Indigestion – Symptoms and causes

indigestion meaning

Indigestion is also called upset stomach or dyspepsia. This is a general term which describes the discomfort in the upper abdomen. This is not a disease. It is some symptoms which you experience, including feeling of fullness soon after you start eating and abdominal pain. This is very common and each person has experienced indigestion in a slightly different way at some point of their lives.

The symptoms of indigestion can be felt occasionally or often as daily. You should know that the this can be a symptom of another digestive disease. You should know that this problem is not caused by an underlying disease and it can be eased with medications and lifestyle changes. Stress and anxiety can affect the body and they can aggravate symptoms.

The psychological stress which is caused by stress and anxiety can affect the indigestion. Indigestion can be caused by diet, lifestyle, anxiety or other medical condition so it can be difficult to say what the cause is for it. You should talk with your doctor if your anxiety is causing you this problem and your doctor can help you to manage your anxiety if it is worsening your conditions. The indigestion is a symptom and not a condition, the outlook of it depends upon resolving the underlying cause.

If the indigestion is caused by lifestyle habits, then the prognosis is good. The prevention of lifestyle cause can often resolve the symptoms and it can cure your problem. If it is caused by medications, then you should talk with your doctor about changing medications.

indigestion symptoms

Indigestion Symptoms

Those people who are diagnosed with indigestion have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea: You can feel that you want to vomit.
  • Bloating in the upper abdomen: You can feel an uncomfortable sensation of tightness due to a buildup of gas.
  • Burning in the upper abdomen: You can feel a burning sensation or uncomfortable heat between the bottom of your breastbone and your navel.
  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen: You can have a mild to severe pain in the area between the bottom of your breastbone and your navel.
  • Uncomfortable fullness after a meal: You have feeling of fullness which lasts longer than it should.
  • Early fullness during a meal: You have not eaten a lot of your meal but you already feel full and you may not be able to finish eating.

Less frequent symptoms of indigestion include belching and vomiting. There are some cases when people who have this problem can experience heartburn but you should know that indigestion and heartburn are two separate conditions. Heartburn is a pain or burning feeling in the center of the chest and it can radiate into your back or neck during or after eating.


There can be many different causes for indigestion. There are many cases when the indigestion is related to lifestyle and it can be triggered by medication, drink or food. Here are the most common causes:

  • Certain antibiotics, pain relievers and iron supplements
  • Anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Too much caffeine, alcohol, chocolate or carbonated beverages
  • Fatty, greasy or spicy foods
  • Overeating or eating too quickly

There are some cases when the indigestion is caused by other digestive conditions, such as

  • Reduced blood flow in the intestine (called intestinal ischemia)
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Stomach cancer
  • Pancreas inflammation (called pancreatitis)
  • Constipation
  • Gallstones
  • Celiac disease
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Inflammation of the stomach (galled gastritis)

When this problem happens without an obvious cause, then it is known as nonulcer or functional dyspepsia.


Usually, indigestion does not cause serious complications but it can affect the quality of your life and it can make you to feel uncomfortable and causing you to eat less. You may miss your school or work due to your symptoms. When the indigestion is caused by some underlying cause, then this disease can have its own complications so it is very important to be sure that it is not caused by an underlying cause.


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