It’s not uncommon for a little excess to lead to some digestive discomfort. Common symptoms are bloating, stomach pain, nausea and abdominal cramps. The following article will help you learn more about the subject.
Liver attack or indigestion?
Indigestion, also called "dyspepsia," is a general term to describe discomfort in the upper abdomen. People mistakenly think that their digestive discomfort is actually a problem with their livers. In fact, liver disease rarely causes gastrointestinal symptoms.
Many people think that the liver needs cleansing from time to time. This belief is wrong. The liver does not need such cures to function properly. Healthy lifestyle habits will be much more effective and safer than any “detoxifying cures.”
Symptoms of indigestion
Indigestion may be accompanied by several symptoms:
- Heartburn, with or without reflux
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and feeling of being full
- Nausea, which can lead to vomiting in more severe cases
- Acid taste
- Gas and belching (burping)
Heartburn can often accompany indigestion but can also be a sign of another underlying problem. If heartburn is recurrent, it is imperative to speak to a healthcare professional.
Reflux often occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach move up into the esophagus. It happens that the "valve" that separates the stomach from the esophagus is not perfectly sealed. The patient may then experience a burning sensation, nausea and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Causes and risk factors for indigestion
Several causes can be singled out. In fact, certain lifestyle habits can increase the risk of suffering from indigestion:
- Eating too quickly
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Stress and fatigue
- Certain foods such as coffee, citrus fruit and foods that are too spicy or fatty
Certain medications may also cause indigestion:
- Anti-inflammatory medications and acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirinmd);
- Estrogens and oral contraceptives
- Certain antibiotics
Being overweight can also increase your risk of developing digestive problems. This is because being overweight can put pressure on the abdomen. In doing so, the stomach can be compressed and its contents can move up into the esophagus. Minimal weight loss can improve digestive problems significantly.
Having a sedentary lifestyle is also a risk factor to consider. In addition to alleviating certain digestive disorders, regular physical activity can help you achieve a healthy weight and help control stress and anxiety levels. Depending on your abilities, doing a moderate activity for 30 to 60 minutes per day can have a beneficial effect on several aspects of your health.
Treatments for stomach pain
There are several over-the-counter and prescription treatments available to relieve stomach pain and reflux. Some work quickly, but are effective for a shorter duration, while others are longer-lasting but take longer to work. Your pharmacist can help you choose a treatment that's right for your condition. Under certain conditions they may even prescribe a treatment.
When should you consult a doctor about a digestive problem?
Occasionally suffering from digestive problems is normal and there’s nothing to worry about. However, if your digestive problems are recurring or if they persist for more than 14 days despite adequate treatment, you should consult a doctor. You should also consult a doctor if you’re experiencing:
- Heartburn for the first time after the age of 50 years
- Heartburn more than twice a week
- Severe difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in the stool or black stool
- Blood in the urine
- Severe chest pain with numbness or pain radiating to the left arm, neck or jaw
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting with the presence of blood
A quick note on bloating, gas and belching
In addition to heartburn and reflux, other digestive discomforts can occur, such as bloating, gas, and belching (burping). Bloating and gas are caused by gas build-up in the digestive system. Belching happens when there is excess air in the stomach. Although these things are unpleasant, they are rarely dangerous. They can be controlled by adopting certain habit, including:
- Avoid foods that cause discomfort - you can identify them by keeping a food diary
- Avoid carbonated beverages
- Eat slowly
- Avoid chewing gum and hard candy
- Stop smoking
If you have any questions or concerns about your digestive system, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional.