Becky Yoza, DNP

Becky has 14 years combined experience in medical/surgical and emergency nursing. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate nursing at Hawaii Pacific University. Originally a sociologist, Becky trained as a nurse to gain knowledge for her research, but she ended up loving nursing so much she never went back! Born and raised in Michigan, Becky has lived in Hawaii since 2010 and never wants to leave.


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – Indigestion

Indigestion is a common problem. One experiences stomach pain after eating heavy meals. Or it can be due to other medications. There are lifestyle changes one can make for indigestion pain relief.

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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – Indigestion

Symptoms of indigestion

Belching or burping is a sign of excessive food or drinks consumption. Dyspepsia refers to a group of symptoms. Symptoms such as bloating, discomfort, nausea, and excess wind production. Other symptoms of dyspepsia are heartburn and water brash. Water brash is the coming up of a bitter-tasting liquid into the back of the throat. But, these are now considered symptoms of a condition called gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Digestive system

Food passes down the oesophagus into the stomach. After that, the stomach prepares acid to break down the food. Food then passes into the duodenum . The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine. In the duodenum and the rest of the small intestine, food mixes with chemicals. Chemicals called enzymes. Food also gets digested in the duodenum and the rest of the small intestine. Digested food is then absorbed into the body from the small intestine.

Treating indigestion by making changes in your lifestyle

The below mentioned three steps will ensure indigestion pain relief:

  1. Eat small and regular meals. Especially avoid eating late at night.
  2. Lose weight if you are obese.
  3. Avoid excessive smoking or drinking.

In case you are suffering from dyspepsia (acid reflux & heartburn), the best way to get relief is by:

  • Improve posture. Lying down or bending forward a lot during the day leads to acid reflux. This happens after heavy meals. Sitting hunched or wearing tight belts puts extra pressure on the stomach. This makes reflux worse
  • At night, go to bed at least 2 hours after your last meal. Adjust your bed to raise the head side of the bed by about 6 inches. This will keep acid from refluxing into the food pipe (oesophagus). In addition, you may use additional pillows as well.
  • Antacids or alkali fluids neutralize the stomach acid. A dose of antacid after every heavy meal provides relief.
  • Test for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and get treatment.


Additional symptoms suggest that your dyspepsia may be due to a serious disorder. Disorders such as stomach or oesophageal cancer. Additionally, it may be due to a complication from an ulcer such as bleeding. For example, if you:

  • Pass blood with your stools
  • Bring up (vomit) blood
  • Lose weight suddenly
  • Have difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Develop yellowish skin (anaemia)

It is best to visit your physician who will conduct a Gastroscopy (endoscopy). This is to check for stomach ulcers and a blood test to check for anaemia.


Some medicines may cause dyspepsia as a side-effect. Anti-inflammatory medicines (for arthritis, muscular pains, sprains, period pains) affect the lining of the stomach. As a result, allow acid to cause inflammation and ulcers.

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