Symptoms of indigestion

November 12, 2012

Symptoms of indigestion

Indigestion is common among pregnant women and older people, but can really affect anyone. The main cause of indigestion is diet-related.

Often referred to as dyspepsia, indigestion can cause significant discomfort in the upper abdominal area. Generally occurring immediately after eating, or sometimes during the meal itself, it is an extremely common problem. Indigestion may disappear almost as quickly as it appeared and is easily treatable.

Symptoms of indigestion

Probably the most commonly recognized indigestion symptom is pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen. However other indigestion symptoms may include -

  • Excessive belching

  • Nausea

  • Bloating

  • Burning sensation in the abdomen

  • Prolonged feeling of being uncomfortably full after eating

It is well known that severe indigestion symptoms can cause the sufferer to believe they are suffering a heart attack – in the event of serious symptoms which may be caused by a life threatening condition medical help should be sought -

  • A burning sensation in the chest

  • Feelings of pain, tightness or pressure in the chest

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Palpitations

  • Radiating pain in the shoulder and arm

Causes of indigestion

Indigestion symptoms have many possible causes related to diet and lifestyle as well as causes related to issues with digestion.

Most commonly indigestion symptoms may be caused by -

  • Some medications

  • Eating too much or too quickly

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Eating while feeling distressed

  • Gallstones

  • Peptic ulcers

  • Smoking

  • Eating too much chocolate

  • Consuming spicy or fatty foods

  • Inflammation of the stomach

There are some risk factors associated with indigestion symptoms – but, although these risk factors increase the likelihood of indigestion developing they do not mean that anyone with one or several risk factors will suffer with indigestion.

  • Eating too quickly or too much

  • Eating whilst stressed

  • Eating too much high fiber food

  • Too much alcohol or caffeine

  • Spicy or fatty foods

  • Smoking

Reduce the risk

The causes and risk factors associated with indigestion symptoms make it relatively easy to reduce the risk of experiencing an attack -

  • Eat slowly and calmly, chew thoroughly

  • Do not drink alcohol with food

  • Avoid spicy or fatty foods

  • Limit your intake of high fiber foods

  • Do not take part in intensive exercise immediately after eating


There are numerous over the counter remedies for indigestion in the form of antacids – the most popular treatment which is also generally very effective. If, however, your indigestion is extremely severe, affects your quality of life and does not respond to over the counter remedies you may need to seek help from your medical practitioner.

Your medical practitioner will take a full history and order diagnostic tests which should determine that your medical problems are the result of indigestion. He or she will then develop a treatment program tailored specifically for you. In order for the treatment plan to work effectively it is essential that it is followed precisely which will reduce the risk of symptoms worsening.

Your medical practitioner may prescribe the use of proton pump inhibitors or histamine blockers to treat your indigestion.


Indigestion does not generally cause any serious complications, however it can have a detrimental effect on a suffererÂ’s quality of life. Sufferers who change their eating habits or eliminate known trigger foods also fun the risk of eating an unbalanced diet, for these reasons it is important to follow your treatment plan and avoid risk factors for developing indigestion where possible.

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