Indigestion, also referred to as Dyspepsia is a term used to describe the discomfort or pain felt in the stomach and under the ribs. It can be a symptom of another digestive disease.

Indigestion is usually occurs when stomach acid comes into contact with the mucosa of the digestive system, the sensitive protective lining of the digestive system. Stomach acids break down the mucosa, causing irritation and inflammation, which trigger the symptoms of indigestion.

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion is majorly caused by lifestyle, medications and diseases.

For Lifestyle:

  • Eating too much, eating too fast, eating high-fat foods, or eating during stressful situations.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Stress and fatigue.
  • Consuming too much caffeine.
  • Consuming too much chocolate.
  • Obesity; caused by more pressure inside the abdomen.
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
  • Peptic ulcers.
  • Smoking.

For Diseases:

  • Ulcers
  • GERD
  • Stomach cancer (rare)
  • Gastroparesis (a condition where the stomach doesn’t empty properly; this often occurs in people with diabetes)
  • Stomach infections.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Chronic pancreatitis.
  • Thyroid disease.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Infection, especially with bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori.

For Medications

  • Pain killer such as aspirin, NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Naprosyn).
  • Estrogen and oral contraceptives.
  • Steroid medications.
  • Certain antibiotics.
  • Thyroid medicines.

Symptoms/Signs of Indigestion

  • Bloating.
  • Belching and gas.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • An acidic taste in your mouth.
  • Fullness during or after a meal.
  • Growling stomach.
  • Burning in your stomach or upper belly.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Feeling uncomfortable.
  • Bringing up food or fluid from your stomach.
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Black stools
  • Jaundice (yellow coloring of eyes and skin)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain radiation to the jaw, arm or neck


Risk factors for Indigestion

It is extremely common with people of all ages, and of both sexes. An individual’s risk may increase with:

  • Excess alcohol consumption.
  • Use of drugs that may irritate the stomach, such as aspirin and other pain relievers.
  • Conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract, such as an ulcer.
  • Emotional problems, such as anxiety or depression.

How to Prevent Indigestion

  • Eat small meals so your stomach doesn’t have to work as hard or as long.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of acid, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
  • Cut back on or avoid foods and drinks that have or are made from caffeine.
  • Avoid stress; learn how to manage it via relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
  • Quit smoking, or don’t smoke right before or after you eat, it can irritate your stomach.
  • Reduce excessive alcohol intake.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes. They can put pressure on your stomach, and make the food you’ve eaten move up into your esophagus.
  • Do not exercise right after a meal. Do it before or at least 1 hour after you eat.
  • Don’t lie down immediately you finish eating.
  • Wait at least 3 hours after your last meal of the day before you go to bed.
  • Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while you chew, or eat too fast. This makes you swallow too much air, which can add to indigestion.
  • Drink beverages after rather than during meals.



Indigestion that isn’t caused by an underlying disease may be eased with lifestyle changes and medication.


Article By eDokita Team


  1. Causes, prevention, symptoms, treatment and who is at risk of indigestion. 2016
  2. Overview and Symptoms of Indigestion. 2016
  3. Christian Nordquist. Overview, symptoms and causes of Indigestion. Medical News today, 2015
  4. Overview of Indigestion. 2016

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