Dyspepsia: Causes, symptoms & Treatment


Dyspepsia is also known as indigestion or upset stomach. It is a term that describes pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen and is not considered as diseases. Dyspepsia is a usual condition and usually describes a group of symptoms while its predominant symptoms include bloating, nausea and burping. Dyspepsia is normally caused by stomach acid coming into the mucosa of the digestive system-the sensitive protective lining of the digestive system. Stomach acids disrupt the mucosa, causing inflammation and irritation, which trigger the symptoms of indigestion.

Mostly indigestion is connected to eating or drinking. Sometime it may be caused by infection or some medication’s side effect.


Symptoms of dyspepsia

People with dyspepsia mostly feel discomfort and pain in the stomach or chest area. The sensation normally arrears soon after consuming a drink or food. In most of the cases, the symptoms may appear after a meal while some people feel full during a meal, even if they have not eaten enough.

These are some common symptoms of dyspepsia:

  • Nausea
  • Belching
  • Feeling bloated

Barely some cases of indigestion may be a symptom of stomach cancer. Dyspepsia is rarely anything to worry about, but if symptoms continue for more than two weeks you must visit a doctor. If any case of severe pain you must see your doctor immediately, and the following also occur:

Causes of dyspepsia

Dyspepsia is often related to lifestyle and what we drink and eat. It can also be caused by infection or some other conditions.


Common causes of dyspepsia include:

  • Too much eating  
  • Eating too rapidly
  • Consuming spicy food
  • Consuming fatty foods
  • Having too much caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and fizzy drinks
  • Gallstones
  • Emotional trauma
  • Gastritis
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Stomach cancer
  • Nervousness
  • Medication side effects
  • Infection, especially with bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori

The patient may have functional dyspepsia when a doctor cannot find the cause of indigestion. Functional dyspepsia is a type of indigestion that may reduce the stomach’s ability to digest and accept food and then pass that food on to the small intestine.

Risk factor of Dyspepsia

Dyspepsia is mild and does not happen frequently, in the vast majority of cases. Severe indigestion/dyspepsia can sometimes cause the following complications include:

  • Esophageal: When stomach acids leak back up into the esophagus and irritate the mucosa, the esophagus can become scarred, if the indigestion is caused by acid reflux. Patients esophagal stricture can have swallowing difficulties; food can get stuck in the throat which causes chest pain. Sometimes surgery is needed to widen the esophagus.
  • Pyloric stenosis: The long-term irritation of interlining of the digestive system by stomach acid causes Pyloric stenosis. The Pylorus becomes scarred and narrowed. Food is not well digested and surgery may require widening the pylorus.
  • Peritonitis: Inflammation of the peritoneum. Surgery can repair damage to the peritoneum and antibiotics may prescribe sometime to deal with an infection.

Diagnosis of Dyspepsia

Dyspepsia is mild and does not occur very often in the majority of patients. In several cases, no treatment form a doctor is needed. People who experience dyspepsia/indigestion continuously must see their doctor. Patients should also see the doctor if they experience severe pain or discomfort. A doctor may ask the patient about symptoms, patient’s medical history and examine the stomach and chest. This can involve pressing different areas of the abdomen to find out whether any are sensitive or tender.

The Blood test: A doctor may order a blood test if the patient has any symptoms of anaemia.

X-rays: Normally an upper-gastrointestinal and small bowel series. X-rays are taken of the esophagus, small intestine and stomach.


Endoscopy: Patients may be advised to have their abdomen examined in more detail who have not responded to treatment, or those with certain signs and symptoms. An endoscopy takes place in a hospital. For Endoscopy, a long thin tube with a camera at the end an endoscope goes through the throat of the patient into the stomach. The doctor can see images of the inside of the abdomen on the monitor.

Liver function test: If the doctor suspects the patient may have a biliary condition, which affects the bile ducts in the liver. This involves a blood test that decides how the liver is working.

Test to diagnose Helicobacter pylori infection: This may include a stool antigen test, a urea breath test and a blood test. Peptic ulcers are usually caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

Abdominal ultrasound: High- frequency sound waves generate images that show movements, blood flow and structure. A gel applied to the patient’s stomach and a handheld device is pressed against the skin. The device releases sound waves and the doctor can see the inside of the stomach in detail on a monitor.

Abdominal CT Scan: This can involve injecting a dye into the patient’s vein. The dye shows up on the monitor. CT scan takes a multiple of X-ray images to produce a 3-dimensional image of the inside of the abdomen.

Treatments for Dyspepsia

Treatments for indigestion depend upon what is causing and how serious symptoms are:


Diet and lifestyle– Some lifestyle changes will probably ease symptom if symptoms are mild and dyspepsia is not occurring continuously. This often involves less fatty food, less spicy food, less caffeine, alcohol, chocolates, taking rest, and good sleep.

Medication for dyspepsia

  • Antacids: There are OTC medicines (no prescription needed). These are usually first medication, the doctor recommends, example include Maalox, Riopan, Rolaids, Alka-Seltzer and Mylanta.
  • H-2-receptor antagonists: Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid and Axid some of these are OTC while others are prescription drugs. They undermine levels of stomach acids and last longer antacids. Some patients can experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea and headaches. Other side-effects may include bleeding.
  • PPIs: Aciphex, Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid and Zegerid these PPIs are very effective for patients who also have GERG. They undermine stomach acid and are stronger than H-2-receptor antagonists. Side effects may include a headache, vomiting, dizziness, back pain, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea, long-term use can lead to bone fractures.
  • Prokinetics: Reglan is the example. The medication friendly if the stomach empties slowly. Side effects may include tiredness, sleepiness, anxiety and muscle spasms.
  • Antibiotics: It will be prescribed if Helicobacter pylori causing peptic ulcers which result in dyspepsia. Side effects may include fungal infection, upset stomach and diarrhoea.
  • Antidepressant: The doctor may prescribe antidepressants if no causes for dyspepsia are found after a thorough evaluation and the patient has not responded to treatments. Antidepressants ease the discomfort sometimes by undermining the sensation of pain. Side effects may include headaches, nausea, agitation and night sweats.

If it is thought that it could be contributing to the dyspepsia. Doctors may also recommend making changes to the patient’s current medication. Sometime ibuprofen or aspirin may discontinue and alternative medication be prescribed. Patients must change medication under the supervision of the doctor and never do this on your own.

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