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Q: What do I need to know about indigestion?

Posted December 04, 2013 in Adel, Advice Column

A: The holiday season is almost upon us. That means lots of holiday parties and family gatherings, and it also means lots of yummy holiday treats. You may find it is very easy to over-indulge, which may lead to indigestion.

What is indigestion? It is a term used to describe one or more symptoms including a feeling of fullness during a meal, uncomfortable fullness after a meal and burning or pain in the upper abdomen. It can be caused by a condition in the digestive tract such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer or an abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.

Sometimes a person has indigestion for which a cause can’t be found. This type of indigestion is called functional dyspepsia. Indigestion and heartburn are different conditions, but a person can have symptoms of both. To help diagnose indigestion, doctors may order X-rays, blood, breath and stool tests or an upper endoscopy with biopsies

Some people may experience relief from indigestion by making lifestyle changes and by decreasing stress, something which is often hard to avoid during the holiday season. In addition, doctors may prescribe various medications to treat the symptoms of indigestion. Remember to enjoy this holiday season with family and friends, and always remember that moderation is key.

Information provided by Jane Clausen, Adel Health Mart, 113 N. Ninth St., 993-3644.

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