Indigestion, in medical terminology, is known as dyspepsia. It is broad description of several different stomach ailments. Under the topic indigestion, certain diseases and conditions such as acid reflux, gastritis, bloating and heartburn are described. Mainly, indigestion is the result of consuming too many spicy, oily, fatty foods or junk foods quickly so that they are not chewed properly and due to their preparation and certain bad qualities, they produce mild toxins in the body those are indigestible by our intestines.
The acid secreted by stomach becomes temporarily overwhelmed and the churning enzymes may be sent back up through the food pipe (esophagus) right into the mouth causing regurgitation. This is also called as acid-reflux or reflux esophagitis or simply gastro-esophageal reflux syndrome (GERS).
Indigestion is often described when one has not passed stools in a proper way or in a proper form. Diarrhea or constipation could be one of the symptoms of indigestion. The most common symptom for having indigestion is getting pain in the abdomen. Here, the pain felt in different area would suggest different etiology and the condition. For instance, pain and burning sensation at just under the ribs and at middle portion may suggest duodenum problem and pain and burning at left side just below the rib cage may suggest acidity or gastritis.
Many causes give raise to the indigestion. Most commonly the junk food and irregularity in eating the meals can cause indigestion. Improper gaping between two meals and not chewing the food properly are common causes. Sometimes infection due to virus or bacteria may cause indigestion and disturbance in gastro-intestinal track. Diseases like cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, sprue and constipations are clear indication of indigestion.
Indigestion is referred as ‘agnimandhya’ in Ayurveda. Ayurveda believes that indigestion is due to improper diet and lifestyle. There are many types of indigestion in Ayurveda but common causes for all of them include improper diet, any disease, meals without any timing, sleeping immediately after having food, incompatible foods such as fish and milk and in some cases change in environment, food and water may weaken the digestive fire and then produce something called ‘agnimandhya’ or indigestion.
The diagnosis depends upon the exact causes that have contributed in giving raise to the disease. Local palpitation and auscultation may help. One should ask for the proper history for indigestion. If needed, further investigation such as barium meal X-Ray, CT scan or MRI could be done to have proper idea for the underlying condition.
The treatment also depends upon the disease and diseased. Simple indigestion could be cured by giving some digestive enzymes or simply called as ‘deepan’ and ‘paachan’ drugs (those drugs that help in producing good digestive enzymes and those who promote the digestion). Hyper acidity can be cured by giving antacids and if the indigestion is due to any infection such as bacteria or virus, it is generally treated with antibiotics and certain Ayurvedic drugs or formulas like ‘aampaachan vati’, ‘triphala churna’, ‘agnitundi vati’, ‘chitrakadi vati’, ‘hinguvashtak churna’ etc.