Indigestion: medical facts about that gut feeling

Symptoms of indigestion


You may experience heartburn with indigestion; this is a burning sensation in the oesophagus that may reach as high as your throat. Most people have a feeling of fullness or pain in the chest or upper part of the abdomen. You may also feel sick or lose your appetite and be unable to finish your meal. Symptoms can range from mild to very severe and re-occur at varying intervals.

Most people successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle and over the counter remedies such as antacids. However if you feel they are getting worse, or they are consistently present for two weeks, it is advisable to consult your doctor.

In some circumstances, what appears to be indigestion may signify a more serious condition. If any of these symptoms occur, a visit to the doctor is strongly recommended:

  • if you notice black tarry stools that smell unusual
  • if you have any difficulty swallowing
  • if there is blood in your vomit or you are vomiting frequently
  • if you have unexplained weight loss
  • if you have any unexplained and continual symptoms of indigestion for the first time and you are aged 55 years or older.