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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.

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