Basically, functional dyspepsia is a term which is used by the medical community to describe a condition which causes stomach pain or discomfort, also often referred to as “upset stomach.” This pain is typically present in the upper abdomen in the vicinity of the ribs. Many times this condition will come and go over time. At the present time doctors are not entirely sure what causes functional dyspepsia in most cases. However, it is clear that some medical conditions can cause this disorder to occur. There is quite a bit of information on the topic and in the following article we will discuss some of the possible causes, symptoms and of course treatment options.
What Are the Symptoms of Dyspepsia?
The most notable of the dyspepsia symptoms is an upset stomach. This simply means the feeling of discomfort in the abdominal area. Often this discomfort is classified as quite painful, depending on the severity of the condition. Bloating is something that frequently occurs with dyspepsia, or the feeling of becoming full too fast while eating. For example, you may think you are absolutely ravenous but after taking only a few bites become unusually full. This is a very good indication of dyspepsia. In many cases, functional dyspepsia in children is the main cause of not being able to get them to eat. Many parents may not be aware that there is actually a medical reason for their children refusing to finish a meal in some cases.
For adults the feeling is generally that of being so full that it is uncomfortable. In some cases this is also accompanied with gas and bloating. Belching is often a sign of dyspepsia. The thing to understand is that another term for dyspepsia is actually just indigestion. This means that any uncomfortable feelings that come as a result of eating could very well be dyspepsia. There are some cases in which other disorders such as acid reflux disease or stomach ulcers may cause the symptoms of dyspepsia. To sum it up, any stomach ache after a meal could be dyspepsia and there are a number of different reasons for such. There are also some people who develop such bad cases of dyspepsia that they actually vomit after eating. While it may not be quite as common, there are also some people who will drop weight as a result of this condition.
The above mentioned symptoms should never be severe. If anything should become extreme, such as vomiting or weight loss, medical attention should be sought immediately. Sometimes dyspepsia can cause serious complications. If frequent vomiting becomes an issue and/or it is accompanied by diarrhea or blood in the vomit or stool, this is also cause for concern. If a person with dyspepsia notices that there is a significant loss in appetite or a sudden and notable drop in weight, this is also a red flag that medical attention is needed right away. As with any other illness or disorder, leaving serious symptoms left untreated is never a good idea.
Anyone suffering from dyspepsia should also monitor his/her stool. Any sign of tarry looking or dark colored bowel movements should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible. If difficulty swallowing food should occur, this is also a sign that something is very wrong. No one should be feeling pain while swallowing food and a person with dyspepsia could be experiencing complications if this should begin to happen. Most of the time, extreme functional dyspepsia symptoms will not be an issue, but if they should occur please do not hesitate to seek medical attention at once.
Main Causes of Functional Dyspepsia
As mentioned earlier, doctors do not necessarily know just what it is that causes functional dyspepsia. However, what they do know is a little bit about dyspepsia symptoms and treatment. No matter what the cause, the most important thing is getting the patient out of pain and treating whatever symptoms may be present. There are some theories surrounding nerve or motor problems as being one of the causes of functional dyspepsia. This is because the process involved in digesting food utilizes a series of muscles and nerves in the digestive system. If there is an issue in this system then the result can be that the stomach would then empty much slower than what is considered normal. This could easily be the cause of nausea, vomiting and even bloating after meals. However, with that being said, not everyone who experiences these things actually has dyspepsia.
Another possible cause for dyspepsia is one that is likely to cause a number of other stomach disorders as well and that is some type of infection. Typically, this type of infection comes from the bacteria known as H. pylori. This bacterium can lead to conditions such as gastritis and stomach ulcers. If any of these conditions are present then dyspepsia would simply be par for the course. There is also believed to be a link between psychological disorders and dyspepsia. Generally speaking, people who suffer from dyspepsia also suffer from anxiety, depression or even mood swings. Often treating the psychosomatic disorder can greatly improve the physical symptoms of dyspepsia.
Diagnosing Functional Dyspepsia
When you seek medical attention for dyspepsia the first thing that will happen is that you will be asked to answer a series of questions about your conditions. The nurse or doctor will want to know when you feel the most pain and how severe it is. He/she will want to know what kind of pain it is that you are experiencing. For example, is the pain more pronounced when you are hungry or when your stomach is full? He/she will want to know if you’ve been experiencing any burning with your discomfort. This is more than likely to determine whether or not a nonulcer dyspepsia diet plan would be appropriate for you. The doctor will also want to know whether the pain increases when you move around or if it stays the same no matter what position you are in.
The next group of questions will likely be geared toward your lifestyle. The kinds of foods you eat, medications you take, how much alcohol you consume and a number of other things will be asked in order to help the doctor better assess the situation. Next, the doctor or nurse will want a summary of your symptoms. Do you have heartburn? If you do have heartburn, how often does it occur? What is the symptom you are having the most trouble with? Is there strong pain anywhere in your abdominal area and if so, where? The doctor will also want to know whether any of the pain you feel shoots into your back anywhere. It is best to make notes of everything you want to tell the doctor before your appointment to be sure you don’t leave anything out. You will want to report if there have been any variations in your bowel movements as well.
Dyspepsia Symptoms and Treatment Options for Relief
There are no clear cut ways of diagnosing functional dyspepsia other than the process of elimination. There are tests such as endoscopies for older people that are often recommended but most of the time a doctor will base his/her opinion on the findings in the exam. There are guidelines for testing. Also, many times just a change in functional dyspepsia diet will help to get rid of whatever problems are occurring, which would mean no further testing would be necessary. Generally speaking, a diet for dyspepsia would be very similar to that of one for patients suffering from stomach ulcers or gastritis. The get is to get rid of the pain and stop the symptoms that are causing problems.
The treatment usually consists of proactive prevention of symptoms. For example, changing the diet in such a way as to sooth the stomach is one of the most common strategies. For example, if eating nuts causes symptoms then these will be eliminated from the diet. That is of course just an example but you get the general idea. Oftentimes eating a healthier diet and smaller meals will help get the symptoms in check and help the person to feel much better. However, in cases where H. pylori infection is present then a regimen of antibiotics will become necessary in order to kill the bacteria. In addition, people who suffer from dyspepsia are often urged not to take over the counter non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as aspirin as this can aggravate the condition.
Sometimes, pain medications are given initially to help get a patient who is suffering from severe symptoms out of pain. This is temporary and usually only given for a couple of days. Again, medication is not always best when dealing with dyspepsia as it can exasperate the situation and worsen the symptoms. Antacids are also given to help get rid of the excess acid that may be causing heartburn and bloating.