Indigestion is a general term that refers to discomfort in the upper part of your abdomen. The symptoms — such as stomach pain, bloating, nausea, or a feeling of fullness — often begin shortly after you eat.
Also called dyspepsia, indigestion is very common. However, indigestion may also point to an underlying problem in your digestive system, such as:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is commonly called heartburn
- Stomach ulcers
- Gallbladder disease
Although some of these health issues require specific care, there are many actions you can take to relieve the symptoms of indigestion.
Indigestion Remedies and Treatments
You can try some remedies for indigestion from home, while others require help from a doctor or specialist. A few flexible options will feature ways to accomplish them on your own and ways to include professional guidance from a health care professional.
There are many different kinds of medicine that you can take to help relieve indigestion. Over-the-counter medications for indigestion include:
Not all medications for indigestion are available over the counter. Some helpful drugs for more complicated instances of indigestion may require a prescription from your doctor. If you have indigestion due to a bacterial infection, your doctor will likely prescribe you antibiotics.
Because emotional stress can cause indigestion, getting mental health care may help ease your stomach pain. One type of psychological therapy that might prove beneficial is called talk therapy. In talk therapy, a therapist can help you find ways to deal with everyday stressors. You can set in-person appointments or use online services to try this route.
If you find that stress is causing your indigestion, meditation and other relaxation exercises might be worth trying, as well.
Adding Ginger to Your Diet
Ginger has a long history of medicinal uses, including treating disorders associated with indigestion. There is a wealth of research to prove ginger’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiulcer effects.
Ginger not only helps get rid of nausea with little adverse effects, but it also helps with digestion and the flow of saliva. It can help your body get rid of gas that might be causing your stomach pain, too.
You can find both fresh ginger root and ginger supplements at most supermarkets and health food stores.
Drinking Water with Baking Soda
If acid is the root cause of your indigestion, then baking soda — also known as sodium bicarbonate — can come to your rescue.
Simply add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water, stir it up, and drink it. You should avoid consuming baking soda within two hours of taking other medications, as it can slow down the rate your body absorbs certain medicines.
Take this home remedy an hour or two after meals. Make sure your stomach is not too full when you’re dosing, and don’t keep taking baking soda like this for more than two weeks unless it’s backed by your doctor’s orders.
When to See a Doctor
Mild indigestion is not a cause for concern. However, you may want to reach out to your doctor if your dyspepsia lasts for more than two weeks. You should also contact your doctor right away if your stomach pain is severe or accompanied by:
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Frequent vomiting or vomiting blood
- Black, tarry stool
- Difficulty swallowing that gets continuously worse
Weakness or fatigue
If your indigestion is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should call 911 or seek immediate medical attention:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
- Chest pain that moves to your jaw, neck, or arm
- Chest pain with stress or after exerting yourself
Some of the feelings associated with indigestion may be signs of angina — chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to your heart — or a heart attack. Both heartburn and a developing heart attack may cause symptoms that go away after a while, so even if your chest pain subsides, seek emergency medical help to rule out more serious conditions.