An introduction to indigestion causing acid reflux
Indigestion is actually quite a general term, describing discomfort in the upper abdomen (this can include the first part of the small intestine, the stomach or the oesophagus) – usually occurring as a result of ‘poor digestion’.
Indigestion can therefore give rise to a number of symptoms including bloating, excess gas, nausea, acid reflux and heartburn.
Why does indigestion cause acid reflux?
Indigestion is the result of improper digestion and/or a disturbance in the first part of our digestive system – in and around the stomach. This initial phase of our digestion is very important as it is when the food we eat is broken down and absorbed.
The main reason we experience acid reflux as a result of indigestion is due to the improper functioning of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS), a ring of muscle which controls what enters the stomach from our oesophagus. In certain circumstances, say after over eating, eating the wrong foods, or eating too quickly, a sudden shift in the pressure of the stomach as a result of these behaviours, can impact the LOS. If this opens when it shouldn’t, acid reflux can travel back into the oesophagus and we experience pain and discomfort.
What can I try at home for indigestion?
There are some simple steps you can take at home to help manage symptoms of indigestion:
- Consider your eating habits. A whole number of bad habits could be contributing to your indigestion, which include eating too much at once or the wrong types of foods, eating too quickly, not chewing your food properly, eating on the move or eating too late at night. All of these mean that you won’t allow your stomach enough time and the correct conditions to digest your food properly. It is important to take your time eating at dedicated meal time, eat healthy balanced meals and, most importantly, enjoy your food!
- Peppermint and herbal teas. Certain herbal teas are thought to be soothing for the stomach. Try stomach easing blends which include chamomile, licorice, fennel or marshmallow.
- Rethink what medication you take. Painkillers, including NSAIDs as well as other medications, (always read the side effects of any you take) can have detrimental effects on the stomach – especially in the case of long-term use. If you are unsure what your options are, ask for a medicine review with your GP.
How can natural remedies help me?
There are some natural remedies which can help to manage indigestion and the acid reflux which can be associated with it:
How can my doctor help?
Your doctor may prescribe antacid medication which can help to reduce acid which may help with the symptoms of indigestion temporarily, however, just be aware that this is less likely to help manage the underlying problem.
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