Constant Indigestion – Heartburn, Peptic Ulcer or Food Intolerance?

Constant Indigestion

Those that are wondering what is indigestion will find that the answer is not always clear cut. Symptoms can vary from person to person and range in severity and intensity as well. Most commonly, bloating and gas, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and constipation, burning and pain in the abdomen and an acidic taste in the mouth are frequent results, according to WebMD. And it can be encountered regularly, with people experiencing what can seem like constant indigestion, or very occasionally.

Acute indigestion is that which occurs here and there and is most often associated with mealtime. It could be a simple result of overindulgence, by which gas and bloating occur as a result of too much food intake. Or, it could result from the consumption of gassy foods like beans and broccoli, which can lead to temporary stomach bloating and feelings of fullness. Most often, acute indigestion resolves itself rather quickly and without the use of medications or home remedies.

Chronic indigestion, however, is that which is much more likely attributable to underlying illness or other causes. Chronic indigestion is characterized as that which occurs often after meals, and bears repeated or recurring symptoms. WebMD points out that in general, indigestion can often be a sign of underlying illness and those experiencing constant indigestion are much more likely to fit into this category.

Acid reflux, or the more chronic form of the condition (known as GERD) can display symptoms of severe indigestion including a burning sensation in the abdomen and intense pain. It is commonly associated with trigger foods like those that are spicy, tomatoes, garlic and onions, carbonated beverages and some spices and seasonings. That is a result of stomach acids moving backwards into the esophagus. Those experiencing feelings of constant indigestion may be encountering these effects from lifestyle factors as well, such as smoking and alcohol use, which can explain symptoms that exist outside of mealtimes.

Peptic ulcers and peptic ulcer disease can be another cause of constant indigestion like symptoms. Most often caused by a bacterium (H. Pylori), but also thought to be the end result of overuse of medications like over the counter pain remedies, peptic ulcers are open sores that appear at various points throughout the digestive system. Those that occur in the upper part of the small intestine are called duodenal ulcers, based on their location on the duodenum. Ulcers residing in the stomach are called gastric ulcers, and those that appear in the esophagus are called esophageal ulcers. They affect the inner lining of tissues and can be extremely painful and promote feelings of constant indigestion. And because symptoms may not always appear right at mealtime, with duodenal ulcers for example often displaying symptoms hours later, determining them as the source of trouble can be difficult.

Food intolerances can be another big contributing factor to feelings of constant gastrointestinal upset. Many people with food sensitivities are unaware that they have them. While well known food intolerances like those to lactose are usually fairly easy to identify, others, like gluten sensitivity, can be much more difficult to pinpoint. This particular food intolerance can create symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and nausea and diarrhea, according to Wikipedia. Many of these can mimic feelings of constant indigestion.

It may be very challenging to determine the exact cause of unrelenting indigestion symptoms. Sometimes, health care providers even have a difficult time identifying the source. Paying attention to when symptoms occur can be the biggest asset to solving the mystery. And, keeping track of specifically which indigestion symptoms are occurring can be helpful as well. A food log that documents what is eaten and when can be enormously helpful in solving the case of constant indigestion. By noting when symptoms appear and after consuming what, sufferers can more easily piece together the causes behind the gastrointestinal ails whether they be related to ulcers, heartburn or food sensitivity or, something entirely different altogether.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/indigestion
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heartburn-gerd/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peptic_ulcer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity

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