Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeHealthHealth Conditions

What is Indigestion?


1st Jan 2015 Health Conditions

What is Indigestion?

Also known as dyspepsia, the term ‘indigestion’ covers a wide range of unpleasant symptoms.


Sufferers can experience nausea or heartburn, as stomach acid flows back up into the oesophagus. Or maybe the problem is abdominal pain or bloating. Our pages on trapped wind have more information if you are experiencing abdominal cramps. Otherwise, to relieve other symptoms check our indigestion relief page. 

What causes indigestion?

Indigestion is largely a result of food not passing through your digestive tract as smoothly and comfortably as it should. Other causes of indigestion include eating too much or too quickly, eating foods that don't agree with you, and having too much or too little acid in your stomach.

Severe indigestion

If indigestion lasts for more than 2 weeks despite your best efforts, talk to your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if you have nausea accompanied by sweating or an ache in the chest: you may be having a heart attack. Other danger signs include abdominal pain accompanied by black or bloody stools, or vomiting. (Although black stools sometimes come from iron supplements or from eating certain foods). Finally, call your doctor if you have any trouble eating, or if food won't go down.

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit