Indigestion, also referred to as acid indigestion or dyspepsia, is a very common complaint that relates to disturbed or "bad" digestion that is either episodic or persistent and is often worse right after eating. Indigestion is sometimes mistaken for heartburn.
|Causes||Dietary Factors, Alcohol, Stress, Dehydration, Smoking|
|See Also||Digestive Conditions, Obesity, Gastritis, Peptic Ulcer, Asthma|
|Books||Books on Digestive and Liver Conditions|
|Articles||Articles on Digestive Conditions|
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With Dyspepsia, the causes are variable and include lifestyle and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to Dyspepsia.
- The dietary factors that are associated with acid indigestion include:
- Drinking too much alcohol may result in acid indigestion.
- Emotional stress or nervousness, especially while eating, can result in acid indigestion.
- Helicobacter pylori infection increases risk of dyspepsia.
- Smoking is associated with acid indigestion.
- Prescription Medications
- Medications such as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), aspirin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with dyspepsia.
- Other medications that may cause acid indigestion include antibiotics, digitalis or theophyline
- Acid indigestion tends to be more common with increasing age.
- When do you feel this discomfort?
- Do certain foods make your symptoms worse?
- Does drinking alcohol or carbonated beverages make your symptoms worse?
- Do you eat quickly?
- Do you ever feel as if you have overeaten?
- Do you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages (tea, soda, coffee)?
- Have you made any recent changes to your diet?
- How much spicy, high-fiber or fatty foods do you consume?
- What medications do you take?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
The diagnosis of acid indigestion is based on a through intake and a person's recall of their symptoms. To determine the cause of the symptoms the following may be indicated:
- Blood tests. A variety of blood tests may be indicated based on the suspected causes including CBC, Liver function tests, albumin, ESR, Lipase, Amylase, Creatine Kinase (CK), hs-CRP, Food Allergy Test (IgE), Food Sensitivity Test (IgG)
- Imaging Studies may include an abdominal ultrasound, Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD ) and Upper GI and small bowel series.
Acid indigestion is commonly associated with the following conditions:
The causes of indigestion vary based on a person's age. It is rare for children to have indigestion, yet abdominal discomfort may occur in those that experience malabsorption or who have food allergies or sensitivities.
In adults indigestion is more likely associated with other underlying conditions.
- Indigestion is considered an inflammatory condition.
- Indigestion is a common complaint, especially as one gets older
- It is typically not serious
- On rare occasions, a heart attack has been confused with indigestion
Indigestion can result in a range of mild or severe symptoms in the upper abdomen including:
- Upper abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness which is usually worse right after eating
- Easily full after eating a little
- A feeling of heat, burning, or pain in the area between the navel and the lower part of the breastbone
- Symptoms typically occur during the day and rarely at night
- Gas and Bloating
- Heartburn or GERD
- Borborygmi (increased digestive sounds)
- Nausea and/or Vomiting
- Weight loss
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Dyspepsia is typically a chronic disease Dyspepsia.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- Eating Regime
- Make time to sit down and eat meals in a relaxed manner.
- Chew food slowly and completely.
- Avoid heated conversations or arguments while eating.
- When eating focus on the eating, not watching television or playing games.
- Avoid exercise immediately after eating.
- Foster a calm home environment.
- Engage in stress reduction exercises.
- Avoid any medications, such as aspirin and other NSAIDs that may be triggering the indigestion.
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Avoid food allergies and food sensitivities
- Limit your consumption of high-fiber foods
- Limit your consumption of spicy, fatty, or greasy foods
- Limit consumption of alcoholic or carbonated beverages.
- Reduce or eliminate your consumption of caffeine
- Ensure you drink adequate water, but avoid drinking water a half hour before meals and 1 hour after meals.
- Postural imbalances especially in the mid-back or thoracic area are best addressed in order to ensure adequate digestive function.
- Proper breathing improves digestive function.
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
Naturopathic Therapies for Dyspepsia include:
- Herbs and spices that can assist with dyspepsia include: sweet basil, nutmeg, chinese parsley (coriander), peppermint, ginseng,
- Fruits such as apple, lemon, mango, grapefruit, kumquat, pear, pineapple, strawberry, star fruit.
- Vegetables, Roots,Nuts & Gourds such as carrot, radish leaf, kohlrabi.
- Grains such as barley
- Other foods such as malt, hops. tea, tobacco
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
- Botanical remedies such as Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Centaury (Centaurium erythraea), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Gentiana (Gentiana lutea), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinale), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Vervain (Verbena officinalis), White Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), Yarrow (Achileea millefolium)., 
- Acupuncture is effective in improving digestive function.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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