Alternative names: Indigestion and Heartburn
The term ‘indigestion’ is a layman’s term and is used to cover the symptoms of a few different medical conditions.
Medical conditions that are often described as ‘indigestion’ and which have ‘indigestion’ as a symptom are:
- Heartburn (gastro-esophageal reflux);
- Non-ulcer dyspepsia (when you have symptoms of an ulcer but no sign of ulcer on investigation);
- Food intolerance, e.g. lactose intolerance;
- Bloating and flatulence; and
- Aerophagia (swallowing excessive amounts of air).
Many people with indigestion suffer in silence, sometimes for years, receiving little or no medical treatment apart from over-the-counter antacids.
While these are very effective in medicating heartburn, there are now many more medications available, which can provide perfect symptomatic relief.
There is also a greater awareness that acid reflux which causes the heartburn may damage the lining of the esophagus and increase the potential for serious health problems due to the process of chronic inflammation.
It is becoming increasingly important to treat your symptom of heartburn less casually and discuss the prospects for treatment with your doctor.