Functional Dyspepsia | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment
Gastro Health Data Verified

Functional Dyspepsia - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Published on Mar 07, 2022 and last reviewed on Mar 07, 2023   -  5 min read


Indigestion caused by an unknown reason is called functional dyspepsia. Read the article to get an insight into functional dyspepsia.

Functional Dyspepsia - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Does Functional Dyspepsia Mean?

When a person frequently suffers from signs and symptoms of indigestion, such as abdominal pain, bloating, belching, etc., for a month or more, and the doctor cannot determine the exact cause, it is called functional dyspepsia (FD). Dyspepsia means indigestion, and the term functional indicates that there is nothing wrong with the upper digestive system structurally, but still, symptoms appear. The signs and symptoms resemble a stomach ulcer, but there is no ulcer present. Therefore, FD is also called non-ulcer dyspepsia or non-ulcer stomach pain.

It is a common condition, and in most, it is long-lasting and affects the quality of life. The symptoms caused by FD can be managed with the help of lifestyle modifications, medicines, and various therapies. Women, people who smoke, and those who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are more at risk of developing functional dyspepsia. An estimated 20% of the population worldwide is believed to have FD.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Functional Dyspepsia?

Functional dyspepsia symptoms can vary from one person to another. The following are the most common symptoms experienced by people suffering from FD:

  1. Pain or burning sensation in the upper digestive tract (near the chest).

  2. Bloating.

  3. Early satiety (feeling full after eating a small meal).

  4. Nausea.

  5. Vomiting.

  6. Increased motility of the upper digestive tract.

  7. Heartburn.

  8. Belching or burping.

  9. Foul, metallic, or sour taste in the mouth.

  10. Unintentional weight loss.

  11. Depression due to prolonged symptoms.

To be diagnosed with FD, you should have some of these symptoms for a month or more.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Consult a doctor immediately in case you experience:

  • Blood in vomit.

  • Blood in stools (tarry stools).

  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath).

  • Unintentional weight loss.

  • Chest pain radiating to the jaw, arm, or neck.

What Causes Functional Dyspepsia?

As it is a functional disorder, no identifiable cause or specific disease results in FD symptoms. But, several factors have been identified that increase the risk of FD. The factors include:

  1. Older age.

  2. Allergens.

  3. Changes in the normal gut flora.

  4. Infection.

  5. H. pylori infection (Helicobacter pylori).

  6. Stress and anxiety.

  7. Depression.

  8. Indiscriminate use of anti-inflammatory drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

  9. Increased gastric acid secretion.

  10. History of childhood abuse (physical or sexual).

  11. Inflammation of the upper gastric tract.

  12. Smoking.

  13. Females.

  14. Digestion problems.

  15. A faulty lifestyle.

  16. Diet.

How Is Functional Dyspepsia Diagnosed?

The doctor will first conduct a physical examination based on your signs and symptoms. To rule out other disorders that can result in similar symptoms, the doctor will suggest you get all or some of the following tests:

  • Blood Tests - These help rule out other diseases that can cause similar signs and symptoms.

  • Helicobacter Pylori Tests - The doctor will perform a blood test, breath test, or stool test to look for the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which commonly causes stomach problems.

  • Endoscopy - A flexible scope is used to examine the digestive tract. An endoscope, a tube-like lighted instrument, is passed into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine through your throat. With the help of the camera attached at the end of the endoscope, the doctor will look for inflammation, growth, or ulcer in the digestive tract.

  • Biopsy - While performing an endoscopy, the doctor might collect a small sample of the gastrointestinal lining to examine under the microscope.

If you have lost a lot of weight, are older than 60 years, have a family history of gastric cancer, or had blood in the vomit or stool, the doctor will run some more tests.

Provisional Diagnosis:

Other conditions that can result in upper gastrointestinal symptoms are:

  1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - A condition where food, fluids, and digestive juices flow back into the esophagus from the stomach.

  2. Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) - An open sore in the stomach's inner lining.

  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - A disorder of the large intestine that results in bloating, gas, abdominal cramps, and pain.

  4. Gastrointestinal Cancer - An abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells anywhere in the digestive tract.

  5. Gastroparesis - A condition where the stomach is unable to empty the food normally.

What Are the Treatment Options for Functional Dyspepsia?

FD can become a chronic condition and affect the quality of life. The treatment options include:

Lifestyle Modifications:

Most symptoms of FD can be controlled by lifestyle modifications, such as:

  1. Acid secretion in an empty stomach can cause FD, so eat smaller and frequent meals.

  2. Eat a fruit or something healthy when you feel hungry.

  3. Never skip meals.

  4. Do not overeat or consume a large meal.

  5. Avoid caffeinated beverages, spicy or fatty foods, alcohol, or other food items that can trigger FD.

  6. Make sure you chew your food properly.

  7. Bloating and flatulence can be reduced with the help of over-the-counter drugs that contain Simethicone.

  8. Sleep with your head elevated.

  9. Manage stress by participating in activities you like or doing relaxation therapy and yoga.

  10. If you are overweight, try to lose weight.

Natural Remedies:

Peppermint tea, chamomile tea, apple cider vinegar, ginger, fennel seeds, lemon water, licorice root, etc., may relieve symptoms. It can interact with any drug you take for other diseases or conditions and result in unwanted side effects. Always consult your doctor before taking herbal or natural supplements.


  • H-2-Receptor Blockers - These medicines reduce the production of acid in the stomach. Examples include Cimetidine and Famotidine.

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors - The drugs in this group block the acid-secreting cells in the stomach. The examples are Omeprazole and Lansoprazole.

  • Prokinetic Agents - They help strengthen the valve between the stomach and the esophagus (esophageal sphincter), reducing the upper abdominal symptoms. They also increase the rate of stomach emptying. The drugs Cisapride and Metoclopramide belong to this group.

  • Antidepressants - Antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are prescribed for FD in low doses. They control intestinal pain by inhibiting the activity of neurons in the brain.

  • Antibiotics - Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if your tests show that you are infected with the H. pylori bacteria.


Lifestyle modifications and medications can cure the symptoms of functional dyspepsia. If you are suffering from functional dyspepsia, consult a gastroenterologist online and get the support you need to manage this condition.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to Treat Functional Dyspepsia?

The symptoms of functional dyspepsia can be managed with the help of certain medicines, which include the following-
- H2 receptor blockers.
- Proton pump inhibitors.
- Antibiotics.
- Low-dose antidepressants.
- Antiemetics.
- Prokinetics.


Is Functional Dyspepsia a Serious Condition?

Functional dyspepsia is a common and constant condition, but the symptoms do not always occur. Although diagnosing this condition is difficult, the outlook is generally good. There has been no evidence to suggest that this condition progresses into a serious condition.


How Long Does Functional Dyspepsia Last?

Functional dyspepsia is a term used to describe recurrent upset stomach symptoms without any obvious cause. It is a common disorder that usually persists lifelong. Although chronic, the symptoms may disappear for a while and then recur for unknown reasons.


Is Functional Dyspepsia a Mental Illness?

Patients with functional dyspepsia have been found to have associated psychiatric complications. The most common comorbidities include depression, anxiety, and somatoform disorders. The findings of a clinical study showed 87 percent of functional dyspepsia patients had a psychiatric diagnosis.


How Does Functional Dyspepsia Develop?

There is no definite cause of functional dyspepsia. However, it has been considered a functional disorder by healthcare providers. This means a medical condition cannot explain it, so routine testing may not reveal any causes or problems. This results in the diagnosis being done based on symptoms.


Is It Possible to Recover From Functional Dyspepsia?

Unfortunately, functional dyspepsia cannot be cured completely. However, the symptoms can be managed successfully through medications, lifestyle changes, or a combination of the two. Lifestyle changes may include the reduction, management, and removal of any causes of ongoing anxiety and stress. 


What Foods Cause Functional Dyspepsia?

The following food items may trigger functional dyspepsia-
- Onions and peppers.
- Fried and fatty foods.
- Citrus fruits.
- Alcohol.
- Spicy foods.


Which Home Remedy Is Best for Dyspepsia?

Dyspepsia can often be helped with a few lifestyle changes that include-
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Eating small and more frequent meals.
- Avoiding any triggers.
- Exercising regularly.
- Changing the medications.
- Managing stress.


Which Food Helps With Dyspepsia?

The following foods can be helpful in managing the symptoms of dyspepsia-
- Chamomile tea.
- Peppermint tea.
- Apple cider vinegar.
- Fennel seed.
- Ginger.
- Lemon water.
- Baking soda.
- Licorice root.


When Is an Endoscopy Required for Dyspepsia?

When diagnosing a dyspeptic patient, an endoscopy is the first test that should be done. In order to determine whether the patient has organic or functional dyspepsia, an endoscopic examination is necessary.


Can Stress and Anxiety Cause Dyspepsia?

Dyspepsia and depression, anxiety, and stress (DAS) have been linked. Non-ulcer dyspepsia, which is defined as dyspepsia in which endoscopy excludes peptic ulcer, oesophagitis, and cancer, is said to be primarily caused by stress. Postprandial distress syndrome and functional dyspepsia have been linked to major anxiety.


What Does Dyspepsia Pain Feel Like?

Dyspepsia is a discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen. It feels like a burning sensation and an early feeling of fullness in the stomach. The feeling of stomach fullness is also called satiety. The other symptoms include bloating, nausea, and excessive belching.

Last reviewed at:
07 Mar 2023  -  5 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

How to treat indigestion and worm infestation?

Query: Hello doctor, I am a 48 year old male, who is in good health. I have a long history of indigestion, mostly experienced as a pressure in the throat. About ten years ago, I had a clear endoscopy, and I took Nexium for six months and cut way back on alcohol drinking, which seemed to do the trick. I had...  Read Full »

How to overcome IBS symptoms?

Query: Hi doctor, I have had IBS for 25 years now. My symptoms have changed over the years. It started with stomach gas, discomfort, and loose stools. Later I had constipation, GERD, and stomach pain. For the past 15 years, I have had diarrhea, loose stools, and also acidity and nausea. I am not able to e...  Read Full »

Can cold and sinus problem aggravate my peptic ulcer symptoms?

Query: Hello doctor, I have been diagnosed with peptic ulcer four months back, and I was put on Omeprazole. I took it for three and a half weeks, but then due to horrendous side effects and the need for an H.pylori test, I stopped taking it for around 10 days. The H.pylori test came back negative. I was th...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Functional Dyspepsia or ?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.