Indigestion… A Simple Guide

Have you ever felt that uncomfortable, twisty sensation in your stomach after a big meal? Ah, yes, we're talking about indigestion. But don't fret! We've got some health advice to help you say goodbye to those belly blues and say hello to happier, healthier tummies!

What is indigestion?

Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a common digestive disorder. It's that uncomfortable feeling you get in your upper abdomen, often accompanied by bloating, belching, and a general sense of fullness. Indigestion can be incredibly uncomfortable, making it difficult to move, and even stand up straight. 

What causes indigestion?

Indigestion can have various causes, such as overeating, eating too quickly, consuming fatty or spicy foods, stress, smoking, or certain medications. It can also be a symptom of an underlying condition like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or an ulcer.

How can I prevent indigestion?

To prevent indigestion, try eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones. Slow down when you eat – make sure you chew your food properly and avoid overeating. It's also helpful to identify trigger foods and beverages and make sure to steer clear of them.

Can indigestion be a sign of something more serious?

In some cases, indigestion can be a symptom of a more serious condition. If you experience severe or persistent symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, unintended weight loss, or persistent stomach pain, consult a healthcare professional such as your pharmacist, who can point you in the right direction.

What are some natural remedies for indigestion?

There are plenty of tried-and-true natural remedies you can try to ease indigestion. Sipping on ginger or peppermint tea, chewing on fennel seeds, or taking a short walk after a meal can often provide relief. 

When should I see a doctor for indigestion?

Before visiting your doctor, it is wise to check in at your local pharmacy first, who can offer advice (and treatment in Wales and Scotland). Your pharmacist may point you in the direction of your GP if you experience frequent or severe symptoms. They can help determine the underlying cause and provide you with appropriate treatment options.

Can stress cause indigestion?

Yes, stress can impact your digestive system and contribute to indigestion. When you're stressed, your body produces more stomach acid, which can lead to that familiar, uncomfortable feeling. So, take a deep breath, relax, and maybe treat yourself to some self-care.

Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to reduce indigestion?

Absolutely! Making certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the frequency and severity of indigestion. Avoiding trigger foods, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and quitting smoking can all make a difference.

Can certain medications worsen indigestion?

Yes, some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and certain antibiotics, can irritate the lining of your stomach and worsen indigestion. If you suspect your medication is causing the issue, speak with your pharmacist about alternative options or products that can help reduce symptoms.

How long does indigestion typically last?

The duration of indigestion can vary from person to person and depends on the underlying cause. In general, it tends to resolve on its own within a few hours. However, if your symptoms persist for a prolonged period of time, it's best to consult your pharmacist for further evaluation.