Dyspepsia

Synonyms: Indigestion, Upset stomach

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Gastroenterology, Internal medicine


Clinical Definition

Dyspepsia is a subjective feeling of pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen due to irritation of the stomach or processes involving the stomach. It can be acute or chronic, and treatment focuses on medications to reduce symptoms and mitigate the underlying causes, such as agents to reduce stomach acid or quell infections and avoidance of NSAIDs and contributory items from the diet.


In Our Own Words

Dyspepsia, often referred to as indigestion or upset stomach, is a very common symptom that has a very long list of possible causes. It can be caused by irritation due to drinking too much alcohol, vomiting excessively, being under stress or taking medicines such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs.  Bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, linked with ulcers and stomach cancer, can also cause dyspepsia.

Gastritis, the inflammation of the stomach lining, and a type of anemia called pernicious anemia are linked to dyspepsia, as are some infections, backflow of bile into the stomach and other conditions.

Heartburn, nausea, bloating, appetite loss and vomiting are symptoms that may go along with the dyspepsia that can sometimes help to pin down the underlying cause. Treatment depends on the cause, and often focuses on minimizing stomach acid, eating a bland diet, avoiding certain drugs and, for some, a course of antibiotics.

Relevant Conditions
  • Gastritis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Peptic ulcer disease
Common Types
  • Functional dyspepsia
Side Effects
  • Stomach burning or discomfort alone, or in combination with any number of other symptoms, including:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Hiccups
  • Appetite loss
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