Non Ulcer Dyspepsia
A type of indigestion or dyspepsia not caused by peptic ulcers. The symptoms are often similar to dyspepsia caused by ulcers such as bloating and upper abdominal pain or discomfort. Often there is no obvious cause for the discomfort but sometimes it may be result from eating too fast, overeating or eating while stressed.
The signs and symptoms of nonulcer stomach pain may include:
- A burning sensation or discomfort in your upper abdomen or lower chest, sometimes relieved by food or antacids
- Gas (flatulence)
- An early feeling of fullness with meals
What causes functional dyspepsia?
The symptoms seem to come from the upper gut, but the cause is not known. If you have tests, nothing abnormal is found inside your gut. The lining inside your gut looks normal and is not inflamed. The amount of acid in the stomach is normal.
The following are some theories as to possible causes.
- Sensation in the stomach or duodenum may be altered in some way - an 'irritable stomach'. About 1 in 3 people with functional dyspepsia also have 'irritable bowel syndrome' and have additional symptoms of lower abdominal pains, erratic bowel movements, etc. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known.
- A delay in emptying the stomach contents into the duodenum may be a factor in some cases. The muscles in the stomach wall may not work as well as they should.
- Infection with a bacterium (germ) called H. pylori may cause some cases. This bacterium is found in the stomach in some people with functional dyspepsia. However, many people are 'carriers' of this bacterium, and it causes no symptoms in most people. The role of H. pylori is controversial in functional dyspepsia (although it is the main cause of duodenal and stomach ulcers). However, getting rid of H. pylori infection helps in some cases.
- Some people feel that certain foods and drinks may cause the symptoms or make them worse. It is difficult to prove this. Food is not thought to be a major factor in most cases.
- Anxiety, depression, or stress are thought to make symptoms worse in some cases.
- A side-effect of some medicines can cause dyspepsia. The most common culprits are anti-inflammatory medicines.
Treatment For Nonulcer Dyspepsia
Your doctor will probably arrange for tests to exclude other digestive disorders. A blood test may be carried out to check for infection of the stomach lining from the bacterium H. pylori (herlicobacter pylori infection). Also, upper digestive tract endoscopy or contrast X-Rays may be carried out to look for abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract. If no underlying disorder is found to cause your indigestion, you will be diagnosed with Nonulcer Dyspepsia.
How To Prevent Indigestion - Self-Help Measures
In order to help reduce both the frequency and severity of bouts of indigestion, follow these steps:
- Eat small portions of food at regular intervals, without eating too fast or overfilling your stomach.
- Avoid eating in the three hours before going to bed to allow your body enough time to digest food.
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of alcohol, coffee and tea.
- Avoid rich, fatty foods such as butter and fried foods.
- Learn to overcome stress, which can often trigger episodes of abdominal discomfort.
- If overweight, try to reduce weight and avoid tight fitting clothing.
- If possible, avoid medicines that irritate the digestive tract, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
If these measures do not resolve the problem, your doctor may prescribe a drug to neutralize or reduce stomach acid production. There are also other drugs - antispasmodic drugs and motility stimulants - that can help the stomach to empty more effectively, thus reducing this type of digestive complaint.