Lifestyle changes may help ease indigestion. Your doctor may recommend:
- Avoiding foods that trigger indigestion
- Eating five or six small meals a day instead of three large meals
- Reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and caffeine
- Avoiding certain pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Finding alternatives for medications that trigger indigestion
- Controlling stress and anxiety
If your indigestion persists, medications may help. Over-the-counter antacids are generally the first choice. Other options include:
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which can reduce stomach acid. PPIs may be recommended if you experience heartburn along with indigestion.
- H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs), which can also reduce stomach acid.
- Prokinetics, which may be helpful if your stomach empties slowly.
- Antibiotics, if H. pylori bacteria are causing your indigestion.
- Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, which may ease the discomfort from indigestion by decreasing your sensation of pain.
Alternative and complementary treatments may help ease indigestion, although none of these treatments has been well-studied. These treatments include:
- Herbal therapies such as peppermint and caraway.
- Psychological treatment, including behavior modification, relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy.
- Acupuncture, which may work by blocking the pathways of nerves that carry sensations of pain to the brain.
- Mindfulness meditation.
- STW 5 (Iberogast), a liquid supplement that contains extracts of herbs including bitter candytuft, peppermint leaves, caraway and licorice root. STW 5 may work by reducing the production of gastric acid.
Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements to be sure you're taking a safe dose and that the supplement won't adversely interact with any other medications you're taking.
Aug. 24, 2016
- 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.
- Talley MJ, et al. Functional Dyspepsia. New England Journal of Medicine. 2015;373:1852.
- Indigestion. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/indigestion/index.aspx. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016.
- 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.
- 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.
- Overland MK. Dyspepsia. Medical Clinics of North America. 2014;98:549.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kim KN, et al. Efficacy of acupuncture treatment for functional dyspepsia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2015;23:759.