Dyspepsia(or indigestion) refers to symptoms located in the upper part of the abdomen or chest which are felt to be coming from the upper gastro-intestinal tract ie the gullet, stomach gallbladder and pancreas. Typical types of symptoms which are included in the term dyspepsia include burning either behind the breast bone or in the pit of the stomach, bloating, belching, cramping, aching, and regurgitation, early satiety(feeling full up very easily).
The causes of dyspepsia have changed dramatically over the past 2 or 3 decades. 30 years ago the most common finding was ulcers whereas more recently the most common finding if anything is found at all is inflammation of the lower oesophagus or oesophagitis. In most cases where the stomach and gullet are examined with an endoscope nothing abnormal is found.
An increasingly common diagnosis is one of acid sensitivity of the upper digestive tract, where the lining of the stomach and gullet appear normal yet people respond to ant-acid treatment frequently at high doses.
In terms of serious disorders including cancer it is just as likely in people with dyspepsia have problems outside of the upper digestive tract. This means that in people with any worrying symptoms accompanying their dyspepsia is essential that the other abdominal organs are also examined with scans.
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