DYSPEPSIA SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Dyspepsia sounds more complicated than it actually is. Have you seen those TV ads that show a man suffering from a severe stomach ache? And then suddenly he is miraculously cured by some new medication. That severe stomach ache being portrayed in the commercial is usually dyspepsia. And actually, another name for dyspepsia is indigestion. It is generally characterized by medical practitioners as a chronic pain in the upper abdomen. When first presented, dyspepsia is often dismissed as merely a spasm or an ache. However, when the nature of the pain is recurring and its position is in the upper abdomen you can validly characterize it as dyspepsia. A simple ache in your side or upper abdomen may be just a cramp, but if the pain worsens and keeps coming back then you should see your doctor.
The typical cause of dyspepsia is stomach or acid reflux disease or even a stomach ulcer. With acid reflux disease the acid in your stomach gets backed up in your esophagus, which leads from your mouth to your stomach, and you feel pain in your chest and upper abdomen. And essentially any disturbance of the muscles in the digestive tract and the chemicals and nerves that control the muscles can lead to dyspepsia. Recently scientists have found out that some drugs cause dyspepsia. Drugs that are anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, antibiotics and even estrogen can cause dyspepsia. It’s actually a pretty common disease, 25% of both men and women get dyspepsia ay one time or another, although it affects women more than men. Sometimes dyspepsia is a by product of another disease. Stomach ulcers, gastritis, stomach cancer, gallbladder and pancreatic diseases may all cause dyspepsia in their victims.
You can tell if you really have dyspepsia when you feel full even if you’ve had little to eat. Bloating, burping, a burning pain in your stomach, vomiting and nausea are all signs of dyspepsia. Most people think heartburn is also a symptom but heartburn usually has a different cause and a different treatment. If the dyspepsia is not caused by some disease it usually clears up in 3-4 days. Although it isn’t a serious disease it can be a symptom of a larger problem so if you have dyspepsia and are over 50, have trouble swallowing, recently lost a lot of weight, have severe vomiting, have a mass in your stomach or have black bowel movements you should go see your doctor immediately.
The typical causes of dyspepsia are lifestyle factors. Smoking and a bad diet both contribute to dyspepsia. They are the typical and most common reasons for dyspepsia and as such, they can be corrected right away. This type of dyspepsia is called undifferentiated dyspepsia since it has no serious causes. But there are also other, more serious causes for dyspepsia. It can be a side effect of some very serious diseases like stomach cancer and peptic ulcers. This kind of dyspepsia is called functional dyspepsia. The treatments for the different kinds of dyspepsia are completely different because of the varying causes.
Functional dyspepsia is called functional because the disease that is the root of the dyspepsia is affecting the gastronomic system of the body. It might be the nerves that send chemical signals to the intestines or it might be the organs themselves; whatever it is, the dyspepsia is caused by some malfunction of the functions of the body. Unless there are permanent effects from the disease that caused dyspepsia, usually after the disease is cured the dyspepsia will disappear eventually.
The dyspepsia that is not associated with an illness can be cured by simply eating the right foods and having a healthy diet. Avoid greasy and fried food, in some serious cases patients are put on a liquid diet until the dyspepsia passes. Usually dyspepsia comes and goes periodically, sometimes it may be more severe than it was previously and sometimes it can be very mild.
Dyspepsia is very hard to treat, since there are so many different causes there isn’t just one drug a doctor can give a patient that will instantly cure it. And research on dyspepsia is difficult because it is defined by a completely subjective symptom: pain. That makes it hard to diagnose as well. One thing we know for certain, eating healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle certainly doesn’t hurt.
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