How to best handle the problem of indigestion?
Q: I am around 44 years old, male. I have indigestion problem from the last more than ten years Over this period, as advised by different doctors, I stopped eating non vegetarian food, oil and even milk products. Now, I am not able to eat anything except juice and my weight has come down to 38 kgs from about 52 kgs two years back. All tests are normal (lungs, kidney etc). Doctors are not able diagnose anything and they keep referring from one place to other place. Can you suggest, what may be the reasons and what kind of doctor, I should consult.
A:Indigestion is a vague feeling of abdominal discomfort -- possibly including a feeling of fullness, belching, bloating (abdomen feels full and tight -- usually caused by excessive intestinal gas) and nausea (sensation of having an urge to vomit). Indigestion is rarely a serious health problem, unless it is accompanied by other symptoms. It is a common problem and may be triggered by eating particular foods or after drinking alcohol or carbonated drinks. Eating too fast or overeating may also cause it. Some people may find that spicy foods, high fiber foods, fatty foods, or too much caffeine can all aggravate this problem. Anxiety and depression may worsen symptoms. Some common causes include: Overeating, eating too fast, significant caffeine intake, eating fatty or greasy foods, overindulgence in alcohol, smoking, eating spicy foods, emotional trauma or nervousness, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), acute or chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), acute or chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), duodenal or gastric ulcer and drugs such as antibiotics, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some simple tips to avoid it are allowing time for leisurely meals. Chew food carefully and thoroughly. Avoid conflicts during meals. Avoid excitement or exercise immediately after a meal. Avoid chewing gum -- it may cause air swallowing. A calm environment and rest may help relieve stress-related dyspepsia. Avoid aspirin and NSAIDs (use acetaminophen instead). If you must take them, do so on a full stomach. Antacids may relieve indigestion. Stronger medications are available over-the-counter, such as ranitidine similar more potent medications such as omeprazole. You need to consult a gastroenterologist who will examine you physically and suggest some blood tests (depending on the suspected cause), endoscopy, upper GI and small bowel barium studies or abdominal ultrasound. Giving up food items is not a treatment and will harm you in the long run unless it is caused by one specific item.