A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Indigestion
I had a question the other day about indigestion.
Indigestion is often a sign of an underlying problem, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, or gallbladder disease, rather than a condition of its own.
Also called dyspepsia, indigestion is a term used to describe a feeling of fullness or discomfort during or after a meal.
It can be accompanied by burning or pain in your upper stomach.
Your symptoms may increase in times of stress.
People often have heartburn (a burning sensation deep in your chest) along with indigestion, but heartburn is caused by stomach acids rising into your esophagus.
People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. It’s extremely common.
Your risk of having indigestion increases with excess alcohol consumption, drugs that irritate the stomach (aspirin), other conditions where there’s an abnormality in your digestive tract (an ulcer) and emotional problems (anxiety or depression).
Indigestion has many causes, including:
>Gastroparesis (a condition where the stomach doesn’t empty properly; this often occurs in diabetics).
>Irritable bowel syndrome.
>Aspirin and many other painkillers.
>Estrogen and oral contraceptives.
>Eating too much, eating too fast, eating high-fat foods, or eating during stressful situations.
>Drinking too much alcohol.
>Stress and fatigue.
Swallowing excessive air when eating may increase your symptoms of indigestion.
Because indigestion is a symptom rather than a disease, treatment usually depends upon the underlying condition causing the indigestion.
To deal with indigestion it’s beneficial to:
*Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat too fast. This causes you to swallow too much air, which can aggravate indigestion.
*Drink fluids after rather than during meals.
*Avoid late-night eating.
*Try to relax after meals.
*Avoid spicy foods.
*Stop smoking; smoking irritates the lining of your stomach.
*Avoid alcoholic beverages.
*Avoid the foods and situations that seem to cause indigestion.
*Keep a food diary to help identify foods that cause indigestion.
*Eat small meals so your stomach doesn’t have to work as hard or as long.
*Eat slowly, chew well and appreciate your food.
*Reduce or avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
*If stress is a trigger for your indigestion, reevaluating your lifestyle may help to reduce stress. Learn new methods for managing stress, like relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
*Avoid wearing tight-fitting garments because they compress your stomach, which can cause the contents to enter your esophagus.
*Don’t exercise with a full stomach. Rather, exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
*Don’t lie down right after eating.
*Wait at least 3 hours after your last meal of the day before you go to bed.
*Raise the head of your bed so that your head and chest are higher than your feet.
*Investigate “hidden” allergies, which often trigger or aggravate the condition. Common triggers are dairy, wheat, corn, eggs, gluten, and additives.
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily to hydrate and flush your system away from food.
*Eat lots of life-giving, enzyme and nutrient-rich, fresh, raw fruits and veggies daily (organic whenever possible).
*Eat some RAW vegetables with every meal.
*Consider a liver, gallbladder, and/or colon cleanse.
*Consider peppermint, anise, fennel, chamomile, and/or ginger teas.
*Try fresh pineapple or papaya because they are rich in digestive enzymes.
*Decrease or eliminate acid-forming foods and drinks (coffee, soda pop, dairy, red meat, sugar, processed foods, white flour products).