Indigestion

Definition

Indigestion (dyspepsia) is a mild discomfort in the upper belly or abdomen. It occurs during or right after eating. It may feel like:

Bloating and nausea are less common symptoms.

Indigestion is NOT the same as heartburn.

Alternative Names

Dyspepsia; Uncomfortable fullness after meals

Causes

Most of the time indigestion is not a sign of a serious health problem unless it occurs with other symptoms. These may include:

Rarely, the discomfort of a heart attack is mistaken for indigestion.

Indigestion may be triggered by:

Other causes of indigestion are:

Home Care

Changing the way you eat may help your symptoms. Steps you can take include:

Avoid aspirin and other NSAIDs. If you must take them, do so on a full stomach.

Antacids may relieve indigestion.

Medicines you can buy without a prescription, such as ranitidine (Zantac) and omeprazole (Prilosec OTC) can relieve symptoms. Your health care provider may also prescribe these medicines in higher doses or for longer periods of time.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Get medical help right away if your symptoms include jaw pain, chest pain, back pain, heavy sweating, anxiety, or a feeling of impending doom. These are possible heart attack symptoms.

Call your health care provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will do a physical exam on the stomach area and digestive tract. You will be asked questions about your symptoms.

You may have some tests, including:

References

Mayer EA. Functional gastrointestinal disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, and functional chest pain of presumed esophageal origin. In: Goldman L, Schafer Al, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 139.


Review Date: 1/11/2015
Reviewed By: Todd Eisner, MD, private practice specializing in gastroenterology, and Affiliate Assistant Professor, Florida Atlantic University School of Medicine, Boca Raton, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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