A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Indigestion: Indigestion is a vague feeling of discomfort in the upper belly or abdomen during or right after eating. Symptoms may include feeling of heat, burning or pain in the area between the navel and the lower part of the breastbone, or feeling full or bloated, belching or bringing up fluid or food into the gullet (oesophagus) that occurs soon after the meal begins or when it is over. Indigestion is different from heartburn.

Indigestion is usually not a sign of a serious health problem unless other symptoms also occur, such as weight loss or trouble swallowing. Indigestion is a common problem. Sometimes a heart attack is mistaken for indigestion. 

Indigestion may be triggered by drinking too much alcohol, eating spicy, fatty or greasy foods, overeating, eating too fast, emotional stress or nervousness, tobacco smoking, too much caffeine, pregnancy or taking certain medications.

Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, it is important to see your doctor if you have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:

  •     you are 55 years old or over
  •     you have lost a lot of weight without meaning to
  •     you have increasing difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  •     you have persistent vomiting
  •     you have iron deficiency anaemia
  •     you have a lump in your stomach
  •     you have blood in your vomit or blood in your stools

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

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