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Discomfort in the upper abdomen or chest caused by a temporary inability to digest food properly; also known as dyspepsia or upset stomach.
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: Gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms and indications: Waxing and waning pain in the upper abdomen for at least four weeks, nausea, belching, flatulence, white furry tongue, and vomiting.
Causes and risk factors: Might be caused by a disease or an ulcer in the digestive tract, but for most people, it results from eating too much, eating too quickly, eating high-fat foods, or eating during stressful situations. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, using medications that irritate the stomach lining, being tired, and having ongoing stress can also cause indigestion or make it worse.
Prevention: Avoiding the foods and situations that seem to cause indigestion is the most successful way to prevent it. Smokers can prevent indigestion by quitting smoking, or at least not smoking right before eating. Exercising with a full stomach may cause indigestion, so scheduling exercise before a meal or at least an hour afterward might help. Eating regular well-spaced meals, eating slowly, chewing food thoroughly and not drinking water during meals also prevent indigestion. Stop eating 2 to 3 hours before you lie down or go to bed. Steer clear of fizzy drinks.