Dyspepsia is derived from the Greek words dys and pepsi And literally means “difficult digestion.” Dyspepsia is often broadly defined as pain or discomfort centered in the upper abdomen and may include multiple symptoms such as epigastric pain( Pain in the upper abdomen), postprandial fullness(Fullness and discomfort of Upper abdomen after food intake), early satiety(Fullness of the abdomen after eating small quantity food), anorexia, belching(burping), nausea and vomiting, upper abdominal bloating, and even heartburn and regurgitation.
In patients with dyspepsia, additional clinical investigations may identify an underlying organic disease that is the likely cause of the symptoms. In these persons, dyspeptic symptoms are attributable to an organic cause of dyspepsia.
In most people with dyspeptic symptoms, no organic abnormality is identified by a routine clinical evaluation, and patients who have undergone a Diagnostic investigation (including endoscopy) and have not been found to have an obvious specific cause of their symptoms are said to have functional dyspepsia.
Studies indicate that approximately 20% of patients with dyspeptic symptoms have erosive esophagitis, 20% have endoscopy-negative GERD, and 10% have Peptic Ulcer (Gastric or Duodenal Ulcer), 2% have Barrett’s esophagus, and less than 1% have malignancy as Endoscopic findings.
Pancreatic and Biliary tract disorders are also important causes of Dyspesia. Other important causes of dyspepsia include intolerance to drugs and foods. Contrary to popular beliefs, ingestion of specific foods such as spices, coffee, or alcohol, or of excessive amounts of food, has never been established as causing dyspepsia.
Dyspepsia is a common side effect of many drugs, including iron, antibiotics, narcotics, digitalis, estrogens and oral contraceptives, theophylline, levodopa. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a potential to induce ulceration in the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic use of aspirin and other NSAIDs may provoke dyspeptic symptoms In up to 20% of persons.
Investigating every case of dyspepsia to exclude organic causes and systemic causes plays an important role in identifying peptic ulcer disease and GI Malignancies at an early stage.