Swelling. Bloating. Abdominal pain. A feeling of fullness. Nausea. Belching.
The official term for those symptoms is dyspepsia. But it’s otherwise known as good old-fashioned indigestion—the kind that can make your jeans feel too tight, hurt your belly and even make you feel sick.
It’s not heartburn, which affects the lining of the esophagus. Indigestion does its work on the lining of the stomach in the upper abdomen and can be caused by both lifestyle choices and medication.
But what you probably want to know is how to get rid of it. If you’re feeling the unpleasant symptoms of indigestion, here are 10 tips for indigestion relief.
- Be aware of common culprits. Everybody has different triggers, but common troublemakers include spicy, greasy and fatty foods, as well as foods with a lot of acid like citrus and tomatoes.
- Keep a food diary. It can take up to 72 hours for food to cause a flare-up. Writing down what you ate (and the time you ate it) can help you deduce what it is that’s bothering your belly.
- Eat slowly. It’s not just what you eat that can cause indigestion; it’s also how quickly you eat. Sit down when you eat your meals. Savor your meal and take your time.
- Eat less. The simple act of over-eating can also trigger indigestion. Eating several small meals throughout the day can help. It’s also a good idea not to eat right before bed.
- Beware of air. One of the stranger things that can cause indigestion is swallowing too much air while eating. You can help avoid that by chewing with your mouth closed and talking less while eating.
- Avoid drinking with your meals. Try to limit your beverages to 20 minutes before or after a meal. If you must drink with your meal, try sips of room-temperature water. Carbonated beverages can be especially problematic. So can alcohol and caffeine.
- Stop smoking. You probably saw this one coming, as it’s on pretty much every list of what not to do if you want to be healthy and feel good. In this case, smoking adds to the problem of indigestion by irritating the stomach lining.
- Exercise (but at the right time). What you don’t want to do is launch a big workout right after a meal.
- Embrace tea time. Turns out, your grandmother knew what she was doing. If indigestion flares, try a cup of peppermint, ginger or chamomile tea to neutralize stomach acid.
- Listen to your body. You can follow all the rules in the world (and they are a good guide to get you started) but, at the end of the day, everybody is different. Pay attention to how specific meals make you feel—and take it from there.
If these home remedies for indigestion don’t help get your symptoms under control, it’s possible you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, often called GERD. Learn more about this condition so you can have an educated discussion with your doctor. Download our free informational guide, Your Guide to GERD today.