Indigestion (dyspepsia) is a vague feeling of discomfort in the upper belly or abdomen during or right after eating. This may include:

Bloating or nausea are less common symptoms.

Indigestion is NOT the same as heartburn.

Alternative Names

Dyspepsia; Uncomfortable fullness after meals


Indigestion is usually not a sign of a more serious health problem, unless other symptoms also occur, such as weight loss or trouble swallowing.

Indigestion is a common problem.

Rarely, the discomfort of a heart attack is mistaken for indigestion.


Indigestion may be triggered by:

Other causes of indigestion are:

Home Care

Changing the way you eat may relieve your symptoms.

Avoid aspirin and other NSAIDs. If you must take them, do so on a full stomach.

Antacids may relieve indigestion.

Medications you can buy without a prescription, such as ranitidine (Zantac) and omeprazole (Prilosec OTC) can relieve symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe these medicines in higher doses or for longer periods of time.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Seek immediate medical help if your symptoms include jaw pain, chest pain, back pain, profuse sweating, anxiety, or a feeling of impending doom. These are possible heart attack symptoms.

Call your health care provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your doctor will perform a physical examination, paying special attention to the stomach area and digestive tract. You will be asked questions about your symptoms, including:

The following tests may be performed:


Tack J. Dyspepsia. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 13.

Talley N. Functional gastrointestinal disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, and noncardiac chest pain. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 139.

Review Date: 2/4/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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