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Indigestion: Understand and prevent heartburn, nausea and bloating

Indigestion — Prevent symptoms that include heartburn, nausea, bloating and belching.

Indigestion can ruin a good time. It may make you regret the spicy or large meal you just ate. Indigestion is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen — an upset stomach. Indigestion is not a disease, but rather a collection of symptoms you experience, like heartburn, bloating, belching and nausea. How you experience indigestion may differ from how someone else does.

Here's what causes indigestion symptoms — and how you can prevent them.

Preventing upset stomach

Healthy lifestyle choices may help prevent mild indigestion.

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Avoid anything that triggers indigestion, such as fatty and spicy foods, carbonated beverages, caffeine and alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.
  • Exercise regularly. With your doctor's OK, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. It can be as simple as a nightly walk after dinner.
  • Manage stress. Create a calm environment at mealtime. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga. Spend time doing things you enjoy.

Last Updated: 04/27/2007
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