How Long Does Indigestion Last?

Reviewed on 5/21/2022
Man with indigestion grabbing his large, bloated stomach
Symptoms of mild indigestion usually only last only a few hours. Most cases of mild indigestion will go away on their own or after making dietary or lifestyle changes. However, indigestion can recur and become chronic in some people.

Indigestion (upset stomach or dyspepsia) is a general term that describes a set of gastrointestinal symptoms that happen at the same time, including: 

  • Pain, burning, or discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Feeling full too soon while eating 
  • Feeling uncomfortably full after eating 

Symptoms of mild indigestion usually only last only a few hours. Most cases of mild indigestion will go away on their own or after making dietary or lifestyle changes. However, indigestion can recur and become chronic in some people. 

Indigestion may be:

  • Occasional: occurs once in a while
  • Chronic: occurs regularly for a few weeks or months
  • Functional: chronic symptoms without a specific cause

What Are Symptoms of Indigestion?

Indigestion is not an illness in itself, but it may be a symptom of diseases or conditions of the digestive tract. 

Signs of indigestion include:

  • Pain, burning, or discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Feeling full too soon while eating 
  • Feeling uncomfortably full after eating 
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Burping up food or liquid
  • Loud growling or gurgling in the stomach
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Heartburn (a separate condition from indigestion)

See a doctor if you have indigestion and:

  • It lasts more than 2 weeks
  • Swallowing is difficult or painful
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Bloody vomit
  • Black, tar-like stools
  • Weight loss without trying 
  • Pain in the chest, jaw, neck, or arm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe and constant pain in the abdomen
  • Sweating
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)

What Causes Indigestion?

Causes of indigestion may include: 

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How Is Indigestion Diagnosed?

Indigestion is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination. Tests used to determine the cause of indigestion include: 

  • Upper GI endoscopy
  • Imaging tests
    • X-rays
    • Computed tomography (CT) scans
    • Ultrasound
  • H. pylori testing
    • Blood
    • Stool
    • Urea breath tests
    • Using an upper GI biopsy

What Is the Treatment for Indigestion?

Treatment for indigestion depends on the cause and may include:

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Reviewed on 5/21/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/indigestion-dyspepsia/definition-facts

https://khealth.com/learn/indigestion/how-long-lasts/