Indigestion

Indigestion

Most people have indigestion (dyspepsia) at some point. Usually, it's not a sign of anything more serious and you can treat it yourself.

Indigestion can be felt in different ways.

You can have the following symptoms after eating or drinking:

  • heartburn – a painful burning feeling in the chest, often after eating
  • feeling full and bloated
  • feeling sick
  • burping and farting
  • bringing up food or bitter-tasting fluids into your mouth

Stomach ache or back pain are usually not symptoms of indigestion. If you have those you might be constipated.

There's usually no need to see a GP about indigestion. There are some things you can do at home.

Pregnant women often get indigestion. It's very common from 27 weeks onwards.

It can be caused by hormonal changes and the growing baby pressing against the stomach.

A pharmacist can help with uncomfortable feelings or pain. They can recommend the best medicines to use when you're pregnant.

Indigestion is often caused by acid from your stomach irritating your stomach lining or throat. This is called acid reflux.

This can be caused or made worse by:

  • certain food and drink – such as coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
  • being overweight
  • smoking
  • pregnancy
  • stress and anxiety
  • some medicines, including anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen
  • a hiatus hernia – when part of your stomach moves up into your chest

Indigestion can also be caused by an open sore in your stomach lining (stomach ulcer). Less often, it can be a sign of something more serious such as stomach cancer.