More commonly referred to as indigestion, dyspepsia refers to upper abdominal discomfort, often provoked by meals or certain foods and sometimes accompanied by other symptoms including a sense of fullness after eating small amounts, bloating, nausea or wind. Dyspepsia is very common problem and can be caused by quite a number of different conditions. The commonest include impaired functioning of the nervous system of the stomach (functional dyspepsia), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD or "acid reflux"), ulcers, and gall bladder problems.
Dyspepsia can also be caused by taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or diclofenac, or even aspirin. In many people a bacterial infection of the stomach, known as Helicobacter pylori (HP), can be a contributor. Many people carry this infection with no symptoms but in others it can lead to dyspepsia, inflammation of the stomach, and ulcers. People with dyspepsia should be tested for the presence of HP with a stool test or breath test as clearing the infection with a course of appropriate antibiotics may cure the symptoms.
People with persistent symptoms, those with new onset dyspepsia over the age of 45 and those with 'alarm' symptoms (persistent vomiting, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, bleeding or anaemia) should see a doctor urgently and may need a specialist opinion and investigation, often with gastroscopy.