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What is indigestion?

Indigestion is a feeling of pain or discomfort in the chest or stomach that sometimes happens after eating or drinking. Other symptoms include feeling bloated, burping, or feeling or being sick. The medical word for indigestion is dyspepsia. Indigestion is a common problem that affects many people, but in most cases it's mild and only occurs occasionally. 1,2

What are the causes?

There is still some uncertainty over this, but it may be caused by stomach acid coming into contact with the sensitive, protective lining of your digestive system. 1,2

In most cases indigestion is related to eating, although it can be triggered by other factors such as smoking, drinking, alcohol, pregnancy, stress or taking certain medications. 1,2

What are the symptoms of indigestion?

These are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • Bloating – discomfort or feeling excessively full after you’ve eaten. 2,3
  • Nausea – feeling sick or like you want to throw up. 2
  • Belching – burping. 2
  • Passing of wind – together with the sensation of trapped wind. 2
  • Heartburn – a burning sensation in the chest. 2


Still have questions? If so, or your symptoms are getting worse, please speak to your GP or a local pharmacist.

How can you treat indigestion?

Looking for effective ways to prevent and treat this common condition?

There are several steps your doctor might recommend to help ease your symptoms:

  1. Be drink aware: cut down on your tea, coffee, sugary drinks and alcohol. 1,2,4,5
  2. Avoid food before bedtime: stop eating 3-4 hours before you try to get to sleep 1,4
  3. Cut down on certain foods: reduce rich, spicy or fatty foods in your diet 1,4,5
  4. Try smaller and more frequent meals rather than the usual three larger meals per day 4
  5. Weight control: lose excess weight and try to do more exercise. 1,4,5
  6. Try changing sleeping position: prop your head and shoulders up in bed to help keep stomach acid down while you sleep. 1,4,5
  7. Stop smoking: aside from easing heartburn, this has many other health benefits. 1,2,4,5
  8. Drink more water: increase your water intake throughout the day.
  9. Weight control: lose excess weight and try to do more exercise. If you are very overweight, you are more likely to experience indigestion because of increased pressure inside your stomach (abdomen). 1,2,4,5

How can Gaviscon help?

Gaviscon Double Action is a combination alginate and antacid, designed to relieve heartburn and indigestion.

Gaviscon gets to work instantly, soothing in just 3 minutes 6 and lasting for up to 4 hours – two times longer than traditional antacids. 7,8

How Gaviscon works:

  1. As you swallow Gaviscon liquid, it soothes the throat and oesophagus. 6
  2. When it gets to your stomach, it only takes a few seconds for the sodium alginate in Gaviscon to react with the acid in your stomach to create a protective barrier or raft that floats on top of stomach contents. This raft keeps stomach acid from rising up and causing heartburn and indigestion symptoms. 7,9
  3. Gaviscon also contains the antacids sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate. These antacids effectively neutralise stomach acid, which relieves indigestion. 9

When should you take Gaviscon?

  • Take Gaviscon when you experience indigestion symptoms, or when they start to occur, such as after meals or just before bedtime. 9

Please note: All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Always read the label before taking any medication. If symptoms are severe or prolonged, you should consult a doctor or pharmacist.

*Based on survey of 13,831 Heartburn and Indigestion Sufferers from 5 Countries


    1. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) Guideline: Indigestion, heartburn and reflux in adults – Information for the public, 2014.
    2. NHS Inform website: “Indigestion.” Updated 14 February, 2020. URL:
    3. Talley N. Functional dyspepsia: new insights into pathogenesis and therapy. Korean J Intern Med, 2016; 31(3): 444-456.
    4. Pallentino J. Proton Pump Inhibitor Clinical Trials: Focus on Lansoprazole in the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Frequent Heartburn. The Internet Journal of Advanced Nursing Practice, 2009; 11 (1): 1–9.
    5. Kahrilas PJ et al. American Gastroenterological Association Medical Position Statement on the Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Gastroenterology, 2008; 135:1383–1391.
    6. Strugala V et al. A randomized, controlled, cross over trial to investigate times to onset of the perception of soothing and cooling by over-the-counter heartburn treatments. The Journal of International Medical Research, 2010; 38: 449-457
    7. Meteerattanapipat P & Phupong V. Efficacy of alginate-based reflux suppressant and magnesium-aluminium antacid gel for treatment of heartburn in pregnancy: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (44830): 1–6.
    8. Mandel KG et al. Review article: alginate-raft formulations in the treatment of heartburn and acid reflux. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 2000; 14: 669–690.
    9. S0 Gaviscon Double Action Liquid (Suspension) Package Insert, 3 May 2016.

Article published 1 January 2021