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Indigestion (cont.)

Can indigestion be prevented?

Most episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention. If indigestion symptoms worsen, consult a health-care professional.

Indigestion caused by lifestyle habits can often be prevented.

  • Do not chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat quickly. This causes you to swallow air, which can aggravate indigestion.
  • Chew food completely and eat slowly.
  • Drink fluids after meals, rather than during.
  • Avoid late-night eating.
  • Avoid spicy, greasy foods.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Wait at least one hour after eating to exercise.
  • Always take aspirin and NSAIDs with food.
  • If you are lactose intolerant or allergic to a food, avoid the aggravating foods.
  • Meditation may help if indigestion is caused by stress or anxiety.

Do I need to follow-up with my health-care professional for indigestion?

Consult your healthcare professional:

  • if there are changes in your symptoms, or
  • indigestion symptoms continue or worsen, or if they are accompanied by unintentional weight loss.

Visit your health-care professional for regular health check-ups. Some testing performed to diagnose the cause of your indigestion may be repeated in the future to gauge the response to treatment.

What is the prognosis for a person with indigestion?

Because indigestion is a symptom and not a cause, the outlook depends upon resolving the underlying cause.

If indigestion is caused by lifestyle habits, the prognosis is good. Prevention of the lifestyle cause can often resolve the symptoms and cure your indigestion.

If indigestion is caused by medications, talk to your health-care professional about changing medications to ones that do not cause indigestion. Never stop taking a medication without the advice of your doctor.

If indigestion is caused by a disease or medical condition, the prognosis is varied and dependent upon the resolution of that condition. Some conditions such as ulcers, GERD, and gastritis respond readily to medications. Conditions such as food poisoning or pregnancy are self-limited and symptoms should decrease over time. Hernias and gallstones, for example, usually require surgery, and the associated indigestion should resolve post-operatively.

Other conditions are difficult to treat or do not respond well to medication such as pancreatitis, gastroparesis, depression, and cancer. Treatment of these conditions may involve several methods including lifestyle changes, medications, specialist care and/or surgery.


The Ohio State University Medical Center. Indigestion.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/13/2015

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