Hi! I'm Becky Yoza, APRN
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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – Indigestion
Indigestion is a common problem. One experiences stomach pain after eating heavy meals. Or it can be due to other medications as well. There are lifestyle changes one can make for indigestion pain relief.
Symptoms of indigestion
Belching or burping is a sign of excessive food or drink consumption. Dyspepsia refers to a group of symptoms of indigestion. Symptoms such as bloating, discomfort, nausea, and excess wind production for example. Other symptoms of dyspepsia are heartburn and water brash as well. Water brash is the coming up of a bitter-tasting liquid. This liquid comes up into the back of the throat. But, these are now considered symptoms of a condition called gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Food passes down the oesophagus into the stomach. After that, the stomach prepares acid to break down the food. Food then passes into the duodenum. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine. In the duodenum and the rest of the small intestine, food mixes with chemicals. Chemicals called enzymes. Food also gets digested in the duodenum and the rest of the small intestine as well. Digested food is then absorbed into the body from the small intestine.
Treating indigestion by making changes in your lifestyle
- Eat small and regular meals. Especially avoid eating late at night.
- Lose weight if you are obese.
- Avoid excessive smoking or drinking.
- Improving posture. Lying down or bending forward a lot during the day leads to acid reflux. This happens after heavy meals. Sitting hunched or wearing tight belts also puts extra pressure on the stomach as well. As a result, this makes reflux worse.
- At night, go to bed at least 2 hours after your last meal. Also, adjust your bed to raise the head side of the bed by about 6 inches. As a result, this will keep acid from refluxing into the food pipe (oesophagus). In addition, you may also use additional pillows as well.
- Antacids or alkali fluids neutralize the stomach acid. A dose of antacid after every heavy meal provides relief.
- Test for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and get treatment.
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- Pass blood with your stools
- Bring up (vomit) blood
- Lose weight suddenly
- Have difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
- Develop yellowish skin (anaemia)
Some medicines may cause dyspepsia as a side effect. For example, anti-inflammatory medicines cause dyspepsia as a side effect. They affect the lining of the stomach. These medicines are for arthritis and muscular pain. It is also used for sprains and period pains as well. As a result, they allow acid to cause inflammation and ulcers.