When Should I Call A Doctor For Indigestion
Indigestion symptoms are signs of other medical conditions or problems.
If indigestion symptoms are mild or resolve in a short time, talk to your doctor about how to treat it.
If you have any of the following symptoms of severe indigestion, if your symptoms last more than a few days, or if they worsen noticeably, seek medical care immediately:
- Vomiting or blood in vomit
- Loss of appetite
- Black, tarry stools or visible blood in stools
- Severe pain in the upper right abdomen
- Sudden, severe pain in the abdomen, particularly on the right side
- Yellow coloring of the skin and eyes
- Discomfort unrelated to eating
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting due to symptoms
Heart attacks may cause symptoms often are mistaken for indigestion. If indigestion is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, or pain radiating to the jaw, back, neck or arm, seek medical attention immediately.
Opt For Cooked Onions Instead Of Raw
Raw onions are a common trigger for acid reflux and heartburn.
One older study in people with acid reflux showed that eating a meal containing raw onion significantly increased heartburn, acid reflux, and burping, compared with consuming an identical meal that didnt contain onions .
More frequent burping might suggest that more gas is being produced. This could be due to the high amounts of fermentable fiber in onions .
Raw onions are also more difficult to digest and might irritate the lining of the esophagus, causing worsened heartburn .
Whatever the reason, if you think eating raw onion makes your symptoms worse, you should avoid it and opt for cooked onions instead.
Some people experience worsened heartburn and other reflux symptoms after eating raw onions.
What Causes Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.
Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.
Factors that can lead to this include:
- Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
- Particular types of food and eating habits.
- Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
- A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.
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What Are The Side Effects Of High Stomach Acid
Having high levels of stomach acid can increase your risk of developing other stomach-related health conditions. These include:
- Peptic ulcers:Peptic ulcers are sores that can develop when gastric acid begins to eat away at the lining of your stomach.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease :GERD is a condition in which stomach acid backs up into your esophagus.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding: This involves bleeding anywhere in your digestive tract.
What Causes Excessive Stomach Acid And How To Get Rid Of It
Written byBel Marra HealthPublished onDecember 5, 2017
Excessive stomach acid can be uncomfortable to live with, and while in many cases it is a minor nuisance, it can lead to serious health problems when not treated.
Stomach acid is important to the digestive system. It helps us process food and it kills harmful bacteria. The stomach makes the hormone called gastrin, which creates hydrochloric acid. When these acid levels increase, it can lead to hyperacidity. Excess stomach acid can range from mild to severe.
Our diet, environment, and even stress can be contributing factors to excessive stomach acid. There are, in fact, relatively simple ways to reduce excess stomach acid or prevent it altogether.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Indigestion
There are many things you can do to try to prevent indigestion.
Making changes in your diet and eating habits can help. These include:
- Eating several small, low-fat meals each day instead of 3 large meals
- Eating slowly and giving yourself enough time for meals
- Limiting spicy, fatty, greasy, or high-fiber foods
- Chewing your food well
- Limiting or not having any coffee, soda, or alcohol
Avoid medicines that hurt your stomach. These include aspirin and over-the-counter pain and fever medicines . If you do take them, do so after you eat.
Other lifestyle changes that may keep indigestion from happening include:
- Quitting smoking
- Finding ways to lower your emotional and physical stress, such as meditation or yoga
- Exercising before a meal or waiting at least 1 hour after eating
What Are The Causes Of Severe Abdominal Pain
- Appendicitis the swelling of the appendix , which causes unbearable pain in the lower right-hand side of your abdomen, and removal of the appendix is needed.
- Acute cholecystitis Gallstones causes inflammation of the gallbladder which results in removing of a gallbladder.
- Kidney stones small stones may come out in your urine, but larger stones may block the kidney tubes, and that needs to be broken down.
- Diverticulitis small pouches in the bowel leads to inflammation that sometimes requires treatment with antibiotics in a hospital.
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The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test
Ingesting baking soda has been a natural remedy used for many years to help settle an upset stomach. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate which has hydroxide ions that reduce acidity. Since reducing acidity can create more comfort in someone with acid reflux, baking soda developed this reputation.
There is a simple test you can do at your home in order to see if you have enough stomach acid. This involves drinking baking soda in order to create a unique chemical reaction within your stomach. This reaction happens when the ions of the baking soda and the hydrogen ions within the hydrochloric acid . This should naturally result in carbon dioxide gas production and a resulting burping effect.
This test is virtually free so there is nothing to lose. I recommend doing this test because it is safe and has no cost and it can be done very easily.
However, the test isnt without its flaws. There are many variables that go uncontrolled for in this experiment. To minimize extraneous variables, I recommend performing the test on 3 consecutive mornings in order to find an overall average.
With this method, you are looking for a pattern of results instead of a one-time yes or no. Also, to improve the accuracy it is important to do the test first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else.
Early and repeated belching may be due to excessive stomach acid . Any belching after 3 minutes is an indication of low stomach acid production.
What Are The Risk Factors For Acid Reflux
The following characteristics are associated with an increased likelihood of developing acid reflux. By themselves, none are guarantees that you will develop the condition.
However, if more than a few of them apply to you, you should consider yourself more susceptible than the average person. If you notice youre already experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, consider how the following lifestyle habits might be contributing to them.
- Eating a diet high in fatty or acidic foods, or consuming beverages including coffee, tea, alcohol, and soda
- Lying down immediately after eating, or snacking close to bedtime
To learn more about risk factors associated with acid reflux, go here.
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Your Burning Chest: How To Stop Acid Reflux And Gerd
If youve ever felt a fiery sensation behind your breastbone or tasted something like battery acid in the back of your throat, then you might have had acid reflux, also commonly known as heartburn.
Youre certainly not alone. In the United States, about 1 in 5 people have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which is characterized by acid reflux and heartburn.
But what is acid reflux exactly? And what can you do about it?
Gut Feeling: How To Know If Stomach Pain Is Serious
Abdominal pain is the single leading reason for emergency room visits in the U.S. according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accounting for more than 12 million of the nearly 139 million annual ER visits. Most people call it stomach pain, but its not always a stomach problem. Your abdomen holds many other organs, too, including your intestines , pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, spleen and appendix.
So its not surprising that, just as with chest pain or a headache, it can be difficult to tell whats really going on in there when your tummys not feeling well. Add in other vague symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and you could have the stomach flu, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney stones or any number of other conditions.
Here are some ways to tell what the source of your pain is and when you should seek medical care.
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The Problem With Low Stomach Acid:
When the body is unable to produce enough stomach acid, it is unable to digest protein molecules and key minerals . These partially digested protein molecules get into the small intestine and create significant stress on the pancreas to produce adequate enzymes to metabolize the protein effectively.
If this occurs repeatedly over time, it will wear down the pancreatic enzyme storage and cause stress and irritation to the intestinal lining. Additionally, if the protein molecules are not efficiently metabolized we are unable to absorb enough amino acids which are necessary for numerous vital functions of the body. This can lead to amino acid deficiencies, poor healing and a breakdown of various important bodily functions.
The large protein molecules and incomplete digestion irritates the gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. This process can trigger the development of auto-immune activity in the body. Poor digestion also creates an environment suited for the development of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth , Candida overgrowth and parasitic infections .
When we digest our food poorly it leads to increased inflammatory activity which depletes key minerals and antioxidants throughout the body . This mineral depletion leads to an inability to form stomach acid and the vicious cycle of poor digestion and chronic inflammation continues .
What Is Stomach Churning
Stomach churning and gurgling can be an uncomfortable feeling in the abdomen. Although a queasy stomach is usually only temporary if you have an upset stomach for a week or longer it could be a sign of an underlying condition.
If you have ever experienced stomach growling, especially stomach gurgling after eating, then you may well know the other symptoms that run alongside it. Other symptoms of a sour stomach can include nausea and digestive issues.
Moreover, continue reading to find out what causes upset stomach and gas. We also explain when you should see a doctor, and further signs to look out for.
Stomach Noises such as stomach churning and gurgling and Pain: Causes and Symptoms for Those Belly Noises and Cramps
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Your Abdomen Is Suddenly Expanding/swelling Is Bruised In Appearance Or Feels Hard
Sometimes changes in the look and feel of your stomach are enough to tell you when to go to the ER for stomach pain. These symptoms go beyond the more common discomfort of swelling and bloating due to gas, and include:
- Swelling / expanding: Sudden expansion or swelling of your belly couple with severe stomach pain may indicate acute pancreatitis, a blocked intestine, bowel perforation, or other serious complications.
- Bruising: If you are experiencing severe stomach pain and notice sudden bruising of the belly , seek immediate medical treatment. There are two main types of bruising that occur during pancreatitis and a hemorrhagic ectopic pregnancy: Grey Turners sign and Cullens sign .
- Hard stomach: In patients over 40, a hard stomach in addition to stomach pain and other symptoms can indicate diverticulitis , among other conditions.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in addition to severe stomach pain, they may be a sign of a life-threatening condition. In these cases, its much better to be safe than sorry and take a trip to the ER.
What Is The Treatment For Acid Reflux
There are treatments available specifically for treating acid reflux, what youll need will depend on the severity and whats causing the problem. If you have chronic heartburn, its essential to ask your doctor because acid reflux can cause severe damage to your oesophagus if left untreated.
If the problem is chronic or severe, a doctor can prescribe medications which inhibit the production of gastric juices for acid reflux relief and prevent the damage it causes. The medications often prescribed are proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers.
FACT Acid reflux medications, even over the counter ones, change stomach acidity, and this can have consequences on your digestive health.
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Opt For Green Juices Or Smoothies Before A Meal
If you dont fancy a glass of vinegar before a meal, why not a green juice or smoothie? This is another way to get an alkaline liquid into your body to balance out the stomach acid. You can use any type of green vegetable that you want, but the dark leafy greens tend to be the best. We also tried this amazing green Superfood that we recommend.
At the same time, you get all the antioxidants and other nutrients from the leafy greens. Drinking the greens rather than eating them is one of the best ways to get the nutrients and not stomach acid . They absorb quicker since theres no need to digest them as much. Even the juices are good for you since dark leafy greens dont have that many natural sugars!
Green juices will also help to curb inflammation in the body. Those nutrients have anti-inflammatory powers. Youll find that your digestive system isnt as swollen, making it easier to digest everything that you eat. Your stomach doesnt need to hold food back while your intestines can cope, so the stomach acid doesnt stick around for as long.
You want to avoid green juices right after a meal. Your body is already starting to digest food, and you will disrupt the process. Drinking it just before is best. This way you also get the same benefit for your weight loss as you would be drinking apple cider vinegar and water.
How Is Indigestion Diagnosed
A healthcare provider will review your medical history, symptoms and lifestyle. Try to explain your indigestion in as much detail as possible. Note the type of discomfort and where you feel it. Also tell your healthcare provider when you experience indigestion. For example, does it occur after a meal or on an empty stomach? Is it worse in the morning or at night? Do certain foods make it worse?
Your healthcare provider will do a physical exam. Theyll check your belly for swelling or tenderness. They may use a stethoscope to check your stomach for growling or gurgling.
Other diagnostic tests may include:
- Blood tests, to assess your liver, kidney and thyroid function.
- Breath test, to check for H pylori.
- Imaging exams, to check for blockages or other problems in the intestines. Imaging exams may include X-ray,CT scan or upper endoscopy.
- Stool test, to check poop for H. pylori or other bacterial infections.
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Which Types Of Doctors Treat Indigestion
You might first see your primary care doctor who will diagnose your indigestion. You may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
If you have a problem that requires surgery such as a severe ulcer or gallstones you may be referred to a general surgeon.
What Causes Indigestion
- Indigestion is usually caused by:
- Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.
- Eating too much or too fast.
- Eating fatty, spicy or acidic foods.
- Experiencing stress or anxiety.
- Taking certain medications, including aspirin especially if taken on an empty stomach.
Sometimes indigestion means theres a problem in your digestive tract. Your digestive system contains organs that help your body break down food and absorb nutrients.
Indigestion could be a sign of:
- Replacing aspirin with acetaminophen.
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What Is Indigestion
Indigestion, or dyspepsia, describes an upset stomach. It may cause a painful or burning feeling in your abdomen . Also called a sour stomach, indigestion may happen once in a while or often.
Indigestion is sometimes confused with heartburn. Heartburn, is a separate condition that affects your upper chest.
How Is Gerd Treated
Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.
These lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:
- quitting smoking
- losing weight if you are overweight
- eating small meals
- avoiding carbonated beverages
- avoiding foods that trigger reflux
It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.
If symptoms continue, doctors might prescribe medicine, such as:
- H2 blockers, which can help block the production of stomach acid
- proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes
- prokinetics, which help the esophageal sphincter work better and the stomach empty faster. This can prevent reflux episodes.
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