It’s not unheard of to suffer a bout of indigestion every now and again, especially if you have indulged in something spicy or eaten too much of a good thing. However, if you are experiencing indigestion on a regular basis, you may be suffering from an underlying problem like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), gallbladder disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, or any of several other conditions. Indigestion is often accompanied by heartburn, which is caused by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus.
Symptoms of Indigestion
Signs that you are experiencing indigestion include: an overly full feeling, bloating, gas, belching, gurgling stomach, nausea and/or vomiting, pain in the abdomen, burning sensations in the stomach or upper abdomen, and an acidic taste in the mouth.
Foods that most commonly cause this uncomfortable and painful condition include fried and fatty foods, carbonated drinks, acidic foods such as tomatoes, as well as lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Spicy foods like jalapenos and other peppers, onion, garlic, chocolate, peppermint, and caffeine are also known to cause indigestion.
Indigestion may also be made worse by stress, fatigue, alcohol, and smoking. Taking steps to relax, getting plenty of rest, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking will all help to combat the effects of indigestion.
While suffering from indigestion can often seem like it will never end after it strikes, there are many things you can do to cut down on attacks of indigestion, allowing you to enjoy eating once more. Taking steps to prevent indigestion should begin with keeping track of exactly what is being eaten before the indigestion occurs. While some common triggers might cause a night of upset stomach, other well-known triggers may not. If you enjoy eating spicy foods but suffer indigestion because of it, try to eliminate these foods to allow your stomach time to heal and then gradually reintroduce milder versions you can more easily tolerate.
Foods that are least likely to result in stomach upset and heartburn should be eaten regularly. These include skim or low-fat dairy products, vegetables other than those noted to cause indigestion, fruits other than citrus, and lean meats. Sufferers should consider eating up to six small meals a day to allow the stomach adequate time and space for digestion.
Speaking to your doctor when indigestion becomes frequent or prolonged will allow you to rule out or diagnose any underlying conditions so that you can take the proper steps to living indigestion free.
For some people, a change in diet alone may not be enough to prevent indigestion. In these cases, there are specially formulated over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be taken. These medicines are designed to lower the amount of acids produced by the stomach. When combined with a healthy diet, adequate exercise, and rest, indigestion sufferers will be enjoying meal time once again in no time.