Indigestion is pain or discomfort in the upper part of your abdomen. It usually happens after you eat, while your body digests the food you ate. Symptoms of indigestion are caused by acid from your stomach contacting the lining of your digestive tract and becoming irritated or inflamed. This is also known as dyspepsia, and can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a gall bladder disorder, or ulcers. In some cases, it can be a sign of a more serious illness like heart attack or pancreatic cancer.

What causes indigestion?

Sometimes, indigestion has nothing to do with your diet or the types of foods you eat. It may occur as a side effect of certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen), or antibiotics that treat or prevent bacterial infections. It can be a symptom of other health conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gall bladder disease, or anxiety or stress. Indigestion can also be a symptom of pregnancy. It is common for pregnant women to experience it from 27 weeks onwards, as the hormone changes in their bodies can cause their growing baby to press against their stomach.

Symptoms of indigestion include pain or burning in your upper abdomen, a feeling that food is stuck in your throat, bloating, nausea, or vomiting in some cases. Often, you will feel this discomfort after you have eaten something spicy or rich. However, it can also happen if you are eating too quickly or lying down right after eating.

If you have indigestion symptoms that don’t go away with over-the-counter medicines or lifestyle changes, it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor can review your history and physical exam to determine the cause of your indigestion. They will perform tests to check your blood, urine or stool, and X-rays and ultrasound of the stomach and esophagus. In some cases, your doctor will recommend an endoscopy to see inside your stomach and small intestine.

Your doctor will also recommend treatment depending on the cause of your indigestion. For example, if your symptoms are caused by stomach acid, your doctor will prescribe medicines to reduce the amount of stomach acid you produce. This can be done with antacids such as calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, or H2 blockers such as famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR) and ranitidine (Zantac 75).

You should always consult your healthcare professional about any symptoms you are experiencing. If you have jaw pain, chest or back pain, difficulty swallowing, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or a heavy sensation in your legs, see your doctor as these can be signs of a heart attack. Also, get immediate medical help if you have chest pain with redness or swelling of the skin around your mouth and neck – these are possible signs of a stroke. Avoid excitement or exercise after a meal, don’t lie down straight after eating and only take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen (if you need it at all) if you have heartburn as these can make it worse.

Should you wish to discuss your condition with an experienced Australian trained Doctor or expert in this area. Please book in for an online and Telehealth consultation. Phenix Health is always available when you need us 24/7. Contact