ZocdocAnswersWhat causes indigestion?

Question

What causes indigestion?

What's the true cause of indigestion? I get it but never often enough to have to go to a doctor for it - I can usually just take an antacid and leave it at that. Still, I feel like I'm not addressing the root cause of the problem. What am I doing wrong? Is it a diet thing?

Answer

If you feel the need to take an antacid occasionally and you get relief from it, then you may want to get checked out. Physicians that address these issues include primary care physicians such as a family doctor, and gastroenterologists. Indigestion is a general term that describes discomfort after one eats. It can occur secondary to gas distending the abdomen, it can be due to acid reflux, or it can be due to irritation of the gastric lining (gastritis or an ulcer). Gas is really not a problem. It can be helped by taking simethicone tablets or eating slower. Acid reflux and gastritis needs to be looked into further. A stomach infection with the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori is often at the root cause of gastric irritation. If you have this infection, it should be treated to prevent formation of a full blown ulcer. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history and perform a thorough physical exam. Perhaps your doctor will want to perform a blood test looking for antibodies to H-pylori. If they are positive, they you will need treatment that may prevent your gastritis in the future. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.