Symptoms of indigestion 

The main symptom of indigestion is pain or a feeling of discomfort in your upper abdomen (dyspepsia). People often experience the associated feeling of burning behind the breastbone (heartburn), but this may occur on its own.

These symptoms usually come on soon after eating or drinking, although there can sometimes be a delay between eating a meal and experiencing indigestion.

Heartburn is caused by acid that passes from your stomach into your gullet (oesophagus).

If you have indigestion, you may also have symptoms such as:

  • feeling uncomfortably full or heavy
  • belching or flatulence (passing wind)
  • bringing food or fluid back up from your stomach (reflux)
  • bloating
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • vomiting

When to see a doctor

Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, see your GP if you have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:

This is because these symptoms may be a sign of a more serious underlying health problem, such as a stomach ulcer or stomach cancer. You may need to be referred for an endoscopy to rule out any serious cause.

Page last reviewed: 03/09/2014

Next review due: 03/09/2016