What is Indigestion?
Indigestion is the common term used to label upper digestive issues and/or heartburn that are not related to an ulcer. Medical terms used to describe similar symptoms of indigestion include non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Symptoms of indigestion can include symptoms of GERD (heartburn and/or upper abdominal pain) as well as difficulty swallowing, feelings of pressure or heaviness after eating, sensations of bloating after eating, stomach or abdominal pains and cramps, as well as all of the symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
What causes Indigestion?
Symptoms of indigestion are most often caused by the flow of gastric juices up the esophagus leading to a burning discomfort that radiates upwards and is made worse by lying down. This reflux of gastric juices can be the result of factors that increase intra-abdominal pressure (e.g., overeating, obesity) thereby causing the gastric contents to flow upwards, or factors decrease the tone of the esophageal sphincter (e.g., hiatal hernias, coffee).
What dietary factors are important in Indigestion?
Common dietary causes of indigestion include overeating, obesity, coffee, chocolate, fried foods, carbonated beverages (soft drinks), and alcohol.