Causes of Indigestion
Lactose intolerance and malabsorption syndromes can cause indigestion. Upper abdominal pain that is worsened by eating could be due to gallbladder disease, whereas pain that lessens after eating may indicate gastritis or an ulcer. Other causes of abdominal pain include gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, infection, and emotional stress. Symptoms of indigestion may also be due to a parasitic disorder, such as giardiasis or amebiasis.
Diagnostic Studies And Procedures
The physical examination and medical history are of primary importance, particularly the patient’s description of stressful situations, habits, or foods that seem to bring on the symptoms. Although a doctor can usually diagnose simple indigestion with this information, additional tests may be ordered to rule out digestive disorders. Studies may include an upper GI series, which consists of X- rays of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines taken after the patient swallows barium, a chalky substance that coats these organs to make them visible on film. The interior of the stomach or the intestines may also be examined using endoscopy. This involves passing a long, slender, flexible tube with alighted tip through the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum, the upper most segment of the small intestine.
If there is no underlying disease, medical treatment is usually unnecessary. For severe cases, an antispasmodic medication may be prescribed. If severe stress is the cause, a doctor may give a brief course of a tranquilizer. Since these drugs are potentially addictive, however, they are not routinely used for this purpose.
Indigestion can usually be eliminated by a combination of alternative therapies and self- care.
Therapists advise putting two drops of oil of basil on the back of the wrist and inhaling it three times a day. The basil oil can also be combined with black pepper, chamomile, and lavender oils.
Bach Flower Remedies
If indigestion is related to stress or anxiety, try three to five drops of tincture of agrimony.
Western herbalists advocate meadowsweet to reduce stomach acid. Before a meal, drink a tea made with one teaspoonful of the herb, steeped for 10 minutes in a cup of boiling water and strained. Add honey if desired rake this mixture no more than twice a day. Peppermint or fennel extracts can be added to alleviate gas. Lavender and chamomile teas are also said to relieve stress related indigestion. Garlic may help stimulate the secretion of digestive juices. If the garlic itself produces indigestion, take it in pill form. Chinese herbalists recommend hoelen in tablet form or as a tea.
Amonium crudum is often prescribed for indigestion with nausea, or natrum phosphoricum for indigestion with belching.
To sooth the digestive system, naturopathists advocate drinking distilled water and eating light, bland foods. To prevent indigestion, some practitioners suggest the following: add 1 cup miller’s bran and 1 cup oatmeal to 1 gallon of water; allow it to stand for 24 hours, then strain. Drink a of the liquid 15 minutes before eat also, eating some form of papaya, fresh, as juice, or in pill form, is said to combatindigestion throug the action of an enzyme called papain.
Yoga And Meditation
Yoga breathing methods can help overcome stress that contributes to some cases of indigestion. Also, positions such as the knee tochest and the spine twist are said to tone the digestive system.
Indigestion usually can be prevented by paying attention to what and how you eat. Avoid large, high fat meals. Eat slowly and chew each bite thoroughly. To reduce the swallowing of air, avoid carbonated beverages and chew with your mouth closed. Strive to make mealtimes a relaxed, pleasant part of the day, avoiding arguments or discussion of upsetting news. Also, avoid excitement or strenuous exercise just after eating, especially after a heavy meal. If indigestion does develop, a nonprescription antacid liquid or tablet usually brings relief.