What Is the Treatment for Indigestion?
Because indigestion is a symptom rather than a disease, treatment usually depends upon the underlying condition causing the indigestion.
Often, episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention. However, if your symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor. Avoiding foods and situations that cause indigestion are the best ways to treat it. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate indigestion:
- Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat too fast. This causes you to swallow too much air, which can aggravate indigestion.
- Drink fluids after rather than during meals.
- Avoid late-night eating.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages.
If indigestion is not relieved after making these changes, your doctor may prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms.
How Can I Prevent Indigestion?
The best way to prevent indigestion is to avoid the foods and situations that seem to cause it. Keeping a food diary is helpful in identifying foods that cause indigestion. Here are some other suggestions:
- Eat small meals so the stomach does not have to work as hard or as long.
- Eat slowly.
- Avoid foods that contain high amounts of acids, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
- Reduce or avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
- If stress is a trigger for your indigestion, learn new methods for managing stress, such as relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
- If you smoke, consider quitting, or at least not smoking right before or after eating, as smoking can irritate the stomach lining.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption, because alcohol can irritate the stomach lining.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting garments, because they tend to compress the stomach, which can cause its contents to enter the esophagus.
- Don't exercise with a full stomach. Rather, exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
- Don't lie down right after eating.
- Wait at least three hours after your last meal of the day before going to bed.
Sleep with your head elevated (at least 6 inches) above your feet and use pillows to prop yourself up. This will help allow digestive juices to flow into the intestines rather than to the esophagus.