Synonyms: Dyspepsia, Upset stomach, Stomach ache

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Gastroenterology, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is a burning or painful feeling in the upper belly or abdomen that typically occurs after meals. Many different etiologies are possible, including digestive tract ulcer. More typically, though, the symptoms of indigestion come from excessive eating, rapid eating, eating high-fat foods or eating while stressed. 

In Our Own Words

Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is a mild feeling of discomfort in the upper belly or the abdomen, usually during or right after eating. It’s a feeling of pain, burning or heat that occurs between the belly button and the lower part of the breastbone. Dyspeptic symptoms are all very typical of indigestion -- but they can also signal other problems in the gut and elsewhere.


Your doctor will take a careful history and rule out disease or conditions such as a heart attack or an ulcer. Your doctor may take an X-ray or an examine the inside of your stomach and/or intestines (endoscopy or gastroscopy). 

Relevant Conditions
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease, heartburn
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic ulcer disease
Side Effects
  • Bloating
  • Burning in the stomach or belly
  • Heartburn
  • Belching
  • Gas
Share this article
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Indigestion." Diseases & Conditions. March 2013. Accessed November 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Indigestion." Medical Encyclopedia. September 2013. Accessed November 2013.
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