Most of us don't think much about digestion until we experience indigestion, a general term that describes abdominal discomfort. Although indigestion is common, symptoms may vary from one individual to another.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with indigestion may have one or more of the following symptoms:
Early fullness during a meal. Even though you haven't eaten much of your meal, you may already feel full and may not be able to finish eating.
Uncomfortable fullness after a meal. The feeling of fullness lasts longer than it should.
Discomfort in the upper abdomen. You feel mild to severe pain in the area between the bottom of your breastbone and your belly button.
Burning in the upper abdomen. You feel heat or a burning sensation between the bottom of the breastbone and the navel.
Bloating in the upper abdomen. You feel an uncomfortable sensation of tightness.
Nausea. You feel sick to your stomach after a meal.
Indigestion has many causes, but it's often related to lifestyle and can be triggered by food. Common causes include overeating or eating too quickly; eating fatty, greasy, or spicy foods; too much caffeine, alcohol, or carbonated beverages; and certain medications, such as pain relievers and antibiotics.
To ease indigestion, avoid trigger foods, and eat five or six small meals a day instead of three large meals. Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine. Maintain a healthy weight -- excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up in your esophagus. Finally, exercise regularly. Physical activity helps you keep off extra weight and promotes better digestion.
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