Dyspepsia: here’s how to deal with it

It is a very common disorder, also known as poor digestion: it is caused by stress, improper nutrition or an unbalanced lifestyle.

Stress, anger and nerves on edge. But also a wrong diet and a sedentary lifestyle. These are the causes of an increasingly widespread disorder in our society: dyspepsia. Also noted, most commonly, as poor digestion.

That annoying burning during meals

Disorders related to dyspepsia occur mostly during and after meals. These are:

  • pain or burning in the stomach
  • feeling of heaviness and swelling
  • cramps with belching of air
  • nausea or vomiting.

In some cases, you may also experience:

  • bad breath
  • intestinal disorders, such as constipation or diarrhea
  • sleepiness
  • decreased attention and concentration
  • irritability.

Why does it manifest itself?

Dyspepsia is often a sign of poor digestion, and even when poor digestion is not the trigger, processed foods or foods that require demanding digestion aggravate the symptoms of dyspepsia.

It is a phenomenon that can be related to other diseases (organic causes), such as Helicobacter pylori infection, or, when no organic cause is identifiable, it is called functional dyspepsia.

In most cases, dyspepsia is functional and occurs sporadically. But, when associated with a bad lifestyle, it can turn into a chronic disorder.

Among the underlying causes of functional dyspepsia is excessive sensitivity of the stomach walls to gastric juices and reduced mobility of the stomach, which delays its emptying in the intestine and decreases the ability to accommodate food coming from the esophagus.

These abnormalities of gastric function can be favored by:

  • large and irregular meals (for example, skipping the meal at noon and catching up in the evening with a binge)
  • high consumption of foods high in fat or fried
  • the habit of eating quickly, chewing little and also swallowing a fair amount of air
  • consume excessive amounts of coffee
  • lead a sedentary life
  • cigarette smoke.

Avoid large meals

In case digestive disorders are not related to other diseases, the main solution is to change your lifestyle. First, by increasing physical activity, which promotes the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, and following a healthier diet.

Even overeating, all at once, is an enemy habit of digestive well-being. Especially in the evening. It is better to divide meals throughout the day, consuming food regularly, without ever skipping lunch or dinner and without delaying them excessively.

A good habit is also to enjoy a small snack, mid-morning and / or afternoon: the aim is to buffer stomach acid, which could increase with prolonged fasting, and avoid getting too hungry at the meal.

Eat slowly

A slow chewing allows the food to be digested more easily and therefore to spend less time inside the stomach, reducing its effort.

In addition, it is good to reserve the necessary time for meals, avoiding emotionally unpleasant situations that can be a source of anxiety and nervousness, and, once you have finished eating, find time even for a short walk, which can favor the digestive process and relieve stress.

Foods yes and foods no

In case of dyspepsia, or to try to prevent it, it is better to avoid or at least reduce the frequency of consumption of:

  • coffee and drinks that contain caffeine
  • carbonated drinks
  • excessively spicy or spicy foods
  • excessive consumption of meat foods, which stimulates the production of gastric juices and therefore favors the appearance of acidity
  • sausages and spicy or fermented cheeses
  • fried dishes or dishes with a high fat content, because they alter the emptying time of the stomach, making digestion longer and more difficult
  • alcoholic beverages.

To improve dyspepsia, yes to:

  • well-baked bread, crakcers and rusks
  • Simple recipes, seasoned with olive oil
  • seasonal fruits and vegetables

In the pharmacy

The symptoms of dyspepsia can also be alleviated with certain medications. Proton pump inhibitors and antacids reduce gastric acidity and are useful to counteract symptoms when these are mainly due to excessive sensitivity of the stomach to acid. Pump inhibitors have a long duration of action (just one intake a day), but to be really effective they should be taken for several days and especially at least half an hour before a meal, otherwise the benefits may be scarce.

Antacids, on the other hand, act very quickly, they can be taken after a meal or at the appearance of the first symptoms, but their effect wears off in a few hours. If, on the other hand, the symptoms are mainly due to a difficulty of the stomach to empty, those suffering from dyspepsia will benefit more from prokinetic drugs, which accelerate gastric emptying. It is advisable to consider taking prokinetic drugs even if proton pump inhibitors or antacids do not give the desired results. On the market there are also formulations that combine prokinetics and antacids, thus acting on both main causes of functional dyspepsia.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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