Sunday, December 18, 2016
Overeating and indigestion are very common this time of year. With all the mince pies and big meals it is easy to get caught up and overeat. Here we take a look at some of the common causes of indigestion, and what you can do to avoid uncomfortable indigestion this Christmas.
Causes of indigestion
Typically indigestion develops as a reaction to eating, specifically overeating. In the case of overeating, the pain is a result of acid. When you eat, acid is produced in the stomach, this acid can sometimes irritate your stomach lining, upper bowel or food pipe. When this acid begins to cause irritation, it can produce the painful burning sensation or uncomfortable feeling, that many associate with indigestion. In the instance of overeating, the stomach stretches which can cause acid reflux and more irritation.
Some people experience indigestion as a side effect of certain medications, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Others experience it as a result of obesity, due to the increased pressure in the stomach. Pregnancy, stress, smoking and alcohol, are all other factors which can contribute. Other pre-existing medical conditions might increase a persons risk of indigestion too, such as stomach ulcers.
Symptoms of indigestion
As previously mentioned, indigestion is described as a burning feeling or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Other symtoms can include:
- Feeling full or bloated
- Feeling sick
- Feeling lethargic
- Bringing up food or drink into the gullet
Most of the time, including at Christmas, indigestion is a result of overeating or eating too quickly. Also, it can be as a result of smoking and drinking alcohol. In order to lower your risk, and enjoy your seasonal meals and treats, be sure to take into consideration portion sizes. As well as not filling your plate too high, be aware of how quickly you are eating. Another factor that helps to prevent indigestion is gentle exercise. Rather than lying down for a nap after a huge meal, plan to go for a quick walk.
When to visit a doctor
Indigestion is mostly harmless and tends to go away by itself, however if you are experiencing recurrent instances of it, and meet any of the following criteria, you should visit a doctor or pharmacist.
- Over 55 years old
- Experiencing unintentional weight loss
- Experiencing difficulty swallowing
- Persistent vomiting
- Blood in your vomit or stools
For help with indigestion, take a look at Oxford Online Pharmacy's indigestion range.