Acid Indigestion

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-05-14 (EDT)

Indigestion, also referred to as acid indigestion or dyspepsia, is a very common complaint that relates to disturbed or "bad" digestion that is either episodic or persistent and is often worse right after eating.[1] Indigestion is sometimes mistaken for heartburn.

Acid Indigestion

Acid Indigestion
Causes Dietary Factors, Alcohol, Stress, Dehydration, Smoking
See Also Digestive Conditions, Obesity, Gastritis, Peptic Ulcer, Asthma
Books Books on Digestive and Liver Conditions
Articles Articles on Digestive Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With Dyspepsia, the causes are variable and include lifestyle and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to Dyspepsia.


  • The dietary factors that are associated with acid indigestion include:
food allergies or food sensitivities
high-fiber foods
eating spicy, fatty, or greasy foods
too much caffeine
eating too much (overeating)
eating too fast
  • Drinking too much alcohol may result in acid indigestion.


  • Emotional stress or nervousness, especially while eating, can result in acid indigestion.


  • Helicobacter pylori infection increases risk of dyspepsia.[2]


  • Smoking is associated with acid indigestion.

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Medications such as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), aspirin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with dyspepsia.[3]
  • Other medications that may cause acid indigestion include antibiotics, digitalis or theophyline
  • Supplements
  • Supplements that can trigger acid indigestion include potassium and iron.


  • Age
  • Acid indigestion tends to be more common with increasing age.

Common Questions

  • When do you feel this discomfort?
  • Do certain foods make your symptoms worse?
  • Does drinking alcohol or carbonated beverages make your symptoms worse?
  • Do you eat quickly?
  • Do you ever feel as if you have overeaten?
  • Do you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages (tea, soda, coffee)?
  • Have you made any recent changes to your diet?
  • How much spicy, high-fiber or fatty foods do you consume?
  • What medications do you take?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?

Diagnostic Testing

The diagnosis of acid indigestion is based on a through intake and a person's recall of their symptoms. To determine the cause of the symptoms the following may be indicated:

  • Imaging Studies may include an abdominal ultrasound, Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD ) and Upper GI and small bowel series.

Related Conditions

Acid indigestion is commonly associated with the following conditions:


The causes of indigestion vary based on a person's age. It is rare for children to have indigestion, yet abdominal discomfort may occur in those that experience malabsorption or who have food allergies or sensitivities.

In adults indigestion is more likely associated with other underlying conditions.

  • Indigestion is considered an inflammatory condition.
  • Indigestion is a common complaint, especially as one gets older
  • It is typically not serious
  • On rare occasions, a heart attack has been confused with indigestion

Common Symptoms

Indigestion can result in a range of mild or severe symptoms in the upper abdomen including:[1]

  • Upper abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness which is usually worse right after eating
  • Easily full after eating a little
  • A feeling of heat, burning, or pain in the area between the navel and the lower part of the breastbone
  • Symptoms typically occur during the day and rarely at night
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Heartburn or GERD
  • Regurgitation
  • Borborygmi (increased digestive sounds)
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Dyspepsia is typically a chronic disease Dyspepsia.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

  • Eating Regime
  • Make time to sit down and eat meals in a relaxed manner.
  • Chew food slowly and completely.
  • Avoid heated conversations or arguments while eating.
  • When eating focus on the eating, not watching television or playing games.
  • Avoid exercise immediately after eating.
  • Foster a calm home environment.
  • Engage in stress reduction exercises.
  • Medications
  • Avoid any medications, such as aspirin and other NSAIDs that may be triggering the indigestion.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Avoid food allergies and food sensitivities
  • Limit your consumption of high-fiber foods
  • Limit your consumption of spicy, fatty, or greasy foods
  • Limit consumption of alcoholic or carbonated beverages.
  • Reduce or eliminate your consumption of caffeine
  • Ensure you drink adequate water, but avoid drinking water a half hour before meals and 1 hour after meals.
  • Regular exercise is helpful in preventing indigestion. Exercise is best avoided right after eating.
  • Postural imbalances especially in the mid-back or thoracic area are best addressed in order to ensure adequate digestive function.
  • Proper breathing improves digestive function.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for Dyspepsia include:

  • Acupuncture is effective in improving digestive function.
  • Constitutional hydrotherapy can assist in treating both acute and chronic indigestion.


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Seller Robert (2000) Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints, Chapter 18 Heartburn and Indigestion W.B. Saunders Company
  2. Chiba N, Veldhuyzen van Zanten SJO, Sinclar P, Ferguson RA, Escobedo S, Grace E (2002 April) Treating Helicobacter pylori infection in primary care patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia: the Canadian adult dyspepsia empiric treatment—Helicobacter pylori positive (CADET-Hp) randomised controlled trial BMJ; Vol324(7344): 1012 PMCID: PMC102778.
  3. Leong RW, Chan FK (2006 Jul) Drug-induced side effects affecting the gastrointestinal tract Expert Opin Drug Saf; Vol5(4):585-92 PMID: 16774495.
  4. Lu Henry (1986) Chinese System of Food Cures, prevention and remedies Sterling Publishing Co. New York.
  5. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul Richard, Barlow Kerry, Gilbert Cyndi, Gowan Matthew, Smith Fraser 2010 Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Vol 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs, CCNM Press, Toronto
  6. Boon Heather, Smith Michael 2004 The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Robert Rose, Toronto
  7. Hershoff Asa 2000 Homeopathic Remedies, A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatments, Avery Publishing Group, New York
  8. Ullman Robert, Reichenberg-Ullman Judyth 1997, Homeopathic Self-Care, the quick and easy guide for the whole family. Prima Publishing