Functional Dyspepsia

What is functional dyspepsia?

Functional dyspepsia is a condition of persistent and recurring symptoms of indigestion. Typical symptoms include stomach discomfort or pain, feeling full quickly or feeling very full after eating and other indigestion symptoms. It can be triggered by eating heavy meals, eating quickly, drinking alcohol, and stress. Although it can be very troublesome, it does not have any serious consequences. To diagnose functional dyspepsia, a doctor should exclude all other conditions which can cause these symptoms. Because the cause of the symptoms is not clear, it can be difficult to treat this condition, but many people learn to manage their symptoms.

Risks

Functional dyspepsia is a common condition. It tends to affect women slightly more often than men, and tends to occur most frequently in middle-aged people. The causes of functional dyspepsia are not well understood. People who have an infection with Helicobacter pylori (an ulcer causing stomach bacteria) might be more likely to have functional dyspepsia, even if there are no other signs of infection.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms include stomach discomfort, pain or burning and feeling full quickly or feeling very full after eating. Other symptoms include nausea, burping and bloating.

Diagnosis

To diagnose functional dyspepsia, a doctor should exclude other possible causes for symptoms. This includes assessing the symptoms and clinical examination, as well as a review of any medications that the affected person is taking. This can include blood tests (to test for anemia or inflammation), a breath test for Helicobacter pylori (an ulcer-causing stomach bacteria) and endoscopy (a long camera through the mouth to the stomach). During the endoscopy, the doctors may take a sample of the stomach lining to test for other conditions. The results of all these test should be normal in someone with functional dyspepsia.

Treatment

Treating any Helicobacter pylori bacteria (stomach ulcer causing bacteria) infection is often useful in reducing symptoms, even if there is no sign that these bacteria are causing irritation or ulcers in the stomach. This infection is treated with antibiotics. Other treatment methods involve managing the symptoms of this condition. This include medications which reduce acid in the stomach and changes to the diet to avoid foods which make symptoms worse. Some people find that a low dose of an antidepressant medication called a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) improves their pain, even if they aren't depressed. Some people also use peppermint or chamomile to settle the stomach, though these are not well studied.

Other names for functional dyspepsia

  • Idiopathic dyspepsia
  • Indigestion
  • Non-ulcer dyspepsia