Skip to main content


Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 27, 2022.

What is indigestion?

Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is stomach discomfort, feeling full quickly, or pain or burning in your esophagus or stomach. The cause may not be known.

What increases my risk for indigestion?

  • Anxiety, depression, or stress
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, or high-fat foods
  • Medicines such as NSAIDs, steroids, narcotics, or antibiotics
  • Inflammation of the esophagus or stomach
  • An ulcer in your stomach or intestine

What other signs and symptoms may occur with indigestion?

  • Feeling bloated or full, even without eating much
  • Heartburn
  • Large amounts of gas or burping
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Nausea or vomiting

How is indigestion diagnosed and treated?

You may need blood tests or an upper endoscopy to find out what is causing your indigestion. An upper endoscopy is a procedure to look at your esophagus and stomach with a scope. A scope is a long, bendable tube with a light and camera on the end of it. Healthcare providers may treat any underlying condition causing your indigestion. You may need to stop taking medicines that are causing your indigestion. You may also need medicines to help decrease the amount of acid in your stomach.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Do not eat foods that can irritate your stomach , such as spicy or fatty foods. Do not have drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. Chocolate, peppermint, spearmint, and citrus may also make your symptoms worse. Eat small meals several times a day instead of large meals.
  • Limit medicines that irritate your stomach , such as NSAIDs, steroids, or narcotics. Your healthcare provider may suggest another medicine that is less irritating. Ask your healthcare provider before you take any over-the-counter medicine.
  • Find ways to decrease stress. Learn new ways to relax, such as exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or listening to music.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause indigestion. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have trouble swallowing.
  • You have severe abdominal pain that does not go away even after you take pain medicine.
  • Your bowel movement is black or you vomit blood.
  • You have severe nausea or vomiting.
  • You feel a mass or lump in your abdomen.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have pain, discomfort, or constipation.
  • You have moderate nausea with vomiting and bloating.
  • Your skin looks pale, and you feel weaker and more tired than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Learn more about Indigestion

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.