Dyspepsia (indigestion)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Dyspepsia (indigestion) (Disease)


Dyspepsia is characterized by a vague feeling of epigastric discomfort after eating. There is an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, heartburn, bloating, and nausea. Dyspepsia is not a distinct condition, but it may be a sign of an underlying intestinal disorder. The term dyspepsia is often used for these symptoms when they are not typical of a well-described disease (for example, gastrointestinal reflux) and the cause is not clear. After a cause for the symptoms has been determined, the term dyspepsia is usually dropped in favor of a more specific diagnosis.

The characteristic symptoms of dyspepsia are upper abdominal pain, bloating, fullness and tenderness on palpation. Pain worsened by exertion and associated with nausea and perspiration may also indicate angina.

Causes and risk factors

Occasionally dyspeptic symptoms are caused by medication, such as calcium antagonists (used for angina or high blood pressure), nitrates (used for angina), theophylline (used for chronic lung disease), bisphosphonates, corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (used as painkillers).

The presence of gastrointestinal bleeding (vomit containing blood), difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, abdominal swelling and persistent vomiting are suggestive of peptic ulcer disease or malignancy, and would necessitate urgent investigations.

The bacteria Helicobacter pylori is often found in those individuals suffering from duodenal or gastric ulcers. Investigation of recurrent indigestion should rule out these possible causes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis include several tests such as: endoscopy, gastrointestinal transit study, gastric accommodation test, gastroduodenal manometry, or tests for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) stomach bacteria.

Treatment depends on the type of digestive disorder that is causing your dyspepsia. Your Mayo doctor will involve you in decisions about a treatment plan for your condition. Treatment usually involves a combination of lifestyle and behavior changes, and medications. ...