Dyspepsia

Topic Overview

Dyspepsia is a vague discomfort in the upper abdomen or chest that may be described as gas, a feeling of fullness, gnawing, or burning.

Common causes of dyspepsia include:

  • Swallowed air.
  • Burped-up stomach juices and gas (regurgitation or reflux) caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a hiatal hernia.
  • Peptic (stomach) ulcer or duodenal ulcer.
  • Stomach cancer.
  • An inability to digest milk and dairy products (lactose intolerance).
  • Gallbladder pain (biliary colic) or inflammation (cholecystitis).
  • A disorder that affects movement of food through the intestines, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Side effects of caffeine, alcohol, or medicines. Examples of medicines that may cause dyspepsia are aspirin and similar drugs, antibiotics, steroids, digoxin, and theophylline.

Treatment depends on what is causing the problem. If no specific cause is found, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms with medicine.

Credits

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated September 1, 2009

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