Indigestion complications, Prevention, And Treatment


Upper abdominal soreness is a symptom of indigestion, sometimes referred to as dyspepsia or an upset stomach. Instead of referring to a specific illness, the term "indigestion" defines a set of symptoms, such as stomach pain and a sense of fullness shortly after eating. Indigestion may also be a symptom of other digestive diseases.

Even though indigestion is frequently experienced, every person may have a somewhat different experience. Indigestion symptoms might occur seldom or on a daily basis.

Changes in lifestyle and medicine can frequently ease indigestion. Overproduction of stomach acid is not the cause of indigestion. Belching and bloating, which are frequently linked to indigestion, may worsen if you swallow too much air when you are eating.

Chronic indigestion can occasionally affect people. Functioning dyspepsia, also known as non-ulcer dyspepsia, is this form of indigestion.


There are several potential reasons for indigestion. Indigestion can be triggered by certain meals, beverages, or drugs and commonly has a relationship to lifestyle. Among the typical causes of indigestion are:

  • Eating excessively or too rapidly
  • Oily, fatty, or spicy meals
  • Excessive intake of coffee, alcohol, chocolate, or fizzy drinks
  • Smoking
  • Anxiety
  • A few antibiotics, analgesics, and iron supplements
  • One of the most typical causes of indigestion is a disorder known as functional or non-ulcer dyspepsia, which is connected to irritable bowel syndrome.

Occasionally, dyspepsia is brought on by other disorders, such as:

  • Stomach pain and inflammation (gastritis)
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Celiac illness
  • Gallstones
  • Constipation
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Belly cancer
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Reduced gastrointestinal blood flow (intestinal ischemia)
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid condition
  • Pregnancy

How to check if you have Indigestion?

Mild dyspepsia is typically not a cause for worry. If the discomfort lasts longer than two weeks, see a doctor.

Please seek medical advice, if you experience extreme pain or any of the following:

  • Unintentional appetite loss or weight loss
  • Vomiting often or vomiting blood
  • Tarry, black stools
  • Swallowing issues that worsen over time
  • Anaemia-related indications of weakness or tiredness

Immediately seek medical help if you experience any of the following:

  • Breathlessness, sweating, or chest pain that spreads to the neck, arm, or jaw
  • Chest pain while exercising or under stress

Risk Factors

Indigestion may affect people of all ages and genders. The following things increase someone's risk:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Use of medications that might cause stomach irritation, such as aspirin and other painkillers
  • Conditions in which the digestive tract is aberrant, such as an ulcer
  • Emotional issues like sadness or anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Smoking


Symptoms of indigestion include:

Early fullness after a meal. Even if you have not finished much of your dinner, you already feel full and might not be able to eat anymore.

Feeling uncomfortable after a meal. It takes longer than necessary to be satisfied.

Abdominal pain in the upper region. There is mild to severe discomfort between the bottom of your breastbone and your abdominal button.

Upper abdominal burning. Your abdominal button and the region below your breastbone feel warm or burning.

Abdominal bloating in the top. Your upper abdomen feels tight, uncomfortable and unpleasant.

Nausea. You have the need to throw up.

The signs and symptoms that are less typical are vomiting and belching.

Heartburn and indigestion might happen together on occasion. Heartburn, a chest soreness or burning feeling that might spread to your neck or back, can happen during or after eating.


A change in lifestyle may reduce indigestion. Your doctor could advise:

  • Avoiding foods that cause heartburn
  • Eating five or six tiny meals daily as opposed to three substantial ones
  • Lowering or stopping the consumption of alcohol and caffeine
  • Avoiding some analgesics such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands), and naproxen sodium (Aleve)
  • Locating substitutes for drugs that cause indigestion
  • Managing anxiety and stress
  • Medication could be helpful if your indigestion is persistent. 

In most cases, over-the-counter antacids are the initial option. Other choices include:

  • PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, help lower stomach acid. PPIs could be advised, especially if you also have heartburn and indigestion.
  •  Blockers of the H-2 receptor, which can help lower stomach acid.
  • If your stomach empties slowly, prokinetics could be useful.
  • Antibiotics may be helpful if your indigestion is being brought on by the H. pylori bacterium.
  • Antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, which by reducing your perception of pain might lessen the discomfort from indigestion.


Avoiding the meals and settings that appear to trigger dyspepsia is the best method to stop it. Keeping a meal journal might help you figure out which foods make you bloated. Here are some further ideas:

  • Eat frequently but in modest amounts to ease the strain on your stomach.
  • Eat gradually.
  • Avoid foods with a high acid content, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits.
  • Caffeine-containing meals and beverages should be reduced or avoided.
  • Learn new skills for controlling stress, such as meditation and biofeedback, if it is a trigger for your dyspepsia.
  • Quit smoking if you do. The stomach lining might get irritated by smoking.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake because it might also irritate the lining of your stomach.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing instead, due to the fact that they have the propensity to compress the stomach, which may result in its contents entering the oesophagus.
  • Do not work out while you are full. Instead, work out before or at least an hour after eating.
  • After eating, do not immediately lie down.
  • After your final meal of the day, wait at least three hours before retiring to bed.
  • Use pillows to support yourself while you sleep with your head elevated (by at least 6 inches) above your feet. This will facilitate the passage of digestive juices into the intestines as opposed to the oesophagus.

Complications of Indigestion

Even though indigestion often does not cause major problems, it can nonetheless lower your quality of life by making you feel uneasy and making you eat less. Your symptoms may lead you to miss work or school.

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Page last reviewed: Mar 15, 2023

Next review due: Mar 15, 2025

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