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Nausea and Vomiting (Chronic)

Conditions such as peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pancreatic, bile duct disease, and certain cancers may manifest in indigestion. Resolution and or improvement in these illnesses may improve symptoms of indigestion.

doctor consulting with female patient

Symptoms of Indigestion

  • Fullness during a meal
  • Prolonged, uncomfortable fullness after meals
  • Burning sensation in the epigastric area.
  • Epigastric pain
  • Nausea and bloating

Indigestion is frequently confused with heartburn although these are different conditions. Heartburn is a sensation of burning that usually radiates to the back and neck. It occurs when acid in the stomach rise into the esophagus. It may be a symptom of GERD. One could have symptoms of both heartburn and indigestion.

Treatment for Indigestion

Eating several small, low-fat meals throughout the day may help alleviate symptoms of indigestion. Abstaining from coffee, smoking, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and medications such as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs decrease symptoms of indigestion. Good sleep and activities that decrease emotional and physical stress, such as relaxation exercises are also helpful.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) include omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium), and rabeprazole (Aciphex.) PPIs also treat symptoms of indigestion by reducing stomach acid. They are stronger than H2 blockers and are most effective in treating indigestion in people who also have GERD.

Prokinetics

Prokinetics such as metoclopramide (Reglan) may be helpful in patients with slow gut motility. They do improve muscle activity in the digestive tract. Frequent side effects, however, limit their usefulness.

Antacids

Antacids, such as Maalox, Mylanta, and Rolaids are usually used to relieve indigestion.

H2 Receptor Anagonists

H2 receptor antagonists treat indigestion by reducing stomach acid. They include ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), and famotidine (Pepcid). Their effect lasts longer than antacids but not as quickly.

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