Indigestion(dyspepsia)

Indigestion, or dyspepsia (sometimes called functional dyspepsia) is a pain or uncomfortable feeling in the upper middle part of your abdomen.1,2 The exact cause of indigestion is not known, but it could develop in response to an infection, stress or changed function of the cells in your digestive system.3

What Does Indigestion Feel Like?

Indigestion can feel like:1,2

  • Feeling too full after eating or being unable to finish a meal because you feel full
  • Pain or burning in the upper region of your stomach
  • Nausea or heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Burping

burping

What Causes Indigestion?

Triggers for indigestion may differ from person to person and can include:4-10

  • Eating big meals and overfilling your stomach

big meal

  • Pregnancy - hormonal changes and/or the pressure put on the stomach and
    digestive tract by a growing baby

pregnancy

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
  • Stress

stress

Foods That Can Trigger Indigestion

Possible triggers of indigestion include:6,7

  • Eating fatty foods, spicy foods, chocolate, mint or tomato products
  • Drinking caffeinated drinks, alcohol or citrus juices

The Way You Eat

Ways you can help relieve or prevent indigestion include making changes to the way you
eat, such as:7,8

  • Avoiding or limiting food and drinks that can trigger your symptoms
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Waiting 2 to 3 hours after eating or drinking before lying down

a big portion and a small portion of food

How Can I Help Relieve Indigestion At Home?

Aside from eating a healthy, balanced diet and minimising trigger foods as well as altering
how much and when you eat, there are also some over-the-counter products that may
help.

Medication like Gaviscon Dual Action contains both an antacid and alginate to help relieve
indigestion in two ways.

  • The antacid – the antacid in Gaviscon Dual Action neutralises excess
    stomach acid to relieve the pain and discomfort of indigestion.11
  • The raft – the sodium alginate in Gaviscon Dual Action forms a thick layer
    (think of it like a ‘raft’) on top of your stomach contents. The ‘raft’ then acts as
    a physical barrier that helps keep your stomach contents where they belong11
    in your stomach – and not in your food pipe where they can cause discomfort
    and burning pain4.

Complications

Whilst indigestion alone may not lead to serious complications, it can impact your day-to-day life. People suffering from indigestion long term may experience disturbed sleep, which can in turn affect how productive you are at work or school. Lack of sleep can also affect your mental health and wellbeing.12,13

If your symptoms do not resolve or if your symptoms are troubling or concern you, speak to your doctor.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

FAQs

Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is discomfort or pain in the middle to upper part of your stomach area (abdomen) that can occur during or after eating or drinking. It is often associated with feeling too full after eating a meal or too full to even finish eating a meal.

Medications that reduce the amount of acid in your stomach can help relieve the pain and discomfort of indigestion. Gaviscon Dual Action contains an antacid that neutralises excess stomach acid and sodium alginate to form a protective layer over the acidic stomach contents – helping to relieve the pain and discomfort of indigestion.

You can help avoid indigestion by watching what you eat and drink – limiting those things that you know can trigger your symptoms. Foods that commonly cause indigestion include fatty, spicy, or acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine, and soft drinks. Eating smaller meals more slowly and waiting a few hours after eating before exercising or lying down can also help reduce indigestion. Other lifestyle changes to help prevent indigestion include maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, reducing stress, and talking to your doctor about medications that may cause indigestion.

Indigestion may occur once in a while or happen more regularly for weeks or even months. You should speak with your doctor if your indigestion lasts longer than 2 weeks or you have any concerns about your symptoms at any time.

For some people, drinking too much coffee or other drinks that contain caffeine can cause indigestion. In fact, coffee has been shown to stimulate the production of stomach acid regardless of how much caffeine it contains. Everyone is different though – so it’s important to figure out whether that latte is one of your indigestion triggers or not!

The common symptoms of indigestion generally don’t include diarrhoea and indigestion is not typically associated with changes in bowel habits. However, each person’s experience of indigestion is different, so it’s a good idea to discuss your symptoms with your doctor if you are unsure.

People of all ages can get indigestion. So, if your child complains of an upset stomach, it could be indigestion – but if you have any concerns or questions about their symptoms, consult your doctor.

This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Reckitt Benckiser, Auckland. RKT-M-27035. NP19267

References:
  1. Talley NJ, et al. Aust Prescr 2017;40:209–13.
  2. American Family Physician. Am Fam Physician 2010;82(12):1459–1460.
  3. Therapeutic Guidelines March 2020 edition. Functional gastrointestinal disorders. Available at: https://tgldcdp.tg.org.au (accessed July 2020).
  4. Better Health Channel. Indigestion. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/indigestion (accessed July 2020).
  5. Department of Health (2019) Clinical Practice Guidelines: Pregnancy Care. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health. Part I:56 Reflux (heartburn).
  6. World Gastroenterology Organisation. WGO Handbook on HEARTBURN: A Global Perspective. 2015.
  7. Australian Medicines Handbook. Dyspepsia. Available at: https://amhonline.amh.net.au/ (accessed July 2020).
  8. Therapeutic Guidelines March 2020 edition. Disorders of the oesophagus: Gastro-oesophageal reflux. Available at: https://tgldcdp.tg.org.au (accessed July 2020).
  9. Sandhu D, Fass R. Proc Shevchenko Sci Soc Med Sci 2018;52:10–15.
  10. Cho YK. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2017;23:526–532.
  11. Mandel KG, et al. Aliment Pharmacol 2000;14:669-690.
  12. Wuestenberghs F, et al. Front Neurosci 2022;16:829916.
  13. Matsuzaki J, et al. United European Gastroenterol J 2018;6(3):398–406.