Overview

Functional dyspepsia (dis-PEP-see-uh) is a term for recurring signs and symptoms of indigestion that have no obvious cause. Functional dyspepsia is also called nonulcer stomach pain or nonulcer dyspepsia.

Functional dyspepsia is common and can be long lasting — although signs and symptoms are mostly intermittent. These signs and symptoms resemble those of an ulcer, such as pain or discomfort in your upper abdomen, often accompanied by bloating, belching and nausea.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of functional dyspepsia may include:

  • Pain or burning in the stomach, bloating, excessive belching, or nausea after meals
  • An early feeling of fullness (satiety) when eating
  • Pain in the stomach that may sometimes occur unrelated to meals or may be relieved with meals

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • Bloody vomit
  • Dark, tarry stools
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain that radiates to your jaw, neck or arm
  • Unexplained weight loss

Causes

It's not clear what causes functional dyspepsia. Doctors consider it a functional disorder, which means that routine testing may not show any abnormalities. Hence, it is diagnosed based on symptoms.

Risk factors

Factors that can increase the risk of functional dyspepsia include:

  • Female sex
  • Use of certain over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), which can cause stomach problems
  • Smoking
  • Anxiety or depression
  • History of childhood physical or sexual abuse
  • Helicobacter pylori infection