Basically speaking, when you feel indigestion or stomach pain, it is because your digestion is impaired. You may feel symptoms briefly, or even chronically, i.e. long term. The types of symptoms you may be experiencing include:
- upper abdominal pain
- feeling overly full
- heartburn, or acid reflux
Seek medical help immediately if you are experiencing:
- frequent vomiting
- blood in your vomit
- dramatic weight loss or loss of appetite
- black stools (when not taking bismuth)
- difficulty or pain with swallowing
- severe pain in your upper or lower right abdomen
- indigestion that accompanies shortness of breath, sweating, or pain that radiates to your jaw, neck or arm (indicative of a heart attack)
Sometimes it's obviously something you've eaten that has caused your indigestion, but sometimes the cause is unclear. Once you've determined from your doctor that it's not cancer (stomach cancer is very rare), peptic ulcer disease, stomach infection, thyroid disease, or an abnormality with your pancreas or bile ducts, you may be diagnosed with what is commonly called 'functional dyspepsia'. This term refers to your indigestion being related to abnormal movement of your stomach muscle as it receives and digests food before moving it to your intestines. Luckily, this is not an incurable condition.
Some potential causes of indigestion include:
- medications such as painkillers, hormone supplements, antibiotics or steroids
- eating too much at mealtimes
- eating too quickly
- drinking too much alcohol
- cigarette smoking
- extreme fatigue
Your doctor will rule out anything serious by having you undergo tests such as x-rays of your digestive system, blood tests, or even an upper endoscopy, which uses a camera to see inside the upper portion of your digestive tract. Once a serious condition is ruled out, there is little that your doctor can do except providing you with a list of things to avoid, such as coffee, carbonated beverages, and alcohol. You may be prescribed over-the-counter antacids or medications that reduce acid production, although these sometimes carry with them side effects and often provide only temporary relief.
Natural medicine such as acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be very helpful with indigestion. Your TCM practitioner will have a variety of means of providing you with relief, which can be accomplished naturally and without side effects. Results can often last a long time, if not permanently.
Naturopathic medicine can help you look at your current eating habits, and set out for you a new, healthier way of treating your digestive system.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent and manage your symptoms of indigestion.
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