Dyspepsia(or indigestion) refers to symptoms located in the upper part of the abdomen or chest which are felt to be coming from the upper gastro-intestinal tract ie the gullet, stomach gallbladder and pancreas. Typical types of symptoms which are included in the term dyspepsia include burning either behind the breast bone or in the pit of the stomach, bloating, belching,  cramping, aching, and regurgitation, early satiety(feeling full up very easily). 

The causes of dyspepsia have changed dramatically over the past 2 or 3 decades. 30 years ago the most common finding was ulcers whereas more recently the most common finding if anything is found at all is inflammation of the lower oesophagus or oesophagitis. In most cases where the stomach and gullet are examined with an endoscope nothing abnormal is found.

An increasingly common diagnosis is one of acid sensitivity of the upper digestive tract, where the lining of the stomach and gullet appear normal yet people respond to ant-acid treatment frequently at high doses.

In terms of serious disorders including cancer it is just as likely in people with dyspepsia have problems outside of the upper digestive tract. This means that in people with any worrying symptoms accompanying their dyspepsia is essential that the other abdominal organs are also examined with scans.

Dyspepsia is a term that your doctor might use if you have indigestion. Although it can sound like a very serious condition, it is actually just a word that we use to describe symptoms relating to digestive problems in your stomach. What exactly are we talking about when we use the term dyspepsia?

The symptoms of dyspepsia can vary, so you might only experience one or two of them without the other problems. Your symptoms could also change from day to day as they can be affected by factors such as what you’ve had to eat.

The most common symptoms of dyspepsia are:


  • Feeling sick after you have eaten (you could even vomit)
  • Burping more than usual
  • Bloating or feeling very full during or after having a meal
  • Discomfort or pain in your upper abdomen or chest


Many people who have dyspepsia will also be affected by acid reflux or heartburn. Reflux can be considered one of the symptoms of dyspepsia, although it often happens on its own too. Acid reflux occurs when some of the acid in your stomach escapes up into your throat. It causes a painful or burning sensation in your chest that is known as heartburn.

You will usually experience these symptoms soon after eating, especially if you have had a big meal. Dyspepsia happens while your stomach is busy digesting your food. You may also notice some of these symptoms after drinking. However, dyspepsia can happen for lots of different reasons, so you might not notice an obvious pattern in when your symptoms appear.

It's very common to experience these kinds of symptoms occasionally, but they are usually mild and infrequent. If they're very strong or you get them a lot, then it's worth going to see a doctor to find out why.

Although dyspepsia isn't usually a sign of anything serious, it can still have a big impact on you. Dyspepsia can be very uncomfortable and it can affect what you eat and do. You might avoid certain kinds of foods because they trigger your symptoms. You could also find it more difficult to enjoy activities such as going out to eat with friends or even have to take time off work if you’re feeling very unwell. The discomfort caused by dyspepsia can be very painful.

Having dyspepsia can also take an emotional toll. You might feel anxious about when the symptoms will appear or worry about why you are feeling this way. The stress can end up making your dyspepsia worse, which can make you worry even more.

It's important not to ignore these symptoms or to feel like you just have to put up with dyspepsia. You should see a doctor if you have very severe indigestion or if it happens frequently, especially if making changes to your diet and lifestyle haven’t helped. Treatments are available that can help with dyspepsia and your doctor will also be able to check for any underlying causes, including some more serious conditions.

Dyspepsia is usually linked to your diet, but it can be caused by issues such as infections or stomach ulcers. In rare cases, it can be a sign of stomach cancer, so it’s important to get checked by a doctor if you’re experiencing these kinds of symptoms often.

If you’re suffering from dyspepsia, get in touch to make an appointment with an experienced gastroenterologist in London.

Dyspepsia is a collection of symptoms rather than a specific condition, so you won’t be diagnosed with dyspepsia. However, if you are affected by these kinds of symptoms, your doctor might recommend some tests to diagnose the cause of your dyspepsia.

When to See a Doctor About Dyspepsia

You won’t usually need to see a doctor if you have symptoms of dyspepsia or indigestion. Most of us will occasionally experience some heartburn, bloating or stomach pain, usually because we’ve had too much to eat. However, the symptoms are usually mild enough to manage easily at home, and they won’t happen very often.

If you get indigestion a lot or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, then it is a good idea to see a doctor. The doctor can check for any underlying conditions that could be responsible for your symptoms. You might need treatment to address these issues or simply to make some lifestyle changes to prevent your dyspepsia from returning.

Indigestion isn’t usually a sign of anything serious, but the symptoms can sometimes be connected to a more serious condition such as stomach cancer. You should always seek medical advice if you’re concerned about severe or frequent dyspepsia, but it is particularly important to see a doctor quickly if you notice any of the following symptoms of stomach cancer too:


  • Blood in your vomit
  • Difficulty swallowing or pain when you swallow
  • Very dark or tarlike stools
  • Unexplained weight loss


Tests for Dyspepsia

When you see a doctor about dyspepsia, the consultation will usually begin with a discussion of your symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. Asking questions about these can enable your doctor to understand what’s wrong and narrow down the possible causes.

The doctor might also perform a physical exam, which could include listening to your abdomen with a stethoscope and checking for signs of swelling or bloating. Sometimes it’s possible to spot some clues to the cause of your dyspepsia during this examination.

However, your medical history and physical exam aren’t always enough to understand what’s wrong. The doctor might recommend some extra tests to learn more about your condition. You may need to come back to the clinic on another day to have these tests. You may need to have some or all of the following investigations to find out what is causing your dyspepsia symptoms:


  • Endoscopy: a test that uses a small, flexible camera to look at the inside of your throat and the top of your stomach. The doctor will be able to spot any abnormalities in your upper digestive system that could be responsible for your symptoms.
  • Tests for H.pylori: Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that can live in your stomach and cause problems such as stomach ulcers and dyspepsia. The doctor may perform a breath test or ask for a stool sample to check in the lab.
  • Blood tests: a sample of blood may be taken to check for issues such as anaemia, liver problems or metabolic disorders that could be connected to certain causes of dyspepsia.
  • Imaging tests: sometimes a CT scan or X-ray may be recommended to check for any obstructions in your digestive system or problems in the surrounding organs.


What Happens Next?

Once the results of your tests are in, the doctor may be able to diagnose a specific condition that is causing your dyspepsia. However, you should be aware that it isn’t always possible to work out what is causing your symptoms. You might have something called functional dyspepsia, which is what happens when there is no clear reason for your indigestion.

If your doctor was able to identify the cause of your dyspepsia, then you may need treatment to address this issue. The treatment approach will depend on the cause of your dyspepsia, but it might involve medication or even surgery to address certain kinds of issues. In most cases, you will also need to make some lifestyle changes to prevent indigestion.

If you’re experiencing frequent or severe dyspepsia, then you can make an appointment to see Mr Mike Mendall in London. He is an experienced gastroenterologist who can perform specialist tests such as endoscopy to diagnose the cause of dyspepsia.

Dyspepsia or indigestion is a collection of symptoms that relate to stomach discomfort. Since this term is a description of your symptoms rather than a diagnosis of a specific disease, there are many different causes of dyspepsia. What are some of the most common reasons for indigestion?

Diet and Lifestyle

The most common cause of dyspepsia is overindulging in food and drink. Most people will suffer from indigestion occasionally after over-eating, but the effects are usually relatively mild and only happen occasionally.

Common reasons for dyspepsia include:


  • Eating too much in one go or too often during the day
  • Eating lots of rich, fatty or spicy foods
  • Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Reclining or lying down within a few hours of eating
  • Taking certain kinds of medication (always check with your doctor before stopping or changing your medication)
  • Being overweight
  • Feeling stressed
  • Smoking


If your dyspepsia is related to your diet or lifestyle, then you should be able to change these in order to reduce your symptoms. Making these kinds of changes should also help even if there is a medical cause of your dyspepsia, but you may need additional treatment too.

Medical Conditions that Can Cause Dyspepsia

Dyspepsia isn’t always due to your lifestyle, although if your eating habits are bad they can still make your symptoms worse. You could have a medical condition that is making you feel ill.

Potential causes of dyspepsia include:


  • Gastro-oesophageal disease (GORD): If you have heartburn or acid reflux along with your indigestion, then you might have GORD. It happens when stomach acid escapes up into your throat.
  • Gastritis: inflammation of the stomach lining can cause indigestion.
  • Stomach ulcers: ulcers are open sores that can develop in different parts of your body, including inside your stomach. Stomach or peptic ulcers can happen for different reasons, including certain kinds of medication and infections.
  • Helicobacter pylori infection: H.pylori is a type of bacteria that can live in your stomach. It doesn’t usually cause problems right away, but if it causes stomach ulcers or gastritis to develop then you can experience symptoms of indigestion.
  • Hiatus hernia: a hernia happens when one of your internal organs slips out of place. Hiatus hernias occur when part of the stomach moves upwards into your chest through a flaw in the diaphragm.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: if you have IBS then you are more likely to experience indigestion. You’ll also have symptoms such as diarrhoea and constipation.


If you have frequent indigestion or your symptoms are severe, then you should ask a doctor to look for any underlying causes. It’s especially important to seek help if changing your lifestyle hasn’t had an impact on the symptoms. You might have one of the health conditions listed above. Finding out the cause of your dyspepsia should help you to get the symptoms under control. Various treatments are available to help with different kinds of dyspepsia, including medication and surgery.

What is Functional Dyspepsia?

Although it is often possible to identify a specific cause of dyspepsia, sometimes there isn’t a clear reason for your symptoms. You might then be diagnosed with functional dyspepsia. It can be disappointing to be told that there is no specific cause, especially after you’ve seen a gastroenterologist and had all the tests. However, it’s important to rule out potential causes and you should consider it good news that you don’t have any underlying health problems. Even though we don’t know what is causing your dyspepsia, we can still manage it with lifestyle changes and medication.

Less Common Causes of Dyspepsia

In most cases, dyspepsia isn’t a sign of anything serious. However, there is a small chance that persistent dyspepsia could be a symptom of stomach cancer. If you’re experiencing severe indigestion or it happens a lot, then it’s important to see a doctor, just in case it is something serious. In most cases, you’ll be able to control your symptoms with some simple lifestyle changes or medication, but it’s important to find out if you need any treatment.

If you want to find out what is causing dyspepsia, it’s easy to make an appointment with Mr Mike Mendall in London. As an experienced consultant gastroenterologist, he will be able to identify the cause of indigestion and provide personalised advice on managing your symptoms.

Dyspepsia or indigestion can be very uncomfortable. What’s the best way to prevent indigestion or to tackle the symptoms of dyspepsia when they appear?

Lifestyle Changes

Dyspepsia is often linked to the way that you eat. Eating too much or choosing the wrong kinds of foods can cause dyspepsia. If you have a condition such as gastro-oesophageal reflux, then bad eating habits can make your symptoms worse too.

If you see a doctor about dyspepsia then the first step in treatment will usually be to improve your diet and lifestyle. You should experience less indigestion if you follow these simple tips:


  • Avoid any foods that make your symptoms worse. Common culprits include fatty, acidic, spicy or rich foods as well as alcohol and caffeine.
  • Stick to smaller portions, having several small meals throughout the day instead of eating a lot in one go.
  • Don’t overeat and try to get regular exercise. It’ll help your digestion and get rid of any excess weight, which could be causing indigestion.
  • Try not to lie down or sleep for at least a couple of hours after eating.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Find a way to manage your stress as it can make dyspepsia symptoms worse. Going for a walk, talking to a friend, or using mindfulness or meditation techniques could help.


Making these changes to your diet and lifestyle can be important, no matter what is causing dyspepsia and whatever other treatments for indigestion your doctor has recommended.

Medication to Control Dyspepsia Symptoms

Medication is often recommended to treat dyspepsia. You may only need to take medication occasionally to relieve your symptoms, but it is sometimes necessary to keep taking it for weeks or months. Different types of medication are available that can help with the effects of dyspepsia in different ways. A doctor can recommend the right type of medication for you, which might include some of the following options.


  • Antacids can relieve indigestion by neutralising the acid in your stomach. Alginates are an alternative that can help by coating the stomach and throat lining to protect them. Don’t try to treat your indigestion without seeing a doctor if you’re taking over the counter indigestion medicines regularly as you may need stronger medication or treatment for an underlying condition.
  • Medication can also reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, which should help with indigestion and acid reflux if you have that too. Several different kinds of medication are available, such as H-2-receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors (PPI).
  • Antibiotics can help if your indigestion is linked to a Helicobacter pylori infection.
  • Some medications can cause acid reflux and indigestion, so check with your doctor if you are taking any drugs for other conditions (even if they are over the counter). It might be better to change to a different medication to prevent dyspepsia.


Surgery for Dyspepsia

Surgery isn’t usually required to treat dyspepsia, but if your symptoms are linked to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) then your doctor may recommend it. Surgery can prevent stomach acid from leaking up out of your stomach and affecting your throat. It can stop dyspepsia and acid reflux symptoms.

Surgery may be recommended if:


  • Your symptoms are linked to GORD
  • There is a structural problem which can be fixed surgically, such as a weakness in the muscle or valve that should keep the stomach closed or a hiatus hernia
  • Other treatments such as lifestyle changes and medication haven’t helped or they aren’t suitable for you
  • You are fit enough to undergo the procedure


Which Dyspepsia Treatment is Right for You?

Since dyspepsia is a collection of symptoms rather than a disease, the best treatment approach will depend on what is causing your indigestion. Lifestyle changes will usually play an important role, but you may also benefit from taking medication to reduce your stomach acid. If there is an underlying cause of dyspepsia then you may need additional treatment to address this issue too.

The best way to find the right treatment for dyspepsia is to see a gastroenterologist. The doctor will be able to check for potential causes of indigestion and provide personalised advice on your care. If you need advice on treating dyspepsia, then you can make an appointment with Mr Mike Mendall in London.


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