peptic ulcers, which are painful sores in the stomach lining or small intestine; cirrhosis or the severe scarring and poor function of the liver due to excessive alcohol intake or viral infections; gallstones, which are hard deposits in the gall bladder that can block the bile ducts; cholecystitis or the inflammation of the gall bladder, which is possibly related to the presence of gallstones; acute pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas; generalized anxiety disorder; pregnancy; and ovarian cysts, among others.
While indigestion could bring discomfort to an individual, there are also several ways to prevent it.
According to Fox News, increasing fiber intake is one way to prevent indigestion. Fiber is essential to overall health, because it promotes the digestive process and the motility of the gastrointestinal tract. Fiber also gets rid of the toxins in the body by sweeping them away. Foods high in fiber include whole grain cereals, oats, potatoes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, baked beans, and carbonated drinks should be avoided, since they are considered gas-forming foods and they may aggravate the digestive condition.
The manner a person eats should also be considered to prevent indigestion. According to EMedicine Health, one should avoid chewing with his mouth open, talking while chewing, or eating quickly, since these actions promote or aggravate indigestion. Along with chewing food completely and eating at a slower pace, it is also recommended to drink fluids after meals, rather than during meals, to prevent bloating. In addition to avoiding oily and spicy foods, eating late at night should also be avoided.
According to BBC Good Food, keeping a food diary is also helpful in preventing dyspepsia. The publication said that keeping a food diary to identify food and drinks that could trigger the condition. Examples of these foods and beverages are chocolates, spicy foods, and coffee. The publication added that if it becomes a challenge to get rid of them, one may choose the kind of food triggers that knows he can do away with and handle the others. In fact, the publication said that it is also advisable to walk before eating the main mean, to “de-stress” oneself and be able to fully enjoy the meal. This also helps prevent bloating feelings and relieve dyspepsia while keeping blood sugar levels stable.
Exercise also prevents indigestion. According to Livestrong, exercise should be done at least two hours after eating. However, the exercises should not involve jarring the stomach or put the head and upper body in a downward position; otherwise, indigestion will be the result. According to FitDay (via Livestrong), exercises, such as aerobic routines, running, and weightlifting are known to jar the stomach and cause gastrointestinal symptoms while biking and swimming can help reduce indigestion.
With the aforementioned tips, it is assumed that cases of indigestion or dyspepsia would be lower. However, if there are changes in one’s symptoms or if the indigestion symptoms continue or worsen, along with an unintentional weight loss, medical consult should be considered.