Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a general term used to describe a range of symptoms that can be caused by a variety of different medical conditions.

Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to abdominal pain, among other symptoms.

In this blog post, we will walk you through everything you need to know about indigestion, so you can understand this condition better and decide clearly on your treatment.

What is Indigestion?

Indigestion is a general term used to describe a group of gastrointestinal symptoms, including pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, a feeling of fullness or bloating and nausea.

Indigestion is not a disease but a symptom of underlying digestive issues.

It is a widespread issue affecting numerous people, and in the majority of cases, it presents as a mild condition that occurs only occasionally.

Symptoms of Indigestion

As we explore the topic of indigestion, it’s important to recognise the array of symptoms that might be associated with this common condition.

Common Symptoms

  • Upper abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Feeling full too quickly while eating
  • Nausea
  • Belching or gas
  • Heartburn

When to See a Doctor

Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Persistent or worsening indigestion
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Vomiting, especially if it contains blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain


Identifying the root causes of indigestion could be key to finding relief and preventing future occurrences.

Let’s look into the potential triggers and underlying conditions that may be responsible for your digestive troubles. These are:

Lifestyle Factors

  • Overeating or eating too quickly
  • High-fat or spicy foods
  • Excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Smoking

Medical Conditions


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids

Diagnosing Indigestion

It is crucial to nail down the best approach to diagnosing what causes your indigestion.

A proper diagnosis is a cornerstone of your effective treatment. It makes sure that you can find the best treatment to restore your digestive health.

Let’s explore the steps and diagnostic tools that can help determine the underlying causes of your condition.

Keep in mind that not all of these tests may be necessary for you. Your doctor will select the most appropriate tests based on your specific symptoms, medical history and physical examination findings.

Medical History and Physical Examination

Your doctor will start with your detailed medical history, asking about your symptoms, lifestyle habits and medications.

He will also perform a physical examination, focusing on your abdomen to check for any tenderness or swelling.

Blood Tests

Blood tests can help rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

They can also be used to assess liver and kidney function, which may be contributing factors in some cases.

Stool Tests

Stool samples may be analysed to detect the presence of blood, bacteria or parasites that could be causing indigestion.

Breath Tests

Breath tests can be used to diagnose Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, a common cause of peptic ulcers or to measure hydrogen levels, which can indicate lactose intolerance or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.

Imaging Studies

Abdominal X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans may be performed to visualise the digestive system and detect any structural abnormalities, such as blockages or inflammation.

Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy

During this procedure, a flexible tube with a light and camera (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and the upper part of the small intestine.

This allows the doctor to examine the lining of these organs for any abnormalities, inflammation or ulcers. Biopsies (tissue samples) can also be taken for further analysis.


An abdominal ultrasound can be used to visualise the gallbladder, pancreas and liver, helping to identify issues like gallstones, pancreatitis or liver disease that may contribute to indigestion.

Gastric Emptying Study

This test measures how quickly food leaves your stomach, helping to diagnose conditions like gastroparesis, where the stomach takes too long to empty its contents.


Treatment depends on the underlying conditions, since indigestion is not disease. So treatment often depends on targeting the specific underlying conditions causing the discomfort.

Certain medications and lifestyle adjustments can assist in treating and averting indigestion symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Slow down while eating
  • Limit high-fat and spicy foods
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress

Over-the-Counter Remedies

  • Antacids
  • Acid reducers (H2 blockers)
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

Prescription Medications

  • Prescription-strength acid reducers
  • Prokinetics
  • Antibiotics (for certain conditions)

Alternative Therapies

  • Peppermint oil
  • Probiotics
  • Acupuncture

Preventing Indigestion

Here’s a list of things you can do to help yourself manage indigestion and maintain a healthy digestive system:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Chew food thoroughly
  • Avoid lying down or sleeping right after eating
  • Limit consumption of fatty, spicy or acidic foods
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Manage stress through relaxation techniques
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Elevate the head of your bed to prevent nighttime reflux
  • Allow at least 2-3 hours between dinner and bedtime
  • Engage in regular exercise, but avoid vigorous activities soon after eating


In conclusion, understanding indigestion and its various aspects is the key to effectively managing this common digestive discomfort.

By being aware of the symptoms, causes and diagnostic methods, your doctor can determine the root cause of your condition and develop a tailored treatment plan for you.

Don’t forget that simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing and alleviating this condition.


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Sources: Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, WebMD, NIDDK (1, 2), NHS, Healthline, MedicineNet.