Symptoms / Indigestion


Also called as dyspepsia, indigestion is the discomfort or persistent and recurrent pain in the stomach associated with difficulty in digesting food. Rather than a condition of its own, it is often a symptom of an underlying condition such as ulcers, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), or gallbladder disease. Its more common symptoms include;

  • Burning in the upper abdomen or stomach
  • Bloating (full feeling)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Belching and gas
  • Growling stomach
  • Acidic taste in the mouth


The causes of indigestions are multiple. It can be due to some disease, medicine or poor lifestyle habits.


  • GORD
  • Ulcers
  • Stomach cancer (rare)
  • Gastroparesis (a condition most common in diabetic people where the stomach doesn’t empty
  • properly and leads to accumulation of food in the stomach)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stomach infections
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Thyroid disease


  • Aspirin, NSAIDs {such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn)} and other painkillers
  • Steroid medications
  • Oestrogen and oral contraceptives
  • Thyroid medicines
  • Certain antibiotics


  • Eating during stressful situations, eating too much, eating high-fat foods, or eating too fast
  • Eating spicy and junk foods
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Stress and fatigue

Test and Diagnosis

To rule any underlying disease that may be causing your symptoms, your doctor may perform several diagnostic tests. You may have blood tests (complete blood picture, Hb levels, TLC) and X-rays of the chest, stomach, and small intestine.
Endoscopy is the gold standard investigative procedure to look closely at the inner lining of the GI tracts. An endoscope is used to look inside and take images from inside your stomach to make a definitive diagnosis. A positive endoscopic test suggests a definitive cause of indigestion.


Episodes of indigestion are often transient and go away within minutes to hours without any therapeutic intervention. However, you should consult a doctor in case your symptoms become worse. Avoiding solid and liquid foods, medications and lifestyle habits that cause difficulty in digestion are the best ways to prevent indigestion. Following are some valuable tips to alleviate your symptoms:

  • Try not to eat too fast, don’t talk while chewing and don’t chew with your mouth open. Doing this will cause you to swallow excess air, which can aggravate your symptom
  • Drink fluids before or at least one hour later after meals
  • Avoid spicy and junk foods
  • Avoid late-night eating
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages
  • Stop smoking

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other healthcare professional. ALWAYS check with your doctor if you have any concerns about your condition or treatment.

For a private consultation contact us on:

0118 955 3444

Spire Dunedin Hospital

(Secretary: Sally Allen)

0118 902 8161

Berkshire Independent Hospital

(Secretary: Ethne Bettle)