During Christmas party season you’re likely to eat more than usual, and one of the dangers of this is suffering from indigestion. At AXA Health Keeper we’ve already written lots about digestion problems, for example, in summer. Do you know the symptoms of indigestion? Pay attention.

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What is indigestion?

Indigestion or dyspepsia results from the excessive consumption of food. Besides eating more than your stomach is able to easily digest, other causes of indigestion can be:

  • Eating too quickly.

  • Eating very fatty foods.

  • Eating while moving.

  • Eating and smoking at the same time.

  • Eating alongside excessive consumption of alcohol or stimulants such as caffeine or spices.

  • Eating when anxious or stressed.

There are other types of indigestion that have nothing to do with over-eating. In other words, digestion is not carried out correctly due to causes other than what or how much you consume. For example, prior issues with the digestive tract or treatment with certain medicines such as antibiotics and analgesics can cause upset.

Symptoms of indigestion.

These are quite varied, but easy to spot.

  • Nausea.

  • Vomiting.

  • Diarrhoea.

  • Stomach ache.

  • Disgust at the thought of food.

  • Acidity.

  • Flatulence.

  • Dry and whitish tongue.

  • Fatigue.

  • Headache.

  • General discomfort.

  • Sweating.

In severe cases, these symptoms may be accompanied by a pain in the right epigastrium (at the mouth of the stomach) known as biliary dyspepsia. If there are no further complications (which would require medical attention), this would disappear within 2-4 hours.

How to prevent indigestion

Although it may be stating the obvious, it’s worthwhile remembering what to do to avoid indigestion, particularly at this time of year.

  • Eat less, but more often.

  • Drink more water.

  • Chew slowly.

  • Start the meal with a soup or a salad.

  • Avoid fried foods, very fatty sauces and rich desserts.

  • Don’t go to bed just after eating.

  • Drink a digestive tea such as chamomile, or green tea, lemon balm, aniseed or dandelion herbal teas.

  • Try to stay “slightly unsatisfied”. It’s better to say “I’d have loved another slice of that roast” than to realise that last serving was overkill.

  • Take regular exercise. But not straight after eating, of course. Wait at least two hours.

And if I’ve already overindulged… What should you do?

Home remedies for indigestion.

You won’t always have the willpower, and on more than one occasion you’ll suffer, so keep these tips in mind.

  • Fast. This means that you don’t eat anything for a few hours. If your stomach has not finished its digestion, give it a rest.

  • Drink only fluids. Ideally water or lemon juice. Drink slowly, sipping the liquid to test your tolerance.

  • If you have heartburn, an antacid may help you feel better.

  • Chamomile or aniseed teas may help settle your stomach, or help you to vomit. This may not nice to do but sometimes it makes you feel better in the end.

  • Rest. Do not exercise until you feel better.

  • When you do feel better and start eating again, do so bit by bit, with clean, soft foods that are easy to digest (yoghurt, mash, soups, fruit, grilled chicken or turkey, boiled eggs or omelette…). Once you find that you can keep them down, you can start to eat more normally again.

If you don’t recover within a day or two, see your doctor. And be particularly careful in the case of children or the elderly. They are more vulnerable and can suffer dehydration from vomiting or severe diarrhoea.

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