Indigestion and GERD

Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia in the medical community, refers to a fullness or discomfort feeling during or after a meal. It may also be accompanied by pain or burning (heartburn) in the upper portion of the stomach. Indigestion may be a clue to an underlying condition, such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), gallbladder disease or even ulcers.

Symptoms

Indigestion symptoms vary by individual, but typically include bloating, fullness, belching, gas, acidic taste in the mouth, heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and a growling stomach. Indigestion symptoms may increase if accompanied by stress.

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion can be caused by some diseases, certain medications and individual lifestyle choices. Diseases such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), gastroparesis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid disease, chronic pancreatitis, stomach infections, and in rare cases stomach cancer. Aspirin, estrogen, oral contraception, some antibiotics, steroids, thyroid medications and some other painkillers increase the likelihood of indigestion. Lifestyle choices, such as eating too fast, eating too much, eating high-fat foods and eating while under stress contribute to symptoms of indigestion as does drinking too much alcohol and smoking.

Diagnosing Indigestion

If you are experiencing indigestion symptoms and think you may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), make an appointment to visit your Atlanta, GA physician. To diagnose your condition, you doctor may take X-rays of your stomach and/or small intestine and order blood tests. Your doctor may also prescribe a test called an upper endoscopy. During an upper endoscopy, your doctor inserts a flexible tube, referred to as an endoscope, to examine your esophagus and stomach. The endoscope has a light and a camera to capture images of parts of your digestive system.

Treatment

Treatment of the symptoms of indigestion depends upon the underlying condition. Remember, indigestion is the symptom, not the disease. Once your condition is diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe lifestyle changes, medications or surgery in some cases.

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