Nonulcer Dyspepsia

Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen that is not associated with a structural abnormality

  • More common in adults
  • More common in males
  • Stress, being overweight, smoking, and certain dietary habits are risk factors
  • Genetics is not a significant factor

Nonulcer dyspepsia describes recurrent and persistent indigestion that occurs without an identifiable cause or abnormality of the digestive tract. The condition is more common in adults, especially men, and may be made worse by stress, being overweight, smoking, and a diet high in rich, fatty foods.

The symptoms may include pain in the upper abdomen, often made worse by eating, and nausea, particularly in the morning. People who have nonulcer dyspepsia often experience these symptoms several times a week for months. If you have such persistent symptoms, you should consult your doctor because they could be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder, such as a peptic ulcer or stomach cancer.

What might be done?

Your doctor will probably arrange for tests to exclude other disorders. For example, a faecal test may be carried out to check for infection of the stomach lining with the bacterium H. pylori (see Helicobacter pylori infection). In addition, upper digestive tract endoscopy may be carried out to look for abnormalities in the digestive tract, and an ultrasound scan may be done to check for gallstones. If no underlying disorder is found, you will be diagnosed with nonulcer dyspepsia.

There are measures that you can try to reduce the frequency or severity of symptoms (see Preventing indigestion). If these measures do not resolve the problem, your doctor may prescribe a drug to neutralize or reduce stomach acid production (see Antacids, and Ulcer-healing drugs). You may also be given drugs that help the stomach to empty more effectively, such as metoclopramide (see Antispasmodic drugs and motility stimulants).

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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