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.