Indigestion is a feeling of pain or discomfort in the abdomen. Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced behind your breastbone when acid from the stomach moves up to the chest or throat. Indigestion and heartburn sometimes occur together.
Reasons Beyond Food
While food is mostly blamed as the primary reason for indigestion, there may be other reasons too. Stomach produces acids when a person eats. This acid can rarely create a discomfort in your stomach lining, top part of the bowel or the oesophagus. This acid causes the heartburn which can persist for prolonged time periods, even after eating a big meal. Other factors that can trigger indigestion include:
1. Obesity increases the chances of indigestion as there is increased pressure inside your stomach causing an acid reflux.
2. Indigestion is common during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes experienced and at later stages due to the growing fetus pressing against your stomach. Almost 75% of women experience indigestion during this period.
3. Smoking and alcohol have a negative impact on health and indigestion is one of the side effects. The chemicals inhaled from the smoked cigarette can cause acid reflux. Alcohol increases the risk of indigestion to an even greater extent as the stomach produces more acid than usual which affects the stomach lining.
4. Stress and anxiety
5. Hiatus hernia, where the stomach pushes up into the diaphragm. Heartburn is the only symptom and you might not even link this symptom with hiatus hernia.
6. Eating greasy or spicy foods, close to bedtime, while lying down or overeating are contributing factors of indigestion.
7. Indigestion can also be due to other digestive conditions such as constipation, gallstones, celiac disease, gastritis, peptic ulcers, pancreatitis, GERD, stomach cancer and intestinal blockage.
8. Medications taken for high blood pressure, asthma, heart problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, pain, muscle spasms and drugs used for hormone therapy can result in indigestion.
Although indigestion is not a grave problem, its symptoms can cause discomfort and pain making you miss your office or school routine. Prolonged indigestion needs immediate medical attention.
Simple diet changes and lifestyle modifications can ease indigestion. Quitting smoking, restricting alcohol consumption, losing weight, keeping yourself calm and controlling portion sizes are some other reasonable changes that can be made in our lives to decrease the effect of indigestion. Get an appointment with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to get a healthy diet plan that can curb indigestion.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.