The Symptoms of Dyspepsia - Upset Stomach or Indigestion

Uneasiness at the stomach; flatulence; acidity; heart-burn; water-brash; pyrosis; nausea; vomiting; regurgitation; gripes; colic; weight; pain at stomach; tenderness at pit of stomach; biliousness; coated and fissured tongue; sore mouth; throat ail; sour or other bad taste in the mouth; constipation; diarrhea; unnatural appearance of the feces; sediment in the urine; dry skin; night sweats; nervousness; headache; sick-headache; cold hands and feet; congestion of the head; pain between shoulders or under shoulder-blade; vertigo; disturbances of vision and hearing; drowsiness; sleeplessness; confusion of mind, and even more serious mental disorders.

Dyspepsia may be classified, first, as acute and chronic. One of the most important differences between an acute and a chronic case of indigestion is that acute dyspepsia will cure itself in time, usually in a very short period, by the unaided efforts of nature; while a chronic case of the disease continues from bad to worse, or without material improvement, indefinitely.

Chronic dyspepsia is generally much less active in its symptoms than is the acute form of the disease. It usually begins slowly, insidiously making its advances, and thus for a long time eluding observation, in many instances until well established. This is one reason why the diagnosis of the disease is often very obscure. Very frequently it is overlooked for years, being mistaken for some other disease through the special prominence of certain symptoms, which, as before intimated, may simulate almost any disease.

Basing the classification of chronic dyspepsia upon the most prominent symptoms observed in different cases of the disease, by far the greater part of the number may be included in the following five classes; viz., simple or slow, acid, foul or bilious, painful, and nervous dyspepsia. Each of the classes named has its characteristic symptoms, though any given case may combine the symptoms of one or of each of the different classes.

The Causes of Dyspepsia - Upset Stomach or Indigestion

Before mentioning in detail the various causes which may be considered most active in occasioning disorders of digestion, it is important that we call attention to a general principle which applies to all cases of functional disease of the organs of digestion. In the study of digestion in health it is found that the two essential things are secretion and muscular action. So we find, correspondingly, that the two primary morbid conditions are defective secretion and disordered muscular action. The defect in the digestive secretions may be either in quantity or in quality, or may be both combined. The disordered muscular action may be either increased or diminished muscular activity; in the great majority of cases it is the latter condition. The special causes which will be mentioned are more or less active as agents productive of dyspepsia, just in proportion as they disturb these two essential functions of digestion, secretion and muscular action.

Errors in Diet. - There is no room to doubt that errors in diet, in manner of eating, in quantity or quality of food, are by far the most active causes of indigestion in this country, as well as in most others. Among the most prominent of dietetic errors may be mentioned the following: Hasty eating; drinking at meals; hot drinks; cold drinks, ices, etc.; use of cold food; eating too frequently; eating between meals; irregularity of meals; eating when weary; violent exercise just after eating; sleeping soon after eating; late suppers; hot or cold bathing shortly before or soon after eating; overeating; eating too little; unseasonable diet, as the use of highly carbonaceous and heating foods in summer, as fat meats, lard, butter, and excessive quantities of fats at any time; badly cooked food; fried food; pastry; poor bread; fat meats; "rich food"; too free use of sugar and sweet foods; soft food; too many varieties at a meal; condiments, as mustard, pepper, pepper-sauce, cinnamon, vinegar, excess of salt, etc.; pickles; preserves; tea and coffee; alcohol; tobacco; hard water; alkalies, as in the use of baking powders, soda, saleratus, ammonia, etc.; decayed food; adulterations exposing the stomach, as well as the whole system, to the deleterious action of lead, zinc, arsenic, copper, sulphuric acid, etc., etc.; use of indigestible substances, as of clay, chalk, slate, and sundry other substances equally innutritious and undigestible in character.

Among causes not related to food or diet may be mentioned, Pressure upon the stomach; mental worry, care, and anxiety; mental im pressions; drugs; sexual abuses; disease of other organs; worms; inherited dyspepsia; electrical and other meteorological changes, and numerous other influences which are as yet but imperfectly understood