Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your doctor is likely to start with a health history and a thorough physical exam. Those evaluations may be sufficient if your indigestion is mild and you're not experiencing certain symptoms, such as weight loss and repeated vomiting.
But if your indigestion began suddenly, and you are experiencing severe symptoms or are older than age 50, your doctor may recommend:
- Laboratory tests, to check for thyroid problems or other metabolic disorders.
- Breath and stool tests, to check for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the bacteria associated with peptic ulcers, which can cause indigestion. H. pylori testing is controversial because studies suggest limited benefit from treating the bacterium.
- Endoscopy, to check for abnormalities in your upper digestive tract. A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken for analysis.
- Imaging tests (X-ray or CT scan), to check for intestinal obstruction.
If initial testing fails to provide a cause, your doctor may diagnose functional dyspepsia.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed Feb. 25, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. What is the recommended work-up for a patient with dyspepsia? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Indigestion. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/indigestion/index.aspx. Accessed Feb. 25, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourcetoc.aspx?resourceid=1. Accessed Feb. 25, 2013.
- Dyspepsia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/gastrointestinal_disorders/approach_to_the_patient_with_upper_gi_complaints/dyspepsia.html. Accessed Feb. 26, 2013.
- Lacy BE, et al. Review article: Current treatment options and management of functional dyspepsia. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2012;36:3.
- Camilleri M, et al. Current management strategies and emerging treatments for functional dyspepsia. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. In press. Accessed Feb. 26, 2013.
- Zeng F, et al. Influence of acupuncture treatment on cerebral activity in functional dyspepsia patients and its relationship with efficacy. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012;107:1236.