What is Indigestion?

Indigestion (also called ‘dyspepsia’) is pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen typically after eating or drinking. It is a common issue that can affect people of all ages. The risk of indigestion can be raised by certain triggers; however, these are individual and affect people differently.

Symptoms of Indigestion

Heartburn/acid reflux can be a symptom of indigestion. Some other symptoms can include:

   - Burning in upper abdomen
   - Feeling full and bloating
   - Nausea
   - Growling stomach
   - Belching and gas
   - Bloating

Causes of Indigestion

Causes of indigestion include:

   - Stress and fatigue
   - Excess alcohol consumption
   - Smoking
   - Swallowing excessive air when eating may increase the symptoms of belching and bloating, symptoms which are often associated with indigestion
   - Medicines and other factors can also cause indigestion. If you think you have symptoms you should speak to your doctor as it could be a sign of something more serious.

How to minimise your risk of Indigestion

There are some small lifestyle changes that you could make to help reduce your risk of indigestion:

   - Eat small meals
   - Eat slowly
   - Avoid triggering foods
   - Quit smoking
   - Lessen alcohol consumption
   - Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes as these can compress the stomach
   - Sleep with your head elevated
   - Don’t exercise with a full stomach


  • Cut down on tea, coffee, fizzy drinks
  • Minimise alcohol consumption
  • Prop the head of your bed by 15 cm so your shoulders and head are above the level of your waist to avoid stomach acid coming up
  • Regular exercise


  • Eat less than 3 hours before going to bed
  • Exercise on a full stomach
  • Eat excessive spicy foods
  • Smoke
  • Wear tight clothing

If you have prolonged or severe symptoms of heartburn or indigestion, you are concerned about your symptoms or do not feel they are improving, consult a doctor for advice. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.