Getting Relief From Symptoms of Poor Digestion
Q: I am 47 years old male, lean and thin built. I have problem of indigestion.
-By Sandeep Das
There can be many causes of indigestion. A proper evaluation including detailed history with investigation is required to make a diagnosis.
What is Indigestion?
Indigestion is usually a broad term used to cover any of the following feeling:
- Feeling very full after normal meals.
- Having stomach ache after eating
- Vomiting sensation after food
- Frequent burping
- Feeling of acidity
- Not feeling like having food
- Weight loss
- Improper defecation
It’s important to know what exactly you are experiencing.
Other Accompanying Symptoms
Sometimes the patient has some associated symptoms too, which point towards the diagnosis.
- Abnormal color of stools- tarry, maroon etc.
- Vomiting or nausea
- Dull ache somewhere in abdomen
- Frequent burps
- Any fever
- Joint pain, muscle pain
If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, it’s essential to notify them.
Problem of indigestion can arise from any level of the gastrointestinal tract.
GERD or Acid Reflux
Commonest is GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disorder). Here the sphincter (door) between the food pipe and the stomach does not close properly. Main symptom is acidity, felt almost all the time.
This happens because the acid produced in the stomach moves backwards to enter the food pipe, called acid reflux.
Symptoms increase on lying down or after heavy meals.
Having ulcers in the stomach is another reason for having indigestion. This is commoner in people who take pain relievers very frequently. Almost all pain relievers have a tendency to erode the mucosal lining of the stomach.
Gastric or peptic ulcers are common. They are diagnosed on endoscopy. Effective medicines are available in the market. They include various antacids. It is better to get treated for them than to let them grow inside.
Indigestion may also be felt if you have any problem in the secretion of enzymes. Mainly, the pancreas and the liver (bile juice) need to be healthy for good supply of juices (enzymes).
Sometimes the supply of enzymes is deficient. So the food is not properly digested. The patient is advised to take only small light meals till the exact disorder is diagnosed.
Poor Gastrointestinal Movements
There may be some motility problem. The food in our GIT moves throughout the tract by muscular action of the walls of the tract. These movements are called peristalsis.
Peristalsis is very essential. Without it, the food will not be able to move smoothly. Medicines to improve motility are available.
You need to get evaluated by a doctor to reach an exact diagnosis of your problem.
Ways to Get Relief
Meanwhile, the following tips may be helpful:
- Eat small frequent meals. If you are eating 3 times a day, split those meals to make it 6 smaller ones.
- Let the food be light. Include fruits, cooked vegetables and more of fibrous stuff in it.
- Drink lots of water.
- Avoid taking pain relievers.
- Avoid stimulants like tea, coffee or any other. They interfere with intestinal motility.
- If you note any other symptom, notify it to your doctor.
- Avoid taking stress of any kind. Stress in itself can be a cause of indigestion.
- Exercise daily to tone up your body muscles.
Feel free to discuss further.