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Chronic Indigestion


What is chronic indigestion?

Chronic indigestion, also called dyspepsia, is stomach discomfort that lasts more than 7 days a month. Chronic means that the symptoms may slowly get worse, come and go, or last for a long time.

What increases my risk for chronic indigestion?

  • Caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, or foods that are high in fat
  • Medicine such as NSAIDs, steroids, narcotics, and antibiotics
  • Acid reflux
  • Inflammation of the esophagus or stomach
  • An ulcer in your stomach or intestine
  • Stomach or intestinal cancer

What are the signs and symptoms of chronic indigestion?

  • Pain or burning feeling in your esophagus or stomach
  • Feeling full even though you have not eaten much
  • Feeling bloated
  • Nausea or vomiting

How is chronic indigestion diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms, and how long you have had them. He will ask about other health conditions you have now, or have had in the past, such as a stomach ulcer. He will also ask if you have a family history of esophageal, stomach, or intestinal cancer.

How is chronic indigestion treated?

Healthcare providers will treat any medical condition that may be causing your chronic indigestion. You may also need any of the following:

  • Medicines decrease the amount of acid in your stomach.
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a procedure to look at your esophagus and stomach. A scope is a long, bendable tube with a light on the end of it. A camera attached to the scope will take pictures.

How can I manage chronic indigestion?

  • Do not eat foods that can irritate your stomach , such as spicy or fatty foods. Do not drink beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol. Chocolate, peppermint, spearmint, and citrus may also make your symptoms worse. Eat small meals several times a day rather than large meals.
  • Limit medicines that irritate your stomach such as NSAIDs, steroids, or narcotics. If you are given these medicines for a current health condition, ask your healthcare provider how to decrease stomach irritation. Your healthcare provider may suggest another medicine that is less irritating. Ask your healthcare provider before you take any over-the-counter medicine.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Find ways to decrease stress. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing, meditation, and listening to music. These may help you cope with stressful events. A counselor may also help you find the cause of your stress and ways to manage it.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have pain, discomfort, or constipation.
  • You have mild to moderate nausea with vomiting and stomach swelling.
  • Your skin looks pale, and you feel weaker and more tired than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have trouble swallowing.
  • You have severe abdominal pain that does not go away even after you take pain medicine.
  • Your bowel movement is black or you vomit blood.
  • You lose weight without trying.
  • You have repeated episodes of vomiting.
  • You feel a mass or lump in your abdomen.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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