Your doctor is likely to start with a health history and a thorough physical exam. Those evaluations may be sufficient if your indigestion is mild and you're not experiencing certain symptoms, such as weight loss and repeated vomiting.

But if your indigestion began suddenly, and you are experiencing severe symptoms or are older than age 55, your doctor may recommend:

  • Laboratory tests, to check for thyroid problems or other metabolic disorders.
  • Breath and stool tests, to check for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the bacterium associated with peptic ulcers, which can cause indigestion. H. pylori testing is controversial because studies suggest limited benefit from treating the bacterium.
  • Endoscopy, to check for abnormalities in your upper digestive tract. A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken for analysis.
  • Imaging tests (X-ray or CT scan), to check for intestinal obstruction.

If initial testing fails to provide a cause, your doctor may diagnose functional dyspepsia.

Aug. 24, 2016
  1. Feldman M, et al. Dyspepsia. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 6, 2016.
  2. Talley MJ, et al. Functional Dyspepsia. New England Journal of Medicine. 2015;373:1852.
  3. Indigestion. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/indigestion/index.aspx. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016.
  4. Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Gastrointestinal disorders. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2015. 54th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016.
  5. Dyspepsia. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/gastrointestinal_disorders/approach_to_the_patient_with_upper_gi_complaints/dyspepsia.html. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016.
  6. Overland MK. Dyspepsia. Medical Clinics of North America. 2014;98:549.
  7. Ottillinger B, et al. STW 5 (Iberogast) — A safe and effective standard in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift. 2013;163:65.
  8. Aucoin M, et al. Mindfulness-based therapies in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders: A meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;2014:1.
  9. Kim KN, et al. Efficacy of acupuncture treatment for functional dyspepsia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2015;23:759.