What Are the Symptoms of Dyspepsia?

Reviewed on 1/8/2021

What is dyspepsia?

The symptoms of dyspepsia include digestive tract discomfort, feeling of fullness, bloating, nausea or vomiting, excessive belching, and heartburn.
The symptoms of dyspepsia include digestive tract discomfort, feeling of fullness, bloating, nausea or vomiting, excessive belching, and heartburn.

Dyspepsia, also known as functional dyspepsia, is long-term or recurring indigestion. Dyspepsia can be uncomfortable and often causes pain or distress within your digestive tract. Often, dyspepsia will not cause long-term damage to your body, but it can cause lots of worry, stress, and irritation.

Researchers do not fully understand what causes dyspepsia, but risk factors may include anxiety, depression, smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity. Dyspepsia can also be caused by your diet. Women and older people are more likely to experience dyspepsia than other populations.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or stomach ulcers may also lead to dyspepsia.

Dyspepsia is fairly common, with up to 30% of the general population experiencing the condition.

To manage dyspepsia, you need to understand its signs and symptoms and then learn how to treat it.

Symptoms of dyspepsia

There are a few warning signs that you may be experiencing dyspepsia. These include the following symptoms:

Digestive tract discomfort

Discomfort in your upper abdomen or digestive tract is a common symptom of dyspepsia. This discomfort can create a burning sensation or pain in these areas. Sometimes these feelings can be relieved by eating something or taking an antacid.

Feeling of fullness

It’s normal to feel full after eating a lot of food. People with dyspepsia often have this feeling without eating or after eating only a very small amount of food.

Bloating

Another symptom of dyspepsia is bloating, which can go hand-in-hand with the feeling of fullness (also called satiety) described above.

Nausea or vomiting

If you feel sick to your stomach and as though you might vomit (a condition commonly called nausea), this could be a sign of dyspepsia. The disorder sometimes leads people to vomit in addition to experiencing nausea. If these symptoms of dyspepsia are recurring, consider speaking to a doctor.

Excessive belching

Dyspepsia commonly causes lots of burping (also called belching). This is a typical sign of dyspepsia that you might experience after consuming a lot of food.

Heartburn

Another common symptom of dyspepsia is heartburn, a burning feeling in the chest caused by acid reflux.

These symptoms will vary from person to person. If you are regularly experiencing any of these warning signs, dyspepsia could be the cause of your discomfort.

Causes of dyspepsia

Sometimes it’s helpful to know the causes of dyspepsia so you can avoid or minimize your symptoms without taking medication. Below are a few common causes of dyspepsia.

Smoking

Heartburn can be caused by smoking or using tobacco. The nicotine in tobacco causes stomach acid to back up into your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat and your stomach. This acid backup causes symptoms of dyspepsia.

If you smoke and experience symptoms of dyspepsia, try quitting smoking to see if that helps eliminate your symptoms.

Alcohol

Alcohol use is another cause of dyspepsia. Consuming alcohol can lead to chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), which can cause long-term irritation in the stomach.

Obesity

Researchers believe there is a strong link between obesity (having excessive body fat) and dyspepsia. Obesity is also connected to other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) like irritable bowel syndrome.

Anxiety and depression

Studies have suggested that there are links between anxiety and depression and the gastrointestinal disorders GERD and non-erosive reflux disease (NERD).

More research is needed to confirm whether anxiety increases stomach acid, but researchers believe that anxiety can lead to symptoms associated with GERD or make you more sensitive to these symptoms.

QUESTION

Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas. See Answer

Diagnosing dyspepsia

In order to be diagnosed with chronic (functional) dyspepsia, you must experience symptoms often for at least a month. Your doctor will listen to your symptoms and then may perform tests to rule out other conditions. These tests could include any of the following:

Treatments for dyspepsia

Aside from avoiding the above triggers and causes, how can you treat dyspepsia?

First, focus on maintaining a healthy weight and try to eat smaller meals instead of very large meals, which can quickly cause indigestion.

Also, try avoiding foods and drinks that can trigger dyspepsia. Aside from alcohol, avoid fried foods, caffeine, chocolate, onions, and garlic, which are high in acidity. Make sure you drink lots of water and avoid carbonated beverages like soda.

Medications that treat dyspepsia include:

Your doctor may also recommend psychotherapy to ease symptoms and help you manage stress.

Because there are several different causes of dyspepsia, treatments will vary from person to person. While changing your lifestyle, habits, and diet may prevent indigestion symptoms, if you experience long-term signs and continued discomfort, it is best to discuss your treatment options with a doctor.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

References
American Family Physician: "Dyspepsia: What It Is and What to Do About It."

Gastroenterology and Hepatology: "The Relationship Between Obesity and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders."

Gastroenterology Research and Practice: "Functional Dyspepsia: Subtypes, Risk Factors, and Overlap with Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a Population of African Patients."

Healthline: "Functional Dyspepsia Causes and Treatment."

International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: "Dyspepsia."

Medical News Today: "What to know about indigestion or dyspepsia."

Michigan Medicine: "GERD: Controlling Heartburn by Changing Your Habits."

NHS: "Indigestion."

World Journal of Gastroenterology: "Anxiety and depression in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease and their effect on quality of life."

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors