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Indigestion is a common condition that is thought to affect 1 in 3 people in the UK. Read on for more information on the condition and your treatment options...

What is indigestion?

Most people have indigestion at some point. Usually, it’s not a sign of anything more serious and you can treat it yourself.

If you have indigestion, you may have the following symptoms after eating or drinking:

  • heartburn – a painful burning feeling in the chest, often after eating
  • feeling full and bloated
  • feeling sick
  • belching and farting
  • bringing up food or bitter tasting fluids

Stomach ache or back pain are usually not symptoms of indigestion. If you have those you might be constipated.

Indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux – what’s the difference?

Heartburn and acid reflux are the same thing – when acid from your stomach comes up your throat. You’ll feel a burning sensation when this happens. This can be a symptom of indigestion.

Should I seek medical advice?

There’s usually no need to see a GP about indigestion. There are some things you can do at home.

  • Cut down on tea, coffee, cola or alcohol
  • Prop your head and shoulders up in bed – this can stop stomach acid coming up while you sleep
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Avoid eating 3 to 4 hours before going to bed
  • Avoid rich, spicy or fatty foods
  • Don’t take ibuprofen or aspirin – this can make indigestion worse
  • Quit smoking

A pharmacist can recommend medicines that will ease the burning feeling or pain that can come with indigestion. These medicines make your stomach less acidic. They’re called antacids. It’s best to take the medicine after eating – they’ll last up to 3 hours on a full stomach. They’ll only last for 20 to 60 minutes on an empty stomach.

Pregnant women often get indigestion. It’s very common from 27 weeks onwards. It can be caused by hormonal changes and the growing baby pressing against the stomach. We can help with uncomfortable feelings or pain by recommending the best medicines to take if you’re pregnant.

Next steps…

If you are suffering from indigestion, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by booking a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced pharmacists for advice and support.

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