What Is Indigestion and Why Does It Occur?

Indigestion is a common gastrointestinal system disorder frequently seen in the public. The gastrointestinal (GI) system plays an important role in digestion, and the body is not able to digest food properly if it is impaired.
Indigestion is defined as a digestive system disorder that is common in individuals. Indigestion, which is defined as discomfort or pain, particularly in the upper abdomen, generally develops in relation to food intake or due to reasons such as drug use or infection. Let’s first take a look at what indigestion is.

What Is Indigestion?

Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia in medical terms, is not defined as a disease but is rather considered a health problem. Indigestion is defined as a chronic movement disorder in the upper digestive tract and manifests itself with symptoms such as bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence, burping, abdominal rumbling, vomiting, and heartburn felt in the upper part of the abdomen. In individuals experiencing indigestion, this condition may recur and may occur continuously from time to time. Do these symptoms sound familiar to you? Let’s now take a detailed look at the symptoms of indigestion…

What Are the Symptoms of Indigestion?

Indigestion is a health problem where all symptoms may be observed together or only a few of the symptoms may be observed. People who experience it can easily identify it. The most common symptoms due to the inefficient functioning of the upper digestive system and ineffective digestion are as follows:

  • Heartburn
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Excessive burping
  • Pain
  • Feeling full
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

As mentioned earlier, the majority of individuals suffering from indigestion experience multiple symptoms at the same time. These symptoms may sometimes appear in increasing severity for a few weeks or months before subsiding or disappearing completely for some time. No additional treatment is usually required for people with mild symptoms; however, people who experience all or more of these symptoms should be examined by specialists to determine the underlying cause.

What Are the Causes of Indigestion?

Indigestion can be caused by many different factors, but there are some critical ones. Excessive acid secretion, gastroenteritis or duodenal inflammation, food allergies, certain drug side effects (e.g. side effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen), and Helicobacter pylori infection can cause indigestion. In addition to these, factors such as poor diet, smoking, consumption of alcohol, obesity, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer, eating too fast, excessive eating, excessive stress, consumption of carbonated drinks, and excessive caffeine intake are among the major factors that play a role in the development of indigestion.

The quality of life of individuals with indigestion decreases considerably, and their performance is seriously affected. In addition to the above mentioned reasons, the cause of indigestion is unable to be determined by a detailed examination in some individuals. This condition is called functional dyspepsia. Although there is no structural disorder in the case of functional dyspepsia, the stomach cannot efficiently digest food.

What Should You Do to Relieve Indigestion?

Bad eating habits form the basis of many diseases, particularly in recent years. Both weight gain and indigestion become inevitable after failure to maintain blood glucose balance during the day and hunger crises that occur at night.

When I say bad eating habits, I am referring to not only consuming fast food but also consuming beverages with meals, and consuming tea and coffee frequently, which are small mistakes you make unwittingly. You may make small mistakes without noticing, but your digestive system has to work very hard to make up for these small mistakes. Also, as your mistakes accumulate, your digestive system can no longer cope, and indigestion becomes inevitable. Now, let’s learn how to prevent indigestion.


A balanced and sufficient diet can improve the overall health of an individual, and help manage certain diseases and medical conditions to reduce the likelihood of indigestion. If you experience indigestion, you should stay away from carbonated beverages, alcoholic drinks, foods with high citric content such as oranges, and fatty and spicy foods. Since the presence of caffeine stimulates the overproduction of stomach acid, you should avoid foods and beverages containing caffeine.

Individuals with indigestion should eat slowly and chew food well. If you eat too quickly, the food passes into the intestine without being fully digested and causes indigestion.

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

Smoking and alcohol consumption are among the most common mistakes made against the body. Smoking and alcohol consumption irritate the stomach wall, causing the stomach to produce more acid. Individuals with indigestion problems should quit smoking, stop consuming alcohol, and switch to a healthier lifestyle.


One of the important factors that cause indigestion is mental health. Anxiety and stress upset the stomach. Anxiety makes the nervous system overactive, thus, it removes food components from the digestive tract. A stressed mind indicates anxiety, worry, or irritability. It can indirectly cause insomnia. If you do not get enough sleep, your mind develops stress. Stress can cause muscle pain, headaches, and dizziness. Muscle tension can put more pressure on the stomach, triggering heartburn.

Relaxation exercises, meditation practices such as yoga, and stress management techniques such as deep breathing are considered helpful in the case of indigestion.

Gut Microbiota

Your gut microbiota plays an active role in the digestive process without you even realizing it. Gut microbiota takes part in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that you intake with food.

Having a balanced and diverse gut microbiota allows you to have healthy digestion. Due to stress, the use of various drugs, and some diseases, these bacteria cannot function well, so this may consequently lead to indigestion.

If you also experience indigestion, you should first analyze the bacteria that play a role digestion and improve them to alleviate your suffering from indigestion!

Gut Microbiota Dysbiosis in Functional Dyspepsia


Functional dyspepsia


Eating, Diet & Nutrition for Indigestion


The Role of Diet in the Management of Non-Ulcer Dyspepsia


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