Indigestion, heartburn and dyspepsia are terms used to describe pain in the abdomen or chest region that occurs after overeating, eating too quickly, or eating foods that are not easily digested.


  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Burning discomfort in the chest or sternum region
  • Bloated or full feeling
  • Belching
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea, vomiting, Constipation and Diarrhoea may also occur
  • Reflux (upwards movement of food or digestive acids into the oesophagus or mouth) may also occur


  • Overeating or eating too quickly
  • Eating spicy, rich or fatty foods
  • Food allergy or intolerance (e.g. lactose intolerance)
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Depression, Anxiety or Stress
  • Inadequate or excessive production of gastric acids, which may occur for several reasons, including insufficient chewing of food, increasing age, and the consumption of antacids and certain other medications
  • Peptic ulcer or Helicobacter pylori infection, which can cause Gastritis
  • Hiatus hernia involves a defect in the valve between the stomach and oesophagus, which allows food to move upwards with an accompanying burning sensation caused by the action of the gastric acid
  • Weight problems increase the likelihood of indigestion by putting physical pressure on the digestive organs; similar problems can occur in the late stages of pregnancy

Nutritional & Herbal Support

  • Taking a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement works with your body's own gastric secretions to enhance your digestion of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and cellulose, and consequently may reduce symptoms of flatulence and bloating. Look for a formula that also contains herbs such as ginger and peppermint, which are traditionally taken to relieve symptoms of gastrointestinal cramping (colic) as well as other digestive symptoms such as Nausea and flatulence
  • Slippery elm bark contains mucilage, which forms a gel-like substance during the digestive process, soothing the mucous membranes of the digestive tract and easing inflammation, irritation and Gastritis
  • Liver-cleansing herbs such as milk thistle, globe artichoke and schisandra increase bile output and support digestive function. They may be beneficial in cases when indigestion is due to Sluggish Liver or gall bladder function

Diet & Lifestyle advice

  • Severe, persistent or recurrent heartburn and/or reflux may be indicative of underlying disease, and require medical investigation. Note that the symptoms of a heart attack sometimes mimic indigestion. If you are even mildly concerned that you or somebody else may have had a heart attack, call for an ambulance immediately - urgent medical attention is vital, and it is better to be safe than sorry
  • Avoid eating rich, fatty or spicy foods
  • If you have weight problems, achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. A low glycaemic index (GI) diet that's also rich in fibre and low in saturated fat is ideal
  • Try eating several small meals per day, instead of three big ones
  • Taking the time to chew your meals slowly prepares the stomach for the imminent arrival of food, and triggers the release of gastric acids and enzymes that will enable optimal digestion
  • Don't exercise or go to bed directly after eating - allow time for digestion to occur
  • Learn and practice meditation or relaxation techniques in order to improve your ability to cope with Stress
  • Elevating the head of your bed might help prevent or ease heartburn
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, especially to bed
  • Don't smoke

If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.

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