A common but not precisely defined disorder associated with upper abdominal discomfort or pain is dyspepsia. In some cases, the symptoms can be attributed to a specific disease (such as peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastric cancer, chronic pancreatitis, or gallstones), but in many patients no systemic disease can be identified. In such cases, the condition is also referred to as functional dyspepsia. Avoidance of alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and foods that aggravate symptoms should be recommended as an initial therapeutic approach, as well as a reduction in portion sizes to aid digestion. Furthermore, medications to suppress stomach acid, such as antacids or antisecretory agents, are often prescribed.1
Disturbed digestive processes also often lead to flatulence. The increased gases are then present in the gastrointestinal tract as an inert, fine-bubbled foam. This makes normal absorption of the gases through the intestinal wall difficult or even completely impossible. In such cases, the active substance simeticon, for example, can use its special surface effect to cause the foam-like bubbles to disintegrate immediately after taking a simeticon preparation. The gases thus released can now escape naturally.2
1 Sweetman SC (ed.), Martindale. The Complete Drug Reference: http://www.medicinescomplete.com/ (accessed: 11/20/2013).
2 SmPC Antiflat® chewable tablets GL Pharma, Date of information: June 2013.