Why Your Indigestion Might Be More Serious Than You Think

Indigestion is a broad term that refers to feelings of discomfort or pain in the stomach (via WebMD). This feeling is persistent and often occurs after eating, although it can happen without eating anything. Symptoms of indigestion include burning in the stomach, abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea. While these symptoms can occur occasionally due to a variety of factors, recurring indigestion is usually a sign of an underlying health condition.

Some of the health conditions that may be causing your indigestion include ulcers, stomach infections, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is when stomach acid frequently flows back into your esophagus, can also cause indigestion. Chronic pancreatitis, thyroid disease, and gastroparesis may be at the root of your discomfort as well. In rare cases, stomach cancer may be to blame. However, something less serious, like pregnancy, can also cause your symptoms. If you are experiencing indigestion, schedule a visit with your doctor. They can help you find the underlying cause of your issue and create the best treatment plan.

How to treat indigestion

Because indigestion is usually caused by an underlying health condition, you'll need to figure out what that health condition is to find the best treatment options. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your symptoms when you experience indigestion and aren't sure why. According to Healthline, some medications may be helpful when treating indigestion, although they often come with unpleasant side effects of their own. H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs), like Pepcid, reduce stomach acid that may be causing feelings of discomfort. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), like Prilosec, also reduce stomach acid but are stronger than H2RAs. Both can cause side effects like nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and headaches.

In some cases, lifestyle changes may be able to effectively treat your indigestion. Certain foods may trigger your symptoms, so avoiding those foods can help you feel better. If you get indigestion after eating, try eating more slowly and avoid lying down after a meal. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including staying at a moderate weight, reducing your alcohol consumption, and avoiding smoking, can also help.