Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a term used to describe one or more symptoms including a feeling of fullness during a meal, uncomfortable fullness after a meal, and burning or pain in the upper abdomen.
Indigestion is common in adults and can occur once in a while or as often as every day.
Indigestion can be caused by a condition in the digestive tract such as:
If the underlying condition improves or resolves, the symptoms of indigestion usually improve.
Sometimes a person has indigestion for which a cause cannot be found. This type of indigestion, called functional dyspepsia, is thought to occur in the area where the stomach meets the small intestine. The indigestion may be related to abnormal motility—the squeezing or relaxing action—of the stomach muscle as it receives, digests, and moves food into the small intestine.
Most people with indigestion experience more than one of the following symptoms:
Other, less frequent symptoms that may occur with indigestion are nausea and bloating—an unpleasant tightness in the stomach. Nausea and bloating could be due to causes other than indigestion.
Because indigestion can be a sign of a more serious condition, people should see a doctor right away if they experience:
Some people may experience relief from symptoms of indigestion by:
The doctor may recommend over-the-counter antacids or medications that reduce acid production or help the stomach move food more quickly into the small intestine. Many of these medications can be purchased without a prescription. Antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, and Riopan, are usually the first drugs recommended to relieve symptoms of indigestion. H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) treat symptoms of indigestion by reducing stomach acid. They work longer than but not as quickly as antacids. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are stronger than H2RAs, also treat indigestion symptoms by reducing stomach acid. PPIs are most effective in treating symptoms of indigestion in people who also have GERD. Prokinetics may be helpful for people who have a problem with the stomach emptying too slowly.