An irritable stomach or functional dyspepsia is a disease of the stomach. This leads to a functional disorder, whereby external and internal stimuli can cause pathological changes within the stomach. Typical signs of an irritable stomach are a feeling of fullness, stomach pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and occasionally vomiting. The exact causes have not yet been fully clarified. However, one assumes mainly psychological causes and stress.
What is an irritable stomach?
An irritable stomach, also called functional dyspepsia in medical terms, occurs when human digestion is disturbed. It is a medical condition characterized by chronic or recurring pain in the upper abdomen. For meanings of pericarditis, please visit bestitude.com.
A significant feeling of fullness, even with little food intake, indicates an irritable stomach if it occurs repeatedly. Accompanying symptoms can be flatulence, frequent belching, nausea or heartburn.
Irritable stomach is a common phenomenon and often results from gastroesophageal reflux disease or gastritis. Wrong eating habits also play a big role. Fatty, spicy foods or foods containing artificial additives, as well as alcohol and caffeine, are common triggers. Occasionally, medications can also cause an irritable stomach, such as calcium channel blockers, which are used for angina or high blood pressure.
Theophylline for lung diseases, bisphosphonates for osteoporosis or corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs used as pain relievers can also trigger an irritable stomach with long-term use, which requires treatment. Sometimes the reason for an irritable stomach is also psychological, for example if the person concerned is under constant stress or is overwhelmed by a crisis.
In some cases, an irritable stomach can also be the first sign of a stomach ulcer and, in rare cases, of stomach cancer. This means that the first or unexpected occurrence of an irritable stomach should definitely be an alarm signal and cause for further investigation.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In the case of an irritable stomach, numerous symptoms can occur that cause a noticeable reduction in the quality of life. The complaints are not limited to the area of the stomach, abdomen and digestion. As a symptom of an irritable stomach (functional dyspepsia), a feeling of pressure in the upper abdomen can occur, which intensifies. This can be followed by pain that radiates in the form of a belt.
Signs of an irritable stomach can also be heartburn and acid regurgitation. Bloating and irregular bowel movements can also occur. Nausea and vomiting can also indicate an irritable stomach . Those affected report a loss of appetite and an aversion to certain foods. One of the typical perceptions of an irritable stomach is the feeling that there is a stone in the stomach.
Further signs of an irritable stomach can be a premature feeling of satiety and a feeling of fullness. The symptoms can occur individually or in combination. They can set in dependently or independently of diet. Signs of a nervous stomach can also be headaches, nervousness and inner restlessness, as well as sleep disorders, dizziness or poor concentration.
The disease can also be accompanied by vegetative disorders such as tachycardia, palpitations and circulatory problems as well as excessive sweating. The symptoms caused by an irritable stomach also include back pain and joint problems. Difficulty swallowing and weight loss are also untypical symptoms of an irritable stomach. Painful symptoms caused by an irritable stomach are aggravated by exertion.
Course of the disease
Characteristic of the course of the disease in irritable stomach is an increase in pain on exertion, excessive sweating and increasing sensitivity when touching or palpating the abdominal wall.
Occasionally there is severe difficulty in swallowing, weight loss or gastrointestinal bleeding. In such cases, if you have an irritable stomach, you should consult a doctor immediately. The prognosis for irritable stomach is generally good. In any case, there is no increased risk of developing an ulcer or a malignant stomach disease in people with an irritable stomach.
If an irritable stomach remains untreated over a longer period of time, chronic stomach pain and other gastrointestinal complaints can set in. Heartburn or diarrhea, for example, often occur, both of which are associated with risks and possible secondary diseases (e.g. intestinal infections and esophageal cancer). Infection with Helicobacter pylori can later develop gastric mucosal inflammation.
Gastritis is associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer. Occasionally, an irritable stomach can also cause difficulty swallowing or gastrointestinal bleeding. The latter can lead to anemia and subsequently to life-threatening complications. The weight loss that often accompanies it can lead to deficiency symptoms and dehydration.
A chronic irritable stomach has psychological consequences and may cause depression or anxiety disorders. Complications can also arise during treatment. Drugs such as omeprazole or pantoprazole often cause gastrointestinal complaints, muscle and joint pain and a number of other side effects and interactions.
Excessive intake of these preparations can also lead to addictive behavior. In the course of a surgical intervention, which is necessary for the resulting cancer, nerve injuries, bleeding, secondary bleeding, wound healing disorders, infections and other problems can occur.
When should you go to the doctor?
Persistent or recurring stomach problems should be examined and evaluated by a doctor. If pain, nausea, or vomiting occurs, this is considered a concern and should be seen by a doctor. Loss of appetite, refusal to eat and weight loss are signs of a health problem. A doctor is needed as soon as the symptoms persist for several days or increase in intensity and extent.
Bloating, a feeling of illness and inner weakness are other symptoms that require a doctor’s visit. If the person concerned suffers from insomnia, dizziness and a decrease in his physical and mental performance, an investigation into the causes is required. Cardiovascular problems, heartburn or a feeling of pressure in the stomach area must be examined.
If you can no longer take care of everyday obligations or if you experience a restriction in your usual lifestyle, there is a need for action. Excessive sweating, increased body temperature, diarrhea, inner restlessness and problems with swallowing must be clarified by a doctor.
Cramps, irregularities in the joints and concentration problems lead to a reduction in well-being. Medical care is needed to prevent further deterioration. If the symptoms are due to an unhealthy meal, in many cases no doctor is needed. Once the food has been digested, spontaneous healing occurs.
Treatment & Therapy
Patients who are younger than 55 years old can usually be treated with an irritable stomach without further examination. At most, an infection with Helicobacter pylori should be ruled out. Gastrointestinal endoscopy of the upper abdominal area is recommended for people older than 55 years of age to rule out a gastric or duodenal ulcer or other rare malignant diseases, as well as for drug-induced irritable stomachs.
The treatment of an irritable stomach depends on the exact manifestation of the symptoms, i.e. whether they are functional or subjectively perceived as unpleasant. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole or pantoprazole usually provide quick relief for heartburn, a major symptom of an irritable stomach. H2 antagonists such as cimetidine or simple chewable tablets with the active ingredient simethicone help with flatulence and a feeling of fullness.
With over-the-counter preparations that contain ranitidine, unpleasant symptoms such as belching, reflux or gastric hyperacidity can be counteracted. Sometimes proven herbs and home remedies such as peppermint, caraway and anise are enough to effectively counteract an irritable stomach.
An irritable stomach can be prevented by changing your diet accordingly. That means avoiding hot spices, coffee or other “sour” foods. Susceptible people should also remove high-fat and flatulent foods and alcohol from the menu. Sustainable stress reduction and relaxation techniques can support the treatment of irritable stomach.
Note: In the case of irritable stomach, it is important to distinguish whether it is a matter of harmless symptoms that can be dealt with relatively easily with or without medical advice, or whether there is a serious illness behind it, such as gastritis. An acute or chronic inflammation of the stomach or digestive tract that requires drug treatment with antibiotics.
After an acute episode of the disease, a bland diet is indicated after a day or two of fasting. Sufficient fluid intake should always be ensured. Still mineral water and unsweetened tea are ideal for this. When eating, it is advisable to start with small amounts of unseasoned and unsweetened foods.
Rusks, crispbread, bananas, boiled potatoes or rice hardly put a strain on the stomach. With fruit with a lot of fruit acid and flatulent vegetables, restraint is still required. In the further course and if the food consumed has been well tolerated, chicken and bread can expand the menu. After a few days you can eat normally again.
Mental stress, stress and hustle and bustle promote an aggravation of the irritable stomach and should be avoided. Stimulants such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee and sweets are contraindicated. This also applies to very high-fat and difficult-to-digest foods. A light diet rich in vitamins, with vegetables and fish, has the best effect on functional dyspepsia.
Over-acidification should be avoided. Regulated meal times with small portions, enough sleep and exercise can ensure a less irritated stomach. If food intolerances are the trigger, these foods should generally be avoided.
You can do that yourself
Those affected by an irritable stomach are restricted in everyday life. When it comes to nutrition, there are a few things to keep in mind. Those affected can help themselves with the help of “self-help tips” and alleviate the symptoms and discomfort caused by the irritable stomach.
For one thing, no spicy or spicy foods should be consumed. These irritate the stomach even more and even make the symptoms worse. Furthermore, sufferers of an irritable stomach should avoid carbonated drinks. These stimulate acid production in the stomach and thus lead to irritation of the mucous membranes in the stomach. A varied and healthy diet should be aimed for.
Furthermore, affected persons are advised to exercise. Small walks in the fresh air or yoga help to reduce stress. Many sufferers do not know that stress can also contribute to an aggravation of the irritable stomach.
Natural remedies can also help with treatment. Herbal teas calm the stomach and its mucous membranes, so that cramps or heartburn can be relieved. Even lightly dosed medicines can be helpful. If the symptoms worsen, a trip to the doctor is essential.