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Dyspepsia (Functional digestive disorders) Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

This fact sheet deals with functional digestive disorders and their symptoms . Specific problems, such as food intolerances and allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroenteritis, celiac disease, constipation, stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer, and gastroesophageal reflux disease make object of cards apart.

Functional digestive disorders and dyspepsia: what is it?

Functional digestive disorders are disorders for which there is no known lesion, but a troublesome functioning of the digestive system. There are several types, digestive disorders of the stomach (loss of appetite, nausea, gastric burns, belching, bloating), which is often called dyspepsia , and digestive disorders of the intestine (bloating, intestinal gas , etc …) that are common problems.

Dyspepsia, the feeling of heaviness, “overflow” or bloating accompanied by belching rots), or pain over the umbilicus that occur during or after meals, is found in 25% to 40% adults. As for the intestinal gases emitted in the form of winds (farts), that one reassures oneself, they occur in practically everybody, from 6 to 20 times a day vary from 300 ml to 1 liter / day.

What is digestion? 
Digestion is a biological process in which foods are degraded and transformed into nutrients that can be absorbed and then enter the bloodstream to enter the bloodstream.
Digestion begins in the mouth, where the food is crushed and mixed with saliva, then it continues in the stomach, which secretes acidic digestive juices , continuing to degrade and grind the food for a few hours. At the exit of the stomach, predigested foods (called chyme) continue to be degraded in the intestine by the digestive juices from the pancreas and gallbladder. Nutrients pass through the lining of the intestine and circulate in the blood for use by the body. What has not been absorbed, added to the dead cells of the intestinal wall becomes fecal matter in the colon.

Causes of Dyspepsia (Functional digestive disorders)

poor diet or overeating is probably the leading cause of digestive discomfort . For some people, eating fatty, sweet or spicy foods, drinking soft drinks, coffee or alcohol irritates the digestive system and causes pain. A meal that is too rich can cause functional digestive disorders sometimes called “liver crisis” in popular language, or indigestion .

Digestive disorders have a varied presentation :

  • The feeling of overflow, is often caused by the ingestion of too much food or very fatty foods that slow down the digestion.
  • The heartburn
  • Burns behind the sternum (retro-sternal) are the main symptom of gastroesophageal reflux .
  • The abdominal pain remote meals may be due  :

* When they occur just after the meal to a food excess;

* But when they occur at a distance from meals, it is necessary to think of detecting a possible ulcer of the stomach , a wound present on the mucous membrane of the stomach or duodenum. ) Consult our sheet of the stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer .

  • The belching (burping) following a meal are normal. They are usually caused by the expulsion of air from the upper part of the stomach and directly related to ingestion of air
    – eating;
    – drinking too quickly or drinking with a straw;
    – chewing gums (= gum);
    – by the consumption of soft drinks releasing a large quantity of carbon dioxide.

Ingesting too much air can also cause hiccups .

However, these eructations can also be linked to an attack of the lining of the stomach or esophagus (esophagitis, gastritis, ulcer), which justifies an opinion by a medical specialist and an endoscopy in case of persistence. .

  • The flatulence (intestinal gas), émisent as winds (pets) are also normal. The most common causes of intestinal gas are:
    – Ingestion of air by eating or drinking. If the air is not eruct, it will follow the same path as food;
    – the type of food and drink Some foods rich in carbohydrates (such as crucifers, dry peas, starchy foods, apples, etc.) ferment producing more gas than others;
    – slow intestinal transit that allows food to ferment further in the gut.
    They are an integral part of the irritable bowel syndrome. More rarely, gases will be the symptom of diseases of the mucosa, such as inflammatory diseases (Crohn’s or RCH), celiac disease or food intolerance, the most well-known being lactose.
  • The bloating caused by the presence of gas in the intestinet corresponds to the intestinal distension. They are the result of various causes: irritable bowel, constipation, a side effect of drugs or nutritional supplements (especially containing dairy products).

After 50 years any untimely bloating, a modification of the transit, justifies a specialized opinion, and an endoscopy (colonoscopy). Only this examination will eliminate a disease of the colonic mucosa, and confirm the diagnosis of “irritable bowel” also called “functional colopathy”

  • The heartburn and pain in the sternum are the main symptom of gastroesophageal reflux . Consult our card gastroesophageal reflux.
  • The abdominal pain can be caused by overeating, but we must think detect a possible stomach ulcer . It is a wound present on the lining of the stomach or duodenum , which causes pain and cramps at a distance from meals. Consult our leaflet of the stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer .

Other common causes of digestive disorders

  • When the symptoms occur suddenly and are accompanied by general malaise, the most likely cause is gastrointestinal infection or food poisoning . This is called gastroenteritis. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms. Persistent disorders should involve consultation with a gastroenterologist to detect a complication of diarrhea (dehydration) or other medical or surgical cause such as appendicitis.
  • Many medications , including antibiotics, aspirin or painkillers (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), can cause stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Anxiety and stress are factors that are sometimes enough to trigger digestive disorders.

Functional “so-called” disorders

Despite extensive medical examinations, the doctor may find no cause to explain the digestive disorders . The pain, discomfort or symptoms are nevertheless present, but they are functional, due to a problem of functioning and not to a disease or an organic lesion.

This is referred to as “high” stomach disorders, “functional dyspepsia” and “colonic” disorders of “functional colopathy” or “irritable bowel”.

In some people with functional dyspepsia , the stomach does not stretch as it should after a meal, resulting in a feeling of overflow.

When to consult?

Although digestive disorders are usually innocuous, some warning signs should prompt you to see a doctor quickly. Here are a few :

  • Sudden appearance of digestive disorders without obvious explanations;
  • Very strong abdominal pains, in ”  stabbing  “;
  • If the symptoms persist or are too troublesome;
  • If symptoms occur while returning from travel
  • If symptoms occur after taking a new medicine.
  • Difficulty swallowing or pain during swallowing;
  • Nausea vomiting leading to food intolerance;
  • Weightloss ;

More serious signs:

  • Presence of blood in vomiting or stool;
  • Presence of fever ;
  • Jaundice or yellowish discoloration of the eyes;
  • Dehydration (cramps, hollow eyes, uncommon urination, dryness of the mouth, etc …);

Symptoms of Dyspepsia (Functional Digestive Disorders)

Digestive disorders result in various symptoms:

  • An impression of difficult digestion, heaviness in the upper belly, accompanied by nausea or belching. There may also be a loss of appetite;
  • abdominal pain variable in terms of location (esophagus, stomach, intestine …), intensity and characteristics (pain, dizziness, burning, jerking, spasms …);
  • bloating ;
  • intestinal gas ;
  • nausea and vomiting ;
  • Constipation or diarrhea.

People at risk for Dyspepsia (Functional digestive disorders)

Everyone can suffer from occasional digestive disorders . Some people, however, are at higher risk:

  • Pregnant women because the uterus “presses” on the intestine and stomach, and that hormonal changes often cause constipation, dyspepsia or heartburn.
  • People who practice endurance sport. Thus, from 30% to 65% of long-distance foot runners have gastrointestinal disturbances during exercise. The causes are many: dehydration, poor diet, vascular disorders …
  • People anxious or suffering from depression. Although digestive disorders are not only psychological, several studies have shown that depressed people are more prone to gastrointestinal symptoms. These can also be aggravated by emotion or stress.
  • People with other chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes or migraine, hypothyroidism often suffer from digestive disorders.
  • People who are overweight often have transit problems such as diarrhea. We do not know, for the moment, the exact physiology. Could be incriminated the “intestinal micro biota”, our intestinal bacterial flora.

Risk factors

  • An  unbalanced diet  (few fresh fruits and vegetables, fast and unbalanced meals, etc …);
  • a sedentary lifestyle, so low physical activity;
  • an unhealthy lifestyle
    • Excessive alcohol consumption;
    • Smoking, which aggravates functional digestive disorders?
    • Any excess! coffee, chocolate, tea, etc.
    • Overweight

Prevention of dyspepsia (Functional digestive disorders)

Can we prevent?
In the majority of cases, it is possible to prevent digestive disorders

  • by evacuating stress as much as possible ,
  • by adopting a healthy and varied diet and
  • a good general lifestyle,

practicing physical exercise.

However, it is impossible to prevent functional digestive disorders , the cause of which is unknown. Some measures may, however, limit symptoms.

Basic preventive measures

Hygiene measures:

  • Have a varied and balanced diet , rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in fats and products too sweet. See the sheet How to eat well? to know more.
  • Drink enough water (1 liter to 1.5 liters per day), rather than meals.
  • Eat slowly and calmly, taking the time to chew your food.
  • Eat more often, in smaller quantities if necessary.
  • Avoid consuming too much food that can irritate the digestive system, bloating or reflux symptoms. This is sometimes the case with soft drinks, very spicy or acidic foods, certain foods that ferment in the gut (cabbage, peas, beans, etc.), coffee , alcohol … Not everyone will not be sensitive to the same foods. Sometimes it’s helpful to write down what you’ve eaten on a notebook to find foods that trigger or worsen your symptoms.
  • Avoid overly rich and rich meals.
  • Avoid lying down after meals.
  • Avoid tight clothes
  • To practice a regular physical activity , necessary to maintain a good digestive transit.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and stop smoking .

Fight against stress and depression

  • Learn to manage stress.
  • If you feel sad, tired and nothing motivates you, you may be suffering from depression. Fighting this depressive state and consulting your doctor if necessary to treat this disorder will undoubtedly help you reduce digestive symptoms.

Medical treatments for dyspepsia (functional digestive disorders)

The treatment of digestive disordersobviously depends on their cause. Generally, these disorders are transient and require no treatment. They disappear on their own in a few days.

The food exclusion test:

If the symptoms persist, take a test excluding, one by one, over a few days, the foods suspected of being at the origin of these disorders, and judge the effectiveness or not.

In case of persistent or unusual digestive disorders , it is always better to consult a doctor before using medication.

Gastric disorders and dyspepsia

Functional disorders of the stomach

In case of stomach cramps caused by too frequent contractions, antispasmodics can relieve pain (such as Bentylol or Dicyclomine Hydrochloride), Duspatalin or Mebeverine, Spasfon or Phloroglucinol dihydrate) can relieve pain.

Conversely, in case of nausea and “lazy” stomach (which does not contract enough), stimulant drugs such as metoclopramide (Maxeran) or domperidone (Motilium) can be used.

In some cases, dyspepsia may be, sometimes and in small doses, relieved by antidepressant drugs, such as desipramine. These drugs probably have an action on the digestive nervous system that explains their effectiveness.

Functional bowel disorders

Bloating and intestinal gas

The first step to take is obviously to avoid foods that cause the most gas (peas, lentils, cabbage, broccoli, sweet foods, soft drinks, etc …)

If transient constipation is the cause of the gases, a diet rich in dietary fiber and consumption of prunes or psyllium associated with a sufficient amount of drink (water) will generally be effective. However, eating high fiber foods can also lead to gas production.

It is preferable to use ballast laxatives (eg Normacol, Spagulax, Transilane, Mucipulgite, Karayal, Metamucil, Prodiem and Kellogs Bran Buds), which act smoothly. Of stool softeners(Colace, Ex-Lax, Soflax, Regulex) or osmotic(Forlax, Duphalac, Lactulose, Macrogol, Miralax, Lax-A-Day) may, if necessary, be used, but always for short periods unless directed by your doctor. Stimulant laxatives, which decrease water reabsorption in the colon, should be used as a last resort (bisacodyl, anthracenic, emulsified castor oil) and should be used as little as possible, never more than 1 or 2 weeks without medical supervision. For more information, consult the constipation sheet.

Finally, simethicone -type antiflatulence drugs or activated carbons, which absorb intestinal gas in excess, can relieve major bloating. They are sold over the counter (GasX, Gastrocalm, Gas Relief, etc.)

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