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Indigestion can be caused by a condition in the digestive tract such as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.11

Sometimes a person has indigestion for which a cause cannot be found. This type of indigestion, called functional dyspepsia, is thought to occur in the area where the stomach meets the small intestine. 11

The indigestion may be related to abnormal motility—the squeezing or relaxing action— of the stomach muscle as it receives, digests, and moves food into the small intestine. 11

Some people may experience relief from symptoms of indigestion by: 11

  • Eating several small, low-fat meals throughout the day at a slow pace
  • Abstaining from consuming coffee, carbonated beverages, and alcohol
  • Stopping use of medications that may irritate the stomach lining-such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Finding ways to decrease emotional and physical stress, such as relaxation therapy or yoga
  • Getting enough rest
  • Refraining from smoking

If you suffer from indigestion, you doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medication such as: 11

  • Prokinetic agents: Are helpful for people who have a problem with the stomach emptying too slowly. Also improves muscle action in the digestive tract.
  • Antacids: They are usually different combinations of three basic salts—magnesium, calcium, and aluminum—with hydroxide or bicarbonate ions to neutralize the acid in the stomach.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): Are stronger than H2RAs, also treat indigestion symptoms by reducing stomach acid. PPIs are most effective in treating symptoms of indigestion in people who also have GERD.
  • H2 receptors antagonists: They treat symptoms of indigestion by reducing stomach acid. They work longer than but not as quickly as antacids.

Ask your doctor for more information.

PRODUCT OVERVIEWS

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  1. Information from Your Family Doctor. Constipation. American Family Physician 2010; 82 (12): 1440-1441.
  2. Irritable Bowel Information & Support Association of Australia: Welcome. Available at: www.ibis-australia.org/index.htm.
  3. A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NIH). Medline plus. Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  4. Gastroenterological society of Australia: Irritable Bowel Syndrome 2nd Edition 2003. Available at: http://membes.gesa.org.au/membes/files/Clinical Guidelines and Updates/IBS_2nd_Edition.pdf  
  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH): Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Available at:digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ibs/. 
  6. American Gastroenterological Association: IBS: A Patient's Guide to Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Available at: www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome.
  7. The British Dietetic Association: Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Diet. Available at: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/ibsfoodfacts.pdf. (2013)
  8. American Gastroenterological association: IBS: A Patient's Guide to Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Available at: www.gastro.org/patient-center/IBS_Brochure_Online.pdf. 
  9. International foundation of functional gastrointestinal disorders: Working with Your Physician. Available at: www.aboutibs.org/site/treatment/working-with-your-physician/ 
  10. The National Pancreas Foundation:  EXOCRINE PANCREATIC INSUFFICIENCY (EPI) available at https://www.pancreasfoundation.org/patient-information/ailments-pancreas/exocrine-pancreatic-insufficiency/ 
  11. Indigestion. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/indigestion/Documents/Indigestion_508.pdf 
  12. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diarrhea. January 2011. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/diarrhea/Documents/Diarrhea_508.pdf.
  13. An et al. Integrative Review of Co-Occurring Symptoms Across Etiologies of Chronic Liver Disease and Implications for Symptom Management Research and Practice. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2015; 47:4, 310–317.
  14. Valery P C et al. Systematic review: unmet supportive care needs in people diagnosed with the chronic liver disease. BMJ Open 2015;5: e007451. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007451

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