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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

Indigestion

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How Is Indigestion Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion, make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out a more serious condition. Because indigestion is such a broad term, it is helpful to provide your doctor with a precise description of the discomfort you are experiencing. In describing your indigestion symptoms, try to define where in the abdomen the discomfort usually occurs. Simply reporting pain in the stomach is not detailed enough for your doctor to help identify and treat your problem.

First, your doctor must rule out any underlying conditions. Your doctor may perform several blood tests and you may have X-rays of the stomach or small intestine. Your doctor may also use an instrument to look closely at the inside of the stomach, a procedure called an upper endoscopy. An endoscope, a flexible tube that contains a light and a camera to produce images from inside the body, is used in this procedure.

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 indigestion symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor. 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.
  • Try to relax after meals.
  • 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.

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