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Indigestion (Dyspepsia)

Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is a vague feeling of abdominal discomfort, possibly including a feeling of fullness, belching, bloating, and nausea.

Indigestion is rarely a serious health problem, unless it is accompanied by other symptoms. It may be triggered by eating particular foods or after drinking wine or carbonated drinks. Eating too fast or overeating may also cause it. Some people may find that spicy foods, high-fiber foods, fatty foods, or too much caffeine can aggravate this problem. Symptoms may be worsened by anxiety and depression.

Tragically, sometimes, the pain of a heart attack is mistaken for acute indigestion. 
The following is a list of recommendations for treating indigestion using different alternative healing practices. Veria strongly encourages consultation with expert practitioners before beginning any treatment plan.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Digestive Qi: The movement downward  is the force with which our digestion works to move our food through our bodies. If the digestive qi is blocked or prohibited to do its work, heartburn, acid reflux, and gastric diseases can become health problems.

Common Causes of Digestion Problems: The block of digestive qi often occurs from a weak digestion due to poor diet, overeating, fear, feelings or emotions that cannot 'be stomached'.

Chinese Herb Therapy: Traditional Chinese Medicine encourages awareness of diet and how food is eaten. Chinese herbs can accompany relaxation techniques to promote the downward movement and flow of digestive qi.

Acupuncture has proven effective in the treatment of some cases of indigestion. Interested patients should discuss the following acupoints with a licensed practitioner:
  • Baihui (Du 20.)
  • Local points: Liangmen (St. 21), Tianshu (St.25), Pishu (U.B.20), Weishu (U.B. 21)
  • Influential point: Zhongwan (Ren 12)
  • Distal points: Zusanli (St 36), Neiguan (P.6), Sanyinjiao (Sp.6)

Ayurvedic Treatments
Hingvashtaka churna is the medicine most useful for indigestion. Its main ingredients are Hing, Shunthi, Pippali, Marichi ajamoda and Jiraka. The remedy acts best when taken with buttermilk after food or with the first food of the day. Another alternative is to mix one teaspoon of Hingvashtaka churna with one teaspoon of ghee twice a day.

Other useful medicines include:
  • Indukantha kashayam
  • Guduchyadi kashayam.
  • Mahashanka vati, two tablets, three times a day with warm water.
  • Narayana churnam
  • Jeerakarishtam
  • Draksharishta
  • Lasunadi vati

As a digestive and to help improve appetite, try a powder made from the mixture of ginger powder, long pepper, black pepper, seeds of Ajowan, Saindhav salt, cumin seeds, black cumin seeds and Asafetida. Take 500 mg, 3 times a day.

Other remedies:
  • Decoction of clove buds and Chebulic myrobalan, 15 ml� twice a day.
  • Decoction of coriander seeds and ginger powder for abdominal pain, 30 ml twice a day.
  • A mix of ginger, black pepper and long pepper, black cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon bark and leaves, Garcinia pedunculate, pomegranate seeds, and all five types of salts.

Homeopathic Treatments
Specific remedies to be given every 10-15 minutes for up to 7 doses during acute attacks:
  • Carbo veg: For stomach disturbances even after eating plain food, belching gives some relief, digestion seems slower than usual, faint burning sensation in stomach.
  • Nux: Heartburn � hour after eating, painful retching, an attack brought on by too much food, alcohol, or work.
  • Pulsatilla: For attacks brought on by rich food, beginning 2 hours after eating, attacks worse in evening, feeling of pressure under breastbone, pounding heart, bad taste in mouth, headache around eyes, nausea with or without vomiting.
  • Arsenicum: Heartburn after food, worse in small hours of morning, stomach feels as if there is a stone weight in it, person retches and vomits until exhausted, then feels chilly and restless, but better with warmth and small sips of water, or if peptic ulcer is suspected.
  • Bryonia: Heaviness in the stomach that comes on soon after food, with heartburn, nausea, and faintness, bitter fluid in the mouth.
  • Anacardium: Indigestion comes on 1 to 2 hours after meals, though can be delayed by eating again, foul taste in mouth, stomach feels blocked up, cold drinks make things worse, urge to pass stool ineffectual, peptic ulcer suspected.
  • Argentum nit: A lot of belching, especially after sweet foods, alternating constipation and diarrhea, fluttery feeling in stomach, or if peptic ulcer is suspected.
  • Sepia: Sudden empty feeling in stomach, especially in evening, relieved by eating, craving for pickle and acid foods, tongue white-coated, sour taste in mouth, a lot of flatulence, tenderness over liver, person nauseated by smell of food, feels better lying on right side.
  • Lycopodium: Heartburn, stomach bloated and full of gas, person quickly feels full even when hungry, mainly because food causes almost instant indigestion; discomfort not relieved by belching; constipation; or if peptic ulcer is suspected.

Naturopathic Treatments
The best diet for indigestion is a simple vegetarian, high-fiber, and full of complex carbohydrates.

Be sure to avoid:
  • Foods known to exacerbate indigestion like tea, chocolate, coffee, animal foods, spicy, oily food, fried food, pickles, sauces etc.
  • Chewing gum as this causes swallowing air and hence abdominal bloating.
  • Smoking and alcohol.

Drink only one glass of water with meals.

Try to eat on a regular schedule.

The following treatments may help:

  • Alternating hot and cold abdominal packs,
  • Alternating hot and cold sitz baths
  • Enemas
  • Colon irrigation

Yoga reduces indigestion by normalizing the intestinal motility.

  • Ten rounds of Surya Namaskaram
  • Sitting poses like Padmasana, Vajrasana, Konasana, Siddhasana
  • Forward bending yoga asanas like Shashankasana, Paschimottanasana, Baddha Konasana
  • Backward bend poses like Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Matsyasana, Setubandha sarvangasana, Vipareeta Dandasana, Ustrasana
  • Side bending asanas like Ardha Matsyasana and Trikonasana, help in the release of gas.
  • Pranayamas such as Nadi shuddhi, Ujjayi, Sheetkari, Sheetali, and Bhramari
  • Meditation and Yoga nidra.

Nutritional Therapy

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Having an empty stomach can sometimes produce signs and symptoms similar to those of non-ulcer indigestion. Nothing but acid in your stomach may make you feel sick. Try eating a small snack, such as a cracker or a piece of fruit.
  • Avoid skipping meals.
  • Avoid large meals and overeating.
  • Avoid trigger foods. Some foods may trigger the signs and symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia, such as fatty and spicy foods, carbonated beverages, caffeine and alcohol. Avoid consuming more than three caffeinated beverages a day.
  • Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Allow time for leisurely meals. Limit beverages during meals. If you feel full early on during the meal, restrict your intake of beverages.
  • Take steps to avoid excessive air intake. To reduce excess gas and belching, refrain from activities that result in excessive air swallowing, such as smoking, eating rapidly, chewing gum and drinking carbonated beverages.
  • Don't lie down right after a meal. Wait to lie down until at least two hours after eating.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.

Physical Therapy and Exercise
Massage to abdomen and spine reduces indigestion and gaseousness. Use peppermint oil for massage. Abdominal and back exercises reduce indigestion.

Regular exercise, especially walking or jogging accompanied by waist rotation type exercises are good for relieving gas.
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