Skip to main content

What Is Indigestion?

< Back to the article list

Have you ever experienced an unfamiliar burning sensation in your upper abdomen after eating a big, rich meal, or after having a few too many drinks? While there is a chance you could be dealing with acid reflux, it’s also possible that you could be suffering from indigestion — and yes, there is a difference!

Indigestion can be hard to describe, and it’s not always triggered by the same thing every time. If you’ve ever wondered what causes indigestion, how it feels, how it differs from heartburn, and how to treat it (and if there are ways to avoid it), here’s what you need to know.

Indigestion: What It Is

Also referred to as dyspepsia or upset stomach, indigestion is a term that describes certain gastrointestinal symptoms.

While not a disease itself, indigestion can be a sign of certain diseases or conditions and is not always linked to food. But if you’ve only occasionally felt this sensation, it shouldn’t worry you too much, because indigestion is quite common. It affects about one in four Americans each year.

Common Symptoms of Indigestion

What does indigestion feel like? Well, most people would describe it as a burning sensation in the upper abdomen, feeling full too soon after they start eating, and having a “too full” sensation after a meal. While these are the typical signs of indigestion, it’s always important to talk to your doctor if you believe you may be experiencing it, rather than trying to self-diagnose!

What Causes Indigestion?

The triggers of indigestion are similar to the triggers of heartburn and can include drinking too many alcoholic or caffeinated beverages; eating spicy, fatty, or acidic foods; and eating too much or too fast.

Indigestion can sometimes present as a chronic issue, and when that happens, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Occasionally, indigestion can be caused by more serious gastrointestinal diseases like ulcers or gastritis.

Heartburn vs. Indigestion

You may have heard people use indigestion and heartburn interchangeably, but they’re actually two different things, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two conditions. Think of it like this: indigestion is more of a general term to describe a range of digestive issues, while heartburn is what happens when digestive acid flows into the esophagus. Heartburn is a type of indigestion.

Finding Relief From Indigestion

One of the main ways to find relief from occasional indigestion is to use antacids, like TUMS Chewy Bites Cooling Sensation. Thanks to the primary ingredient of calcium carbonate, TUMS provides fast relief from acid indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux.

Diet changes are also recommended, including avoiding trigger foods like acidic or fatty foods, and alcoholic, caffeinated, or carbonated drinks.

The more you know about indigestion and its possible triggers, the better prepared you’ll be to avoid it in the future and to fight back against it if it ever arrives unannounced!

Related articles