By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
The primary symptoms of indigestion or dyspepsia are discomfort in the chest and upper abdomen. Indigestion is caused by the stomach acid coming into contact with the lining of the digestive tract, which then becomes irritated and inflamed. This leads to the symptoms of indigestion.
The symptoms of indigestion include:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest and upper abdomen or stomach region. This may follow soon after eating or drinking. Sometimes, there may be a time interval between eating and experiencing the symptoms of discomfort.
- Heartburn or a dull ache and discomfort behind the breast bone or sternum. Heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). Other features of GERD include water brash (regurgitation of saliva), regurgitation of acid or bile and a burning sensation at the back of the throat. In GERD, the acid from the stomach passes into the esophagus and from there into the throat.
- Feeling of fullness and bloating
- Repeated belching
- Regurgitation of food and acid from the stomach
- Intense nausea
In some cases, recurring indigestion may occur as a result of a more serious condition such as stomach cancer. It is important for a person to seek immediate medical attention if they are suffering from recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Age over 55 years
- Difficulty in swallowing food
- Presence of a lump in the stomach
- Presence of blood in vomit and in stools
- Symptoms of anemia
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: May 21, 2014