Indigestion Treatment London

Symptoms: Gastro-oesophageal reflux and peptic ulceration

Indigestion, particularly, heartburn, is one of the commonest indigestion symptoms we suffer from and is said to occur in 1 in 3 of us each month. Indigestion is a word used to cover any abnormal or ill feeling from the upper part of the intestine or from other parts of the body in this area such as the gall bladder and the pancreas. Hence, discomfort in the upper abdomen can be due to a wide range of conditions. A “stomach ulcer” is the diagnosis considered likely by many patients but, in fact, this is rarely the case – acid reflux is by far the commonest problem.

Patterns of indigestion

Indigestion (called “dyspepsia” by doctors) refers mainly to symptoms occurring soon after eating, usually a sense of discomfort, bloating or nausea. Heartburn is the commonest symptom and is very suggestive of “reflux” – caused by acid (a normal part of the stomach content) refluxing upwards into the oesophagus (food-pipe or gullet). However, reflux can also give rise to a whole range of symptoms including pain at the top of the abdomen (epigastric pain), nausea, bloating, chest pain and difficulty swallowing (see below). When acid passes high up into the throat, sore throats, dental erosion, coughing, throat clearing and asthma can also be symptoms.

Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) – a sense of something sticking at some point along the food pipe – is common in reflux. However, this symptom is taken quite seriously by doctors as it can indicate the presence of more serious conditions such as a cancer or a fibrous narrowing (stricture) of the oesophagus. Dysphagia should therefore always be investigated. Other so called “alarm” symptoms when indigestion occurs are associated loss of weight and signs of bleeding. From the upper part of the intestine (the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) bleeding occurs either as the vomiting up of blood (haematemesis) or passage of dark blood in the stool (usually causing balck tarry stools).

Apart from classical reflux with heartburn, there are really no other typical patterns of indigestion to indicate a specific diagnosis. For example, problems after eating fatty foods can indicate reflux, stomach ulceration, gall stones and pancreatic problems. It is said that the classic symptoms of a duodenal ulcer are waking up with pain at 2am with relief from an indigestion tablet or liquid. A stomach or “gastric” ulcer is more likely to give pain soon after eating whereas there is often relief from eating when a duodenal ulcer is present. Pancreatic pain is often a gnawing discomfort passing directly through to the back. Mostly, however, symptoms are a looser guide to the source of the problem and investigations or trials of treatment lead more accurately to the cause.


How do I get treatment?

To get further information or treatment, please contact one of our consultants at The London Bridge Digestion centre, on:

tel: +44 (0) 20 7403 3814