INDIGESTION – CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT
Almost every one of us should have experienced indigestion at some point in time. When it is mild, it does not cause any long-term damage.
Indigestion is suspected when an uncomfortable feeling is associated with pain in the chest or stomach after eating or drinking. One may also feel bloating, experience nausea, and/or heartburn.
Indigestion occurs when stomach acid comes in touch with the digestive tracts’ lining. The acid can break the lining and cause irritation or inflammation, leading to pain and swelling. Some common triggers for indigestion are alcohol consumption, smoking, particular medication, or heavy eating.
If one is suffering from indigestion, one may have the following symptoms. It often manifests as a burning feeling or pain, or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Sometimes, they may not be able to finish their meal because they feel full while eating. In others, there will be a feeling of fullness long after they finish eating, too. Bloating, tightness due to gas, burping, reflux, the stomach’s growling, nausea, and farts are signs of indigestion.
While the above describes the less complicated symptoms, one needs to be aware of the critical symptoms associated with indigestion. Black stools, blood vomiting, chronic pain in the stomach, shortness of breath, pain radiating to arms and jaws are considered severe symptoms of indigestion that need immediate medical attention.
If a person is suffering from indigestion for more than 15 days, it is better to consult a doctor.
The trigger factors
Several factors can trigger indigestion. Lifestyle, certain medicines, digestive tract diseases can all give rise to indigestion.
Too much alcohol, coffee, and carbonated drinks can cause indigestion. Lack of sleep, stress, and smoking can be a reason for increased acid secretion in the gut.
Eating spicy, oily, and fatty foods and high-fat dairy products are said to cause indigestion.
Foods high in acids such as citrus fruits and tomatoes may sometimes be a cause for indigestion.
Medications like steroids, pain killers, and antibiotics may also trigger indigestion.
Significance of Ayurveda in the treatment of indigestion
Ayurveda gives a lot of importance to a strong digestive system to keep a person healthy. According to ancient medicine, agni is the most vital element of digestion. The agni or metabolic fire in the body breaks down and digests the food we eat. While it assimilates the nutrients, the unwanted is eliminated.
According to Ayurveda, if undigested food is stored in the body, it can give rise to ama, a toxic residue, which hampers the body’s normal functions.
Ayurveda provides effective treatment for indigestion. While there are home remedies, there are also medicines that have to be taken based on the prescription of an Ayurvedic physician
Jeera and fennel are commonly used to reduce bloating and intestinal gas. Ginger, shatavari, amla, hing, and clove are also used in treating acidity at home. Ayurvedic medicines like Hinguvachadi churna, Ajamoda churna, Avipattikara churna can be taken after consultation with a physician.
Here are some simple steps that can help maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Eat at regular intervals and avoid eating at the wrong times.
- Eat food only when hungry, take small quantities, and ensure a three-hour minimum gap between two meals.
- Do not eat heavy dinner; instead, make lunch the largest meal of the day.
- Do not drink too much water after a meal.
- Practice mindful eating and eat food with a pleasant mind.
- Avoid junk and high-fat food.
- Include fibre-rich food in the diet and greens in meals.
- A calm mind is essential for the gut’s health. Exercise regularly and meditate or practice stress management and relaxation techniques.