Dyspepsia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments

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In dyspepsia, people feel pain in the upper middle part of the stomach. It is also known as indigestion. It is a common problem that can occur to a person of any age. Both genders are prone to indigestion. The pain may come and go, but most of the time you will feel that you have pain. Dyspepsia can happen due to infections or the intake of certain medicines. People generally feel this pain after eating or drinking something. They would feel uncomfortable or full during a meal if they have not eaten much. Vomiting, burping, bloating, heartburn and more are some of the signs of dyspepsia. Pregnant women generally feel the problem of indigestion.

Symptoms of Dyspepsia:

The symptoms of dyspepsia are generally evoked by eating and you may feel that you have eaten a lot even when you have just eaten a little. Check out the various symptoms of dyspepsia.

–  The main symptom of dyspepsia is discomfort or pain in the upper middle part of the stomach.

–  You may have the feeling that you have eaten a lot even when you have eaten a little.

–  In dyspepsia, you may have the feeling of nausea due to an upset stomach.

–  The other symptoms of indigestion are belching, heartburn, bloating, vomiting occasionally and abdominal distention (swelling).

Causes of Dyspepsia:

Dyspepsia generally occurs due to the eating habits of a person. It can also occur due to an infection, certain medications or other digestive conditions. The signs are triggered when the stomach acid comes in contact with the mucosa. The stomach acids break down mucosa which leads to irritation and inflammation.

–  Eating too much or too fast can lead to indigestion.

–  Obesity can also lead to dyspepsia.

–  Eating fatty, spicy or greasy food can cause the problem of dyspepsia.

–  Drinking too much caffeine and alcohol can cause pain in the upper middle part of the stomach.

–  There are some medicines that can cause dyspepsia like anti-inflammatory medicines.

–  Generally, dyspepsia is caused by acid reflux or stomach ulcer disease.

–  In gastroparesis, the stomach takes a lot of time to empty the food. People who suffer from diabetes, generally face this problem. This problem can lead to indigestion.

–  An infection can cause dyspepsia, especially which happens due to a bacteria usually found in the stomach named Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

–  Pregnancy, thyroid disease, stomach cancer, gallstones, hiatus hernia, chronic pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and GERD are some of the causes of dyspepsia.

How is it diagnosed?

If you experience the problem of dyspepsia regularly or if your dyspepsia is severe then you should visit a primary care physician. While on the other hand, it is mil and not frequent then there is no need for treatment. The doctor will ask you about various symptoms of dyspepsia that you are experiencing. They will also ask about their medical history and family history. Your doctor will examine your stomach and chest. Your doctor will press down on different parts of your stomach to find out in which part the problem is. If the doctor suspects that you are suffering from the problem of dyspepsia then he may ask you to get some tests done for the diagnosis. These tests include:

– Blood test: Your doctor may ask you to get the blood test done if it is found that you have the symptoms of anaemia.

– Endoscopy: In endoscopy, a long thin tube attached to a camera is inserted into the stomach through the mouth. This helps to get a clear image of the mucosa. Endoscopy is done for the detailed examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

– Test for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: In order to diagnose H.pylori infection, a urea breath test, a stool antigen test, and a blood test can be done. Endoscopy also helps to find out if there is an H.pylori infection.

– X-rays: X-rays are done in order to have the images of the oesophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

– Abdominal ultrasound: In this, a gel is applied to the stomach and then a device is pressed on the stomach. With the help of this, your doctor is able to see the detailed image of the abdomen from inside on a monitor.

– Abdominal CT scan: In an Abdominal CT scan, a dye may be injected into the veins. This CT scan takes a number of X-ray images to provide a 3D image of the abdomen from inside.

Prevention for Dyspepsia:

The best way to prevent the problem of dyspepsia or indigestion is to manage your eating habits. You should avoid eating all the food that causes indigestion. Check out the various things that help you to get the prevention from dyspepsia:

–  Eat-in small quantities so that your stomach does not have to work a lot to digest the food. Also, you should eat slowly.

–  If there is some food that troubles your stomach then you should avoid eating that.

–  You should avoid a high intake of food that contains acids like tomatoes and citrus fruits.

–  You should reduce the intake of beverages that have caffeine in them.

–  If indigestion is happening to you due to stress then you should learn various techniques of managing the stress like relaxation and biofeedback techniques.

–  You should not take a lot of anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen (Motrin), aspirin, naproxen (Aleve) and ketoprofen (Orudis. You should take them only if they are prescribed by your doctor. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is good medicine for pain as it does not trouble the stomach.

–  You should quit smoking and also cut on the consumption of alcohol. Both smoking and drinking alcohol can irritate the lining of the stomach.

–  You should do the exercise before your meal or at least after an hour of your meal. You should never do the exercise when your stomach is full. You should not lie just after having a meal.

–  When you sleep your head should be at the height of at least 6 inches above your feet. You can use the pillows to prop yourself up. It is helpful as it allows the digestive juices to flow into the intestines instead of the oesophagus.

–  There should be at least three hours difference between your last meal of the day and your time of going to bed.

–  You should wear comfortable clothes instead of tight-fitting clothes. Tight-fitting clothes can compress your abdomen, due to which its contents may enter the oesophagus.

Treatments for Dyspepsia:

The treatment of indigestion depends on the condition that is causing the problem of indigestion. If the symptoms are severe and frequent then you should see a doctor immediately for treatment. The mild and infrequent symptoms can be handled with ease. But this is not the case with severe and frequent symptoms. The mild and frequent symptoms can be handled by making some changes in the lifestyle. These changes involve avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol, reducing the intake of caffeine, sleeping for at least 7 hours, avoiding spicy and fatty food, exercising regularly and more. Various medicines are given to people suffering from dyspepsia.

If the symptoms are severe and frequent then your doctor may prescribe you to take the following medicines:

– H-2-receptor antagonists: These are used to reduce the acid levels in the stomach and last for a longer period than antacids. But the best thing about antacids is that they act more quickly. Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid, and Axid are some of the over-the-counter medicines available without a prescription. You may experience the problem of nausea, constipation, vomiting, diarrhoea, and headaches due to the intake of these medicines. Bruising and bleeding are the other side effects that may also occur.

– Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): If a person also has the problem of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with indigestion then proton pump inhibitors are very effective for them. Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, and Zegerid are some of the proton pump inhibitors. They are also used for reducing stomach acid. However, these are stronger than H-2-receptor antagonists.

– Antacids: These are used to counter the effects of stomach acid. Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Rolaids, Riopan, and Mylanta are some of the over-the-counter medicines that can be purchased without a prescription. It is one of the first treatments given by the doctors for the treatment of dyspepsia.

– Prokinetics: It is for those who experience the problem of stomach emptying slowly. Reglan is a prokinetic medicine. There can be various side effects of prokinetic medicines including sleepiness, tiredness, anxiety, depression, and muscle spasms.

– Antibiotics: An antibiotic medicine is prescribed if H.pylori is causing you peptic ulcers leading to indigestion. Upset stomach, diarrhoea, and fungal infections can be the side effects of taking antibiotics.

– Psychological therapy: Psychological therapy is for people with functional dyspepsia. Therapy helps to manage the cognitive aspects of indigestion.

– Antidepressants: If your doctor does not find the exact cause of indigestion after a thorough examination and also various other treatments have not worked properly then your doctor may prescribe you to have antidepressants of low-dose. Antidepressants help in reducing the discomfort but they have various side effects including nausea, headaches, agitation, constipation, and night sweats.


Generally, the symptoms of dyspepsia are mild and infrequent. But sometimes, they are severe and frequent and call for an immediate appointment with the doctor. There can be some complications associated with the problem of indigestion:

– Pyloric stenosis: It is a condition that blocks food from entering the small intestine. This problem occurs when stomach acid causes irritation for a longer period of time in the lining of the digestive system. In pyloric stenosis, pylorus which is a passage between the stomach and the small intestine becomes narrowed and scarred. Due to this, it becomes hard to digest the food. A person has to undergo surgery in order to get the pylorus to widen.

– Oesophagal stricture: Esophagus is a passageway from the throat to the stomach. Acid reflux can lead to dyspepsia. In this, stomach acid leaks back into the oesophagus which irritates the lining of the stomach called mucosa. In oesophagal stricture, the oesophagus becomes narrowed and constricted. This problem creates a problem for the people in swallowing the food. Due to this, food can get stuck in the throat anytime and cause the chest pain. In order for the oesophagus widen, one has to undergo oesophagal dilatation.


Dyspepsia is also known as indigestion. In this, people feel pain in the upper middle abdomen. It is one of the common problems that can occur to anyone. Vomiting, nausea, belching, heartburn, bloating, abdominal distention, pain or discomfort in stomach and feeling that you have eaten a lot even when you have eaten nothing or a little are some of the signs or symptoms of dyspepsia. If the symptoms of dyspepsia are infrequent and mild then they can be easily managed by making some changes in lifestyle like avoiding alcohol and smoking, sleeping for at least 7 hours, eating meals in small quantity, avoiding food that causes trouble, reducing caffeine and more. But if the symptoms are severe and frequent then you should see the best doctor as early as possible. Your doctor may prescribe you medicine as per your cause of indigestion. Antibiotics, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, prokinetics are some of the medications given to the people suffering from the severe and frequent symptoms of indigestion. You should avoid taking the medicines without the prescription of your doctor.

If you are looking for the answers to various questions including:

–  What is dyspepsia or indigestion?

–  What are the various symptoms, causes, and complications of dyspepsia?

–  How is dyspepsia diagnosed and treated?

Then you are at the right place, please do scroll up the page.


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