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Complications of indigestion

In the vast majority of cases indigestion is mild and does not happen frequently. Severe indigestion can occasionally cause the following complications:

Esophageal stricture - if the indigestion is caused by acid reflux, when stomach acids leak back up into the esophagus and irritate the mucosa, the esophagus can become scarred. The esophagus can eventually become narrow and constricted. Patients with esophageal stricture may have swallowing difficulties; food can get stuck in the throat, causing chest pain. Surgery is sometimes needed to widen the esophagus.

Pyloric stenosis - this is caused by long-term irritation of the lining of the digestive system from stomach acid. The Pylorus - the passage between the stomach and the small intestine - becomes scarred and narrowed. Food is not properly digested. Surgery may be required to widen the pylorus.

Peritonitis - inflammation of the peritoneum (the tissue layer of cells lining the inner wall of the abdomen and pelvis). Surgery can repair damage to the peritoneum, and antibiotics are sometimes prescribed to deal with infection.


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