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Related to Acute dyspepsia: Chronic dyspepsia




Dyspepsia can be defined as painful, difficult, or disturbed digestion, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, heartburn, bloating, and stomach discomfort.

Causes and symptoms

The digestive problems may have an identifiable cause, such as bacterial or viral infection, peptic ulcer, gallbladder, or liver disease. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori is often found in those individuals suffering from duodenal or gastric ulcers. Investigation of recurrent indigestion should rule out these possible causes.
Often, there is no organic cause for the problem, in which case dyspepsia is classified as functional or nonulcer dyspepsia. There is evidence that functional dyspepsia may be related to abnormal motility of the upper gastrointestinal tract (a state known as dysmotility in which the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine behave abnormally). These patients may respond to a group of drugs called prokinate agents. A review of eating habits (e.g., chewing with the mouth open, gulping food, or talking while chewing) may reveal a tendency to swallow air. This may contribute to feeling bloated, or to excessive belching. Smoking, caffeine, alcohol, or carbonated beverages may contribute to the discomfort. When there is sensitivity or allergy to certain food substances, eating those foods may cause gastrointestinal distress. Some medications are associated with indigestion. Stomach problems may also be a response to stress or emotional unrest.


A physical examination by a health care professional may reveal mid-abdominal pain. A rectal examination may be done to rule out bleeding. If blood is found on rectal exam, laboratory studies, including a blood count may be ordered. Endoscopy and barium studies may be used to rule out underlying gastrointestinal disease. Upper gastrointestinal x-ray studies using barium may allow for visualization of abnormalities. Endoscopy permits collection of tissue and culture specimens which may be used to further confirm a diagnosis.


The treatment of dyspepsia is based on assessment of symptoms and suspected causative factors. Clinical evaluation is aimed at distinguishing those patients who require immediate diagnostic work-ups from those who can safely benefit from more conservative initial treatment. Some of the latter may require only reassurance, dietary modifications, or antacid use. Medications to block production of stomach acids, prokinate agents, or antibiotic treatment may be considered. Further diagnostic investigation is indicated if there is severe abdominal pain, pain radiating to the back, unexplained weight loss, difficulty swallowing, a palpable mass, or anemia. Additional work-up is also indicated if a patient does not respond to prescribed medications.


Statistics show an average of 20% of patients with dyspepsia have duodenalor gastric ulcer disease, 20% have irritable bowel syndrome, fewer than 1% of patients had cancer, and the range for functional, or non-ulcer dyspepsia (gastritis or superficial erosions), was from 5-40%.



Talley, N. J. "Non-ulcer Dyspepsia: Current Approaches to Diagnosis and Management." American Family Physician May 1993: 1407-1416.


"Clinical Economics: Gastrointestinal Disease in Primary Care." April 23, 1998. 〈http://www.avicenna.com〉.

Key terms

Anemia — Diagnosed through laboratory study of the blood, a deficiency in hemoglobin or red blood cells, often associated with paleness or loss of energy.
Endoscopy — A diagnostic procedure using a lighted instrument to examine a body cavity or internal organ. Endoscopy permits collection of tissue and culture specimens.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


impairment of the power or function of digestion; usually applied to epigastric discomfort after meals. adj., adj dyspep´tic.
acid dyspepsia dyspepsia associated with excessive acidity of the stomach.
nonulcer dyspepsia dyspepsia in which the symptoms resemble those of peptic ulcer, although no ulcer can be detected. Because many patients with nonulcer dyspepsia have a Helicobacter pylori infection, H. pylori has been suggested as a cause. This has not been proven, however, and many patients still have dyspepsia after antibiotic treatment.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Impaired gastric function or "upset stomach" due to some disorder of the stomach; characterized by epigastric pain, sometimes burning, nausea, and gaseous eructation.
Synonym(s): gastric indigestion
[dys- + G. pepsis, digestion]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(dĭs-pĕp′shə, -sē-ə)
Disturbed digestion; indigestion.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


1. Formally, a compromised ability to digest food.
2. Popularly defined as postprandial epigastric discomfort. See Nonulcer dyspepsia.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Impaired gastric function or "upset stomach" due to some stomach disorder; characterized by epigastric pain, burning, nausea, and gaseous eructation.
Synonym(s): gastric indigestion.
[dys- + G. pepsis, digestion]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Indigestion. Any symptoms of disorder of, or abuse of, the digestive system or any symptoms attributed to digestive upset. The symptoms include discomfort in the upper abdomen, heartburn, a tendency to belching, nausea or a sense of bloated fullness (flatulence). See also PEPTIC ULCER.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


Impaired gastric function or "upset stomach" due to some disorder of the stomach.
[dys- + G. pepsis, digestion]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
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