You may experience indigestion from certain types of medications. Some medicines, such as nitrates (which are taken to widen blood vessels) relax the lower oesophageal sphincter (the ring of muscle in between the oesophagus and stomach), which allows acid to leak back up into the oesophagus and can cause irritation and inflammation.
Indigestion can be related to lifestyle and diet but may also be due other underlying digestive conditions. Some common causes are:
- Increased sensitivity of the stomach
- Poor relaxation of the stomach after eating
- Increased air swallowing
- Slow emptying of food from the stomach
- Rapid emptying of food from the stomach (dumping)
- Consumption of fatty, greasy, spicy foods
- Consumption of alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks
- Emotional trauma and stress
- Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
- Hiatus Hernia
- Bacterial overgrowth or infection
- Certain medications irritating the stomach lining
If you suffer from obesity, you are more prone to experience indigestion, due to the increased pressure inside your abdomen (tummy). This increase in pressure can then force open the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) after a large meal, causing acid reflux.
A Hiatus Hernia is when part of your stomach pushes up above your diaphragm (the sheet of muscle under the lungs), which can prevent your valve which keeps acid in your stomach from closing adequately which can lead to irritation and inflammation in the gullet.
An infection can cause reoccurring bouts of indigestion if Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria are present in the stomach. H pylori infections are common but do not usually cause any symptoms, some may be unaware that the bacteria is present. However, in some cases, an H pylori infection can damage the stomach lining and increase the amount of acid in the stomach. It is also possible for the duodenum (top of the small intestine) to be irritated by excessive stomach acid if H pylori is present.
Peptic ulcers can form when stomach acid damages the lining of the stomach (gastric ulcer) or duodenum (duodenal ulcer) which is an open sore that develops on the inside of the lining. They can also occur if you have been taking certain medicines such a NSAID’s (Ibuprofen, for example). Bacteria in the upper gut can also sometimes ferment food and cause gas and bloating which also can cause pain and discomfort (see hydrogen breath test).