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World-class gastroenterologists at Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders pinpoint the cause of your chronic indigestion and provide a long-term nutritional plan and treatment for dyspepsia.
Often called a stomachache or indigestion, dyspepsia is a gastrointestinal (GI) condition with common symptoms and hard-to-detect causes. When we eat, our brain tells our stomach to relax and expand. Research suggests dyspepsia occurs when there is a disconnect between the brain and the stomach.
Dyspepsia can make it difficult to finish meals or lead to more serious conditions. There are two types of dyspepsia — organic (acid-related) dyspepsia and functional (anxiety-related) dyspepsia.
If you experience acid reflux or difficult digestion with depression symptoms, consult a gastroenterologist at the Underwood Center.
Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 8 by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.
Related Dyspepsia Conditions We Treat
Dyspepsia Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
What are the signs and symptoms of dyspepsia?
Contact our gastroenterologists for testing if you have any of the symptoms below:
- Post-meal discomfort or premature fullness
- Weight loss
How is dyspepsia diagnosed?
Your doctor will choose a diagnostic procedure based on a discussion of your symptoms.
- Blood tests
- Breath and stool tests – check for Helicobacter pylori bacterium, the bacterium associated with peptic ulcers, which can cause indigestion
- Electrogastrography – noninvasive technique performed alongside an electrogastrogram (EGG)
- Gastric emptying study – examines how fast food leaves the stomach
- Imaging tests – X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan to check for intestinal obstruction
- Physical exam
- Upper endoscopy – assesses interior surfaces of the esophagus and stomach by inserting an endoscope (thin tube with light and camera attached) into the body
How is dyspepsia treated?
Dyspepsia that can't be managed with lifestyle changes may need treatment. Depending on the type of dyspepsia, recommendations and treatments may include a combination of medication and behavior therapy:
- Antibiotics – if tests find H. pylori bacteria in your stomach
- Anti-emetics – anti-nausea medication, such as promethazine, prochlorperazine and meclizine
- Low-dose antidepressants – tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may inhibit the activity of neurons that control intestinal pain
- Over-the-counter (OTC) gas remedies – the simethicone in Mylanta and Gas-X may provide some relief
- OTC antacids – H2-receptor blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC) and nizatidine (Axid AR)
- OTC proton pump inhibitors (PPI) – medicines that suppress the stomach’s acid production, such as lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR), omeprazole (Prilosec OTC) and esomeprazole (Nexium 24HR)
- Prokinetics – medication that helps empty your stomach faster and tightens the valve between your stomach and esophagus
Lifestyle changes may help ease indigestion. Your doctor may recommend you:
- Avoid foods that trigger indigestion
- Avoid pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB and others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Control stress and anxiety
- Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day
- Find alternatives for medications that trigger indigestion
- Reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol and caffeine