• The symptoms of heartburn (acid reflux) are generally described as a kind of tightening or burning sensation in the back of the throat and chest area
  • Some people also experience a bitter or acidic taste in the back of the throat


  • With indigestion, pain may be felt in the chest or top of the stomach
  • However many people complain of feeling 'bloated' or uncomfortably full and gaseous - needing to burp, belch or pass wind a lot
  • There may also be nausea or vomiting and a loss of appetite.

If you are not sure which you are suffering from, see how you feel if you lie down or bend over. If this seems to make symptoms worse it is more likely that you have heartburn.

If you find you are suffering regularly or have any concerns consult your GP.

Did you know?

  • More than 1 in 3 heartburn sufferers also report that they get indigestion. (Reference: Research International, Gaviscon U&A 1999).
  • In a recent survey, 63% of sufferers said they believed that a hectic lifestyle contributes to their symptoms. (Reference: Gaviscon U&A, Ipsos, 8 Aug 2006)

If you are suffering from any of the following you should consult your doctor:

  • Symptoms developing for the first time in mid or later life
  • Abdominal pain before or after meals
  • Persistent feeling of fullness, bloating or flatulence
  • Nausea or vomiting - particularly if it has bright red blood or dark brown bits in it
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing
  • Ongoing loss of appetite/continued unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent diarrhoea, constipation or any alteration in bowel habit
  • Change in stools (bowel motions) especially if they become black, dark red, pale or contain mucus (slime)
  • Bleeding or pain when you pass a stool
  • Generally feeling tired, lethargic or unwell in association with any abdominal symptoms
(Guidelines from CORE and the British Society of Gastroenterology)