It is a common problem that affects many people, but in most cases it is mild and only occurs occasionally.

Indigestion is caused by stomach acid entering the lining of the digestive system where it irritates and inflames to produce soreness and swelling.

It can often come about after a heavy meal or specific foods along with belching, and feeling bloated or sick.

This section provides useful information on what can cause indigestion, along with some general advice on how to avoid it.

Symptoms

  • feeling full or bloated
  • heartburn
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • belching

Symptoms will usually improve within one or two weeks. But if you find that it lasts for several weeks or affects your day to day life, you should consult your GP.

Causes

In most cases indigestion is due to eating:

  • Having meals at irregular times (too late in the day), eating too fast or foods that are high in fat can contribute to indigestion (and trapped wind and/or heartburn)
  • Foods and drinks that are more likely to cause indigestion are high-fat or spicy foods, wine, carbonated drinks, and drinks with caffeine

It can also be caused by other factors, such as:

  • High pressure on the stomach, such as excess weight, increases the risk of indigestion (and trapped wind and/or heartburn)
  • Smoking - visit smokefree.nhs.uk for advice to help you stop smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Taking certain medications