causes & symptoms

Indigestion is a very common condition that most people will experience at some point in their lives. Although it’s not usually serious and can be treated yourself, it can be disruptive to your day to day life. In this article you will find the comprehensive Gaviscon guide to indigestion, including:

  • What is indigestion?
  • Symptoms of indigestion
  • Causes of indigestion
  • Indigestion treatment
  • When to see a doctor

What is indigestion? 

Indigestion or ‘dyspepsia’ is a general term for stomach pain or discomfort. The term encompasses a range of digestive symptoms and is a common problem that affects many people, usually after eating or drinking. It is caused by acid breaking down the protective lining of the stomach wall, which leads to irritation and soreness.

Symptoms of indigestion

Indigestion usually occurs soon after eating, although there can be a delay. Some of the most common symptoms of indigestion might include:

  • A ‘burning‘ feeling in the stomach or upper abdomen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating, or a feeling of being full
  • Needing to burp, belch or pass wind a lot
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Acidic taste in your mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite

Causes of indigestion

Indigestion is the result of the stomach producing excess stomach acid, which then irritates your stomach lining. There are many reasons why you might get indigestion, but most are related to eating. Here are some of the most common causes of indigestion:

The Way You Eat
The Types of Food You Eat
The Types of Drinks You Drink
Other known triggers

Indigestion treatment

Treatment for indigestion will depend on the cause of the problem and how severe symptoms are. As indigestion is the result of the stomach producing excess stomach acid, neutralising this acid should help to relieve symptoms. In most cases you should be able to manage your indigestion by making a few simple diet and lifestyle changes. The following self-help tips can help to avoid/manage symptoms of indigestion:

• Avoid or cut down on spicy, fatty or rich foods
• Eat a balanced diet and getting regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight
• Avoid or cut down on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
• Drink fluids after meals, rather than during them
• Avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime
• Getting more rest
• Stop smoking
• Try losing weight if you’re overweight
• Avoid chewing with your mouth open, talking while chewing, or eating too fast (as this can cause you to swallow too much air and bring on indigestion)
• Prop your head and shoulders up when you go to bed - this should help prevent stomach acid moving up into your oesophagus while you’re sleeping

Over-the-counter medication

If you are suffering from indigestion and are looking for quick relief, there are several OTC (Over-the-Counter) medications which can help to alleviate symptoms.

Gaviscon Double Action Liquids quickly neutralises excess stomach acid by forming a raft over the stomach contents which help prevents acid coming back up into the oesophagus (food pipe). Gaviscon Double Action is available in liquid, tablet and liquid sachet form, and provides relief for heartburn too. They are suitable for use in pregnancy.*
Gaviscon Advanced Liquids are our extra strength formula, providing a resilient raft. They are also available in tablet form, and provide relief for heartburn and reflux cough too. They are suitable for use in pregnancy.*
Gavilast tablets have a different mode of action from the other products in the Gaviscon range by working at the source of acid production so that less acid is produced by the stomach in the first place. They last up to 12 hours but are not suitable for use during pregnancy.**
• If you have persistent or recurring indigestion you should book an appointment with your GP who may prescribe you a different type of medication.

When to see a doctor

On occasion, indigestion might be the indication of something more serious. Seek medical advice if you also experience:

• Chronic indigestion
• Worsening or severe indigestion
• Unexplained weight loss
• Vomiting over a longer period of a couple of days
• Blood in your vomit or stools
• Pain in your right abdomen
• Have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
• A lump feeling in your stomach
• Acid reflux (as this may be an indication of Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GORD)
• If you are feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious about something, speak to your doctor about coping techniques, or suitable treatment available (as stress and anxiety can contribute to indigestion)
• Indigestion will often be accompanied by heartburn, which may manifest itself as feeling like chest pain, but if the indigestion is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating or pain in the jaw, neck or arm, seek medical help immediately.

If you are seeing your doctor about your indigestion, be as specific as you can as to where you are feeling the pain or bloating. Indigestion is such a broad term, that the more specific you are, the quicker and more accurately your doctor will likely be able to help and diagnose the condition that is causing it.

* Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine in pregnancy.
Gavilast Heartburn and Indigestion 75mg Film-coated tablets. Contains ranitidine. For heartburn and indigestion. Always read the label.
** Gavilast Heartburn and Indigestion 75mg Film-coated tablets. Contains ranitidine. For heartburn and indigestion. Always read the label.


Did you know?

Did you know?

  • 73% of people will suffer from both heartburn and indigestion interchangeably.
  • 1 in 5 people suffering from heartburn may experience symptoms every week.

Gaviscon Double Action

Gaviscon Double Action

Gaviscon Double Action

Get dual relief from heartburn and indigestion.

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Information and advice on heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy.


Gaviscon Double Action tablets/liquid/liquid sachets & Gaviscon Original/Liquid Sachets for heartburn and indigestion. Always read the label. If symptoms are severe or prolonged you should consult a doctor or pharmacist. Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine during pregnancy.