Indigestion and Upset Stomach - Symptoms and Causes

Indigestion and Upset Stomach - Symptoms and Causes
Published : Feb 04, 2024
Last Updated : Feb 06, 2024

Indigestion also known as dyspepsia or upset stomach is discomfort that takes place in your upper abdomen. While suffering from indigestion, you might experience symptoms like a feeling of fullness right after eating, and abdominal pain.

It is important to understand that indigestion can also be a symptom of numerous digestive diseases. Though indigestion is common but each person can experience indigestion in a little different way. When facing the problem of indigestion, you can experience the symptoms occasionally or daily.

However, making little changes in your lifestyle and taking a few medicines can help to treat the condition of indigestion. 

Symptoms of indigestion

In case, you have indigestion then the following symptoms might occur:

Early fullness during a meal

You have not eaten much of your meal but you feel full and might not be able to finish eating.

Uncomfortable fullness after having a meal

The feeling of fullness lasts for a long time than it should.

Discomfort in your upper abdomen

You will feel mild to serious pain in the area between the bottom of your breastbone as well as your belly button.

Burning in the upper abdomen

In your upper abdomen, you will feel an uncomfortable sensation of tightness.


While suffering from nausea, you will feel as if you want to vomit.

Some of the less frequent symptoms of indigestion include belching and vomiting.

Some people who experience indigestion problems might also experience heartburn. You need to know that heartburn is a pain or feeling of burning right in the center of your chest that might further radiate in your neck or back during or after eating.

Who is more at risk for indigestion?

It is important to know that both males and females are affected by the problem of indigestion. Risk for indigestion increases with:

  • Excess consumption of alcohol
  • Conditions where there is an irregularity in the digestive tract, such as an ulcer
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Use of medicines that might irritate your stomach like aspirin and other pain relievers
  • Emotional problems like depression or anxiety

Causes of indigestion

When it comes to indigestion, there can be several possible causes. You need to understand that indigestion is often linked to lifestyle and might be triggered by drink, food, or medicine. Some of the common causes of indigestion include:

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

A condition called functional or non-ulcer dyspepsia which is related to irritable bowel syndrome is considered a common cause of indigestion. Sometimes indigestion is also caused by other conditions like:

  • Peptic ulcers
  • Inflammation of your stomach (gastritis)
  • Gallstones
  • Diabetes
  • Celiac disease
  • Constipation
  • Pancreas inflammation
  • Pregnancy
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Decreased flow of blood in the intestine
  • Intestine blockage

There are some causes of indigestion that you must pay attention to.

When do you need to call the doctor?

Remember indigestion can be a sign of a serious health problem, call the doctor if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or blood in vomit
  • Serious pain in your abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort unrelated to eating
  • Tarry, black or visible blood in stools

Symptoms similar to indigestion might be caused by heart attacks. If you think indigestion is unusual or followed by sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain or pain releasing to the neck, jaw, or arm then call the doctor immediately.

Treatment of indigestion

Do you want to get rid of your indigestion problem? If yes, then here are some treatment options for you.

Little changes in your lifestyle can play a vital role in easing indigestion. Your doctor might recommend the following things:

  • Controlling stress and anxiety
  • Avoid foods that cause indigestion
  • Eat almost five or six small meals a day instead of having three large meals
  • Decreasing or eliminating the intake of alcohol and caffeine
  • Find alternatives for medicines that cause indigestion
  • Avoid certain pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen sodium

In case, the issue of indigestion continues then medicines can help. Over-the-counter antacids are usually the first choice. Some of the other options are:

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

PPIs are extremely helpful in decreasing the acid in your stomach. When you experience heartburn with indigestion, doctors generally recommend proton pump inhibitors.


Antibiotics are effective in treating indigestion if H. pylori bacteria are the reason behind your indigestion.

H-2- receptor blockers

This type of blocker helps in reducing stomach acid.

Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicines

These medications can ease the discomfort caused by indigestion and decrease the sensation of pain.


If your stomach empties slowly then prokinetics can offer you great results.

Eating small and more frequent meals

You need to eat small meals frequently and chew your food slowly and properly.

Maintain a healthy weight

Excess weight is responsible for putting pressure on your abdomen and pushing up your stomach. This further causes acid to back up in your esophagus.

Regular exercising

Exercising on a regular basis is helpful in keeping off your extra weight. As a result, you experience better digestion.

Read - Natural ways to reduce Acidity for better Digestion

Managing stress

It is necessary to create a calm environment during your mealtime. Make sure to practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. You can also spend time doing things that you enjoy and feel relaxed. Also, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep.

Changing your medicines

With the approval of your doctor, stop or decrease the consumption of pain relievers or other medicines that can irritate your stomach lining. If this is not an option then try taking these medicines with food.

Therefore, Indigestion is not serious if you make lifestyle changes and take medicines recommended by the doctor.


In conclusion, indigestion is a common but potentially serious condition that can be caused by a variety of factors. It is important to understand the symptoms, causes and treatments for indigestion in order to better manage it.

Making lifestyle changes such as eating small meals more frequently, exercising regularly, managing stress levels, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding particular foods or medications are all measures you can take to help reduce the effects of indigestion. If your symptoms persist or worsen despite making these recommended changes then contact your doctor so they can provide further guidance on how best to manage your condition.