Dyspepsia – Sensitive Stomach


Dyspepsia is the collective name for various symptoms that you may have in the upper abdomen. For example, you may feel sore or have a burning sensation in the stomach. Dyspepsia may be due to a disease, but most often the doctor does not find any cause for dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is therefore often called a sensitive stomach.

There are many causes of stomach pain. The symptoms differ, depending on the cause. Read more about stomach pain in adults.

Symptoms of dyspepsia

The symptoms of dyspepsia may differ between individuals. They can also be different strong and hold for a long time.

It is common to have one or more of the following symptoms of dyspepsia:

  • You have pain or a burning sensation in the middle of the upper part of the stomach, the so-called stomach pit. It can also feel like a famine.
  • You get measured quickly when you eat.
  • You feel bloated or upset at the top of your stomach.
  • You’re feeling bad.

You can get more trouble while eating, but the trouble can also be alleviated by food and drink.

Heartburn and acid reflux are not symptoms of dyspepsia. but of gastric reflux. It is very common to have both gastric juice reflux and dyspepsia.

When and where should I seek care?

If you think you have dyspepsia and if any of the following is true of you, contact a health care provider:

  • You are over 50 years old and you get symptoms from your stomach that you have not had before.
  • You lose weight quickly or have less desire to eat.
  • You have a hard time swallowing.

Wait until it becomes every day if it’s a weekend. You can contact many receptions by logging in.

If it’s in a hurry

If any of the following is true of you, contact a health care center or an on-call reception immediately :

  • You suddenly get a lot of stomach aches.
  • You vomit and the stomach contents look like coffee grounds or contain blood.
  • You have black or bloody stools.

If closed, seek care at an emergency room.

What can I do for myself?

You can do some yourself to relieve dyspepsia. But what helps differs between people, so you get to try out what’s best for you.

Avoid certain foods and drinks

Many people find that they get better if they avoid eating or drinking the following:

  • fat food
  • salty food
  • smoked or fried food
  • hot spices
  • coffee
  • alcohol.

What gives you trouble and how you react can be different from what others get into. Try to notice if there is something special you are getting worse off, and then avoid eating or drinking it.

Eat a little and often

For many, it helps to eat smaller amounts of food but more often. Try to eat regularly, for example by planning snacks. Eat slowly in peace and chew well.

Try to stress less

Stress and worry allow you to have more symptoms. Therefore, it may be good to change your routines if you are stressed. Even small changes can make a big difference. Here you can read about what you can do to counteract stress.

Do not smoke

It’s good not to smoke. There is help to get if you smoke and want to quit. 

Do not use certain medicines

Some medications can cause you stomach aches, such as the following used for pain or fever:

  • Medicines containing the active substance acetylsalicylic acid.
  • Drugs called NSAIDs, such as diclofenac and ibuprofen.

Talk to your doctor or the pharmacy staff if you are using medicines and are concerned that they may cause dyspepsia.

Read more about what painkillers for temporary pain and fever you can use and which ones to avoid.

What is Dyspepsia?

Dyspepsia is a collective name for symptoms in the upper abdomen and most likely to come from the stomach or duodenum. So it is not a disease in itself.

Dyspepsia is sometimes mistakenly called a gastric ulcer

There is no good word for dyspepsia in European, but gastric or gastritis are often used. The words suggest that there is an infection or inflammation in the stomach that causes the pain, but it is usually not true.

Many also have IBS

Many people with dyspepsia also have sensitive bowels, so-called IBS. Symptoms of IBS include pain in the abdomen and it gets better after pooping. Some sometimes have dyspepsia and IBS at the same time, sometimes just one or the other.

Some diseases have similar symptoms

Some diseases have symptoms similar to dyspepsia. You can then misinterpret the symptoms as having dyspepsia.

The following diseases have symptoms similar to dyspepsia:

  • Osteoporosis, then you usually have heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Heart disease.
  • The disease of the liver, bile, and pancreas.
  • Celiac disease also called gluten intolerance.

What causes dyspepsia?

Dyspepsia is divided into two groups, depending on the cause:

  • functional dyspepsia
  • organic dyspepsia.

Functional dyspepsia is due to increased sensitivity

In the case of functional dyspepsia, the nerves in the stomach and duodenum have increased sensitivity. This makes the stomach and duodenum more sensitive to being stretched out by the food. The stomach moves and often empty more slowly to the duodenum. It is unclear what actually causes functional dyspepsia.

Functional dyspepsia is also called a sensitive stomach. It is most common to have this form of dyspepsia.

Read more about nerves in How the nervous system works.

Stress can cause more symptoms

Many people with functional dyspepsia experience more symptoms when they are stressed, anxious, or going through crises. During stress, symptoms from other parts of the body are also common, such as headache, dizziness, and pain in muscles and joints. You may also get dyspepsia if you eat unhealthy and irregular.

Organic dyspepsia is due to illness

Organic dyspepsia is due to a disease within the stomach or duodenum. Gastric ulcer and gastric cancer are such diseases, although they are uncommon.


You can start by telling us about your problems. Your story is important for the doctor to know how to examine. Here is a list of questions you can get:

  • What symptoms do you have?
  • How long have you had them?
  • How often do they come?
  • Do the symptoms get better or worse from something, such as special food or drink?
  • Have you used any remedies for the symptoms and helped them?
  • Do you use any other medicines?
  • Do you have black or blood mixed stools?

Other investigations

You can have blood tests. It can show, among other things, if you have anemia due to stomach ulcers or if you have the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The bacterium can cause peptic ulcers, but you can also have a bacterium without having a gastric ulcer. Read more in the text Stomach ulcer.

You may have an exhalation test or a stool test to see if you have Helicobacter pylori.

Examination of the gastrointestinal tract

Depending on how old you are and what the samples show, you may need to investigate further. You are then examined with gastroscopy. With gastroscopy, the doctor or nurse can see the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

You can also be examined with an ultrasound examination. Then the doctor can see if you have a disease of the liver, bile or pancreas.

You may also be able to examine it with rectoscopy or colonoscopy if you also have trouble with the stools.

Common to find no cause

The studies can show whether dyspepsia is due to a disease. But it is also common for the samples and examinations to look good and that the doctor finds no cause for the problems. The trouble is then called functional dyspepsia.

Treatment of dyspepsia

How you are treated depends on what dyspepsia is due to.

Talk and diet in functional dyspepsia

You can get advice and support to make changes in how you eat and drink if you have functional dyspepsia. The doctor can also advise what you can do to relieve the hassle.

You can get a support call from a curator or psychologist if you need to.

Functional dyspepsia is relieved little or none of the drugs that affect stomach acid. However, the drugs can relieve you if you have heartburn or acid reflux.

Treatment for Helicobacter payroll

You can be treated with antibiotics and drugs that reduce the hydro caloric acid, depending on your bee problems, what the tests show and how old you are.

Read more under the heading Treatment in the text Gastric ulcer.

Influence and participate in your care

As a patient, you have under the Patient Act chance to affect your health.

You can seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic you want throughout the country. Sometimes a referral to the open specialized care is required.

You should understand the information

In order for you to be involved in your care and treatment, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

You have the opportunity to get help from an interpreter. You also have the opportunity to get help from an interpreter if you have a hearing loss.

More information

SBU report on dyspepsia

SBU, the State’s preparation for medical evaluation, reviews and evaluates the methods used in health care. Many of SBU’s reports can be downloaded or ordered via their website. Among other things, there is a report entitled Dyspepsia and reflux 

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