Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a collection of chronic or acute symptoms that describes pain and discomfort experienced in the upper abdomen.

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion may occur as a result of overeating, eating foods that are high in fat, eating foods that are spicy, and eating too fast. Some of the other causes of indigestion may include the following:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Gallstones
  • A structural abnormality

Symptoms of Indigestion

Symptoms of indigestion may be experienced either on a daily basis or on occasion. Some of the symptoms may include the following:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • A feeling of fullness
  • Pain or burning in the upper abdomen

Certain factors, such as alcohol, carbonated beverages or smoking, can increase the risk of symptoms.

Diagnosis of Indigestion

After a review of the patient's medical history and a physical examination, the doctor may conduct a series of tests to confirm diagnosis:

  • Blood tests
  • Breath or stool tests
  • An endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract
  • X-rays of the stomach and small intestine
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • CT scan

Treatment of Indigestion

Treatment for indigestion depends on the underlying cause but can include modifying the patient's lifestyle habits, which may include the following:

  • Modifying eating habits
  • Using medications such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors
  • Reducing or eliminating caffeine consumption
  • Resting
  • Eliminating alcohol, carbonated beverages, spicy and fatty foods from the diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Antibiotics

Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle may be helpful in preventing symptoms of indigestion.

Additional Resources