What is non-ulcer dyspepsia?
Non-ulcer dyspepsia, or non-ulcer stomach pain, is a term used to describe signs and symptoms of indigestion that have no obvious cause. Non-ulcer stomach pain is common and can be long lasting.
Non-ulcer stomach pain can cause signs and symptoms that resemble those of an ulcer, such as pain or discomfort in your upper abdomen, often accompanied by bloating, belching and nausea.
How common is non-ulcer dyspepsia?
Non-ulcer dyspepsia can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia?
The common symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia are:
- A burning sensation or discomfort in your upper abdomen or lower chest, sometimes relieved by food or antacids
- An early feeling of fullness when eating
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You should contact your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:
- Bloody vomit
- Dark, tarry stools
- Shortness of breath
- Pain that radiates to your jaw, neck or arm
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes non-ulcer dyspepsia?
Many times it’s not clear what causes non-ulcer stomach pain. Doctors consider it a functional disorder, which means it’s not necessarily caused by a specific disease.
What increases my risk for non-ulcer dyspepsia?
There are many risk factors for non-ulcer dyspepsia, such as:
- Drinking too much alcohol or too many caffeinated beverages
- Taking certain medications, especially certain over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), which can cause stomach problems
Diagnosis & Treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is non-ulcer dyspepsia diagnosed?
Your doctor will likely review your signs and symptoms and perform a physical examination. A number of diagnostic tests may help your doctor determine the cause of your discomfort. These may include:
- Blood tests. Blood tests may help rule out other diseases that can cause signs and symptoms similar to those of non-ulcer stomach pain.
- Tests for a bacterium. Your doctor may recommend a test to look for a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) that can cause stomach problems. H. pylori testing may use your blood, stool or breath.
- Using a scope to examine your digestive system. A thin, flexible, lighted instrument (endoscope) is passed down your throat so that your doctor can view your esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum).
How is non-ulcer dyspepsia treated?
Non-ulcer stomach pain that is long lasting and isn’t controlled by lifestyle changes may require treatment. What treatment you receive depends on your signs and symptoms. Treatment may combine medications with behavior therapy.
Medications that may help in managing the signs and symptoms of non-ulcer stomach pain include:
- Over-the-counter gas remedies. Drugs that contain the ingredient simethicone may provide some relief by reducing gas. Examples of gas-relieving remedies include Mylanta and Gas-X.
- Medications to reduce acid production. Called H-2-receptor blockers, these medications are available over-the-counter and include cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR) and ranitidine (Zantac 75). Stronger versions of these medications are available in prescription form.
- Medications that block acid ‘pumps.’ Proton pump inhibitors shut down the acid “pumps” within acid-secreting stomach cells. Proton pump inhibitors reduce acid by blocking the action of these tiny pumps. Over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors include lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR) and omeprazole (Prilosec OTC). Stronger proton pump inhibitors also are available by prescription.
- Medication to strengthen the esophageal sphincter. Prokinetic agents help your stomach empty more rapidly and may help tighten the valve between your stomach and esophagus, reducing the likelihood of upper abdominal discomfort. Doctors may prescribe the medication metoclopramide (Reglan), but this drug doesn’t work for everyone and may have significant side effects.
- Low-dose antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants and drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), taken in low doses, may help inhibit the activity of neurons that control intestinal pain.
- If tests indicate that a common ulcer-causing bacterium called H. pylori is present in your stomach, your doctor may recommend antibiotics.
A therapist can teach you relaxation techniques that may help you cope with your signs and symptoms. You may also learn ways to reduce stress in your life to prevent non-ulcer stomach pain from recurring.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage non-ulcer dyspepsia?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with non-ulcer dyspepsia:
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help you control your non-ulcer stomach pain:
- Eat smaller, more-frequent meals. Having an empty stomach can sometimes produce non-ulcer stomach pain. Nothing but acid in your stomach may make you feel sick. Try eating a small snack, such as a cracker or a piece of fruit.
- Avoid skipping meals. Avoid large meals and overeating. Eat smaller meals more frequently.
- Avoid trigger foods. Some foods may trigger non-ulcer stomach pain, such as fatty and spicy foods, carbonated beverages, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Allow time for leisurely meals.
Stress-reduction techniques may help you control your signs and symptoms. To reduce stress, spend time doing things that you enjoy, such as hobbies or sports. Relaxation therapy or yoga also may help.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Non-ulcer (Functional) Dyspepsia. http://patient.info/health/non-ulcer-functional-dyspepsia. Accessed Mar 17, 2017.
Nonulcer stomach pain. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stomach-pain/basics/definition/con-20027306. Accessed Mar 17, 2017.
Review Date: March 19, 2017 | Last Modified: April 23, 2017