How to Avoid Indigestion

Three Parts:Improving Your Eating Habits to Avoid IndigestionDecreasing Indigestion With a Healthier LifestyleControlling Indigestion With Medications and Home Remedies

If you are suffering from indigestion, you may feel bloated, queasy, or have a burning sensation in your stomach. These uncomfortable sensations are caused by your stomach acid irritating your stomach, esophagus, or intestines. Luckily, diet and lifestyle changes can help you to avoid indigestion altogether.[1] \weeeeee

Part 1
Improving Your Eating Habits to Avoid Indigestion

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    Identify foods that trigger your indigestion. If a food gives you indigestion, it will usually do so within about three hours. While which foods trigger indigestion may vary from person to person, many people find that the following trigger indigestion:[2][3]
    • Caffeine. Though that morning coffee or tea may be crucial for getting out of bed in the morning, you may want to try weaning yourself off to see if your indigestion improves.
    • Spicy foods. Some people find that food with chili triggers their indigestion. The amount that people can tolerate is highly variable, so if you don’t usually eat spicy foods, go easy on the chili until you know whether your digestion can handle it.
    • Fatty, heavy foods. This includes breaded, deep fried foods and foods cooked in a lot of oil. Many fast foods, such as fries, potato chips, and fried dough are deep fried.
    • Carbonated drinks. Fizzy drinks like sodas taste great, but they are frequent triggers for indigestion. If you drink a lot of soda, try cutting back and seeing if your indigestion improves.
    • Chocolate. Chocolate can also trigger indigestion, so eat it only in small quantities.
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    Lower your alcohol intake to avoid indigestion. Alcohol can make your body produce more stomach acid. With more acid, you are at a higher risk of the acid irritating the tissues of your digestive tract.[4]
    • Do not mix alcohol with painkillers, even over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin. Doing so can increase the damage to the lining of your stomach.
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    Eat dinner early to curb indigestion at night. Time your last meal so that your body has plenty of time to digest it before you go to sleep. Try to finish eating at least 3 hours before you go to bed.[5]
    • This is important because when you lie down, it is easier for stomach acid to flow up into your esophagus.
    • If you are prone to heartburn when you go to bed, don’t lie completely flat. Prop yourself up slightly by putting pillows under your head and shoulders. This will allow you to use gravity to help keep the acid down.
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    Eat small meals throughout the day to reduce your indigestion. If you eat more frequently, you will be less hungry when you do eat. This will make you less likely to overeat. It will prevent you from overburdening your stomach with more food than it can handle.[6]
    • Overeating can stretch your stomach and be painful.
    • Instead of eating two or three huge meals, try eating five or six smaller ones. Add mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks to your meal plan.
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    Chew thoroughly to discourage indigestion. Chewing breaks your food down into smaller pieces. In turn, that helps make it easier to digest for your stomach. The easier your stomach digests food, the less likely you are get indigestion.
    • Reduce the stress on your digestive system by eating slowly. This means that your digestive tract has less food to deal with at any given time.
    • If you usually eat your food in 5 to 10 minutes, consider pausing as you eat and stretching it out to 30 or 45 minutes.

Part 2
Decreasing Indigestion With a Healthier Lifestyle

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    Manage your weight to help manage indigestion. Carrying extra pounds puts pressure on your stomach, making you vulnerable to indigestion. The best way to control your weight is to eat healthy and exercise.[7][8][9] [10]
    • A healthy balanced diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grain breads and pastas, and, if you eat meat, lean meats. Foods to limit are fatty or sugary foods like red meat, fried foods, pastries, candies, cookies, and cakes.
    • Women who want to diet safely should aim for 1200-1500 calories per day. Men should eat 1500-1800 calories per day. These diets should enable you to lose a pound per week. If you plan to do more severe dieting, you should be supervised by a doctor to make sure that it is safe for you.
    • Regular exercise will help you trim down and burn calories. For best results, do 15 to 30 minutes a day at least 5 times per week. Make it fun by choosing an activity you enjoy like sports, running, walking, or biking.
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    Slow down stress to discourage indigestion. Stress triggers indigestion for many people. Luckily, there are many ways you can learn to control your reaction to stress and to relax. They may take some practice, but it is worth the effort. Relaxation techniques to try include:[11]
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    Discuss your medications with your doctor that may cause indigestion. Some medications may make you vulnerable to indigestion. Do not stop taking your medications or change how you take them without talking to your doctor first. Your doctor will work with you to find a suitable alternative.[12] [13]
    • Nitrates, which are given to widen blood vessels, may weaken the muscle at the bottom of your esophagus. This makes you more vulnerable to acid reflux.
    • Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen may make indigestion worse.
    • If you are unable to change medications, your doctor may advise you to take them with a meal.
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    Stop smoking to reduce indigestion. A muscle at the bottom of your esophagus connects your esophagus to your stomach. That muscle prevents the acid from leaving your stomach and entering your esophagus. Smoking damages it and makes you vulnerable to acid reflux.[14] The chemicals in cigarettes can also give you indigestion. You have many resources available to help you stop smoking. You can:[15]
    • Join a support group or call a hotline when you have a craving
    • Talk to your doctor or an addictions counselor
    • Try nicotine replacement therapy
    • Try residential treatment where you will have 24 hour access to medical and emotional support through doctors, counselors, and peers

Part 3
Controlling Indigestion With Medications and Home Remedies

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    Pop an antacid to stop indigestion when it occurs. These over-the-counter medications neutralize excess stomach acid. This makes the acid less irritating to the lining of your stomach, esophagus, and intestines.
    • If you always get indigestion at the same time of day, like when you go to bed, take one at that time. If your digestion is unpredictable, you can take one whenever you feel the indigestion starting. The relief will probably last 20 minutes to a couple hours.
    • Antacids are widely available at local pharmacies and supermarkets. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, or treating a child.
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    Try an alginate to prevent indigestion. This medication produces a foam in your stomach which blocks your stomach acid from flowing into your esophagus. You take one after you eat to prevent indigestion from happening.[16]
    • Alginates should be taken after you eat because that maximizes their effects. They stay in your stomach longer and are present when you have the most stomach acid.
    • Many antacids also contain an alginate. The information on the packaging will tell you if that is the case.
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    Experiment with home remedies for indigestion. These techniques haven’t been scientifically proven, but some people find them to be helpful. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal remedies or dietary supplements to be sure that they are safe for you. Some may interact with medications.[17][18]
    • Eat oatmeal to absorb excess acid. You can even try eating a spoonful of dry oatmeal.
    • Drink milk to coat the lining of your digestive tract. The milk can help protect it from irritation.
    • Soothe nausea by drinking peppermint tea.
    • Use ginger. Ginger can settle your stomach and reduce nausea. You can use it to make a tea, eat candied ginger, or drink ginger ale.
    • Take artichoke leaf extract. This substance may increase bile.
    • Try STW5. This supplement contains peppermint, bitter candytuft, licorice, and caraway. It is said to reduce the amount of acid your body makes.
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    Ask your doctor about stronger medications for severe indigestion. Your doctor may recommend either over-the-counter medications or prescription strength medications. Talk to your doctor about possible side effects before you start, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. Your doctor may suggest:[19] [20]
    • Antibiotics. This may be necessary if the indigestion is caused by an infection of H. pylori bacteria.
    • Proton pump inhibitors. These medications lower acid production. They are known to interact with medications for epilepsy and blood thinners. Side effects may include rashes, abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, or vomiting.
    • H2-receptor antagonists. These medications reduce the acidity of your stomach acid. They are generally only given after antacids, alginates, and proton pump inhibitors were ineffective.
    • Anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications. This may reduce the discomfort caused by the indigestion.
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    Control indigestion during pregnancy with home remedies. Pregnant women are vulnerable to getting indigestion because of the hormonal changes their bodies are going through, the expanding uterus pressing on the stomach, and the relaxation of the muscle separating the esophagus and the stomach. Home remedies to try include:[21]
    • Sleeping with a glass of milk next to your bed so that you can take sips if you wake up with indigestion.
    • Eating a spoonful of dry oatmeal before bed.
    • Maintaining good posture when eating so that your torso is straight. Good posture will minimize the pressure on your stomach.
    • Eating five or six small meals each day, rather than 3 large ones, which reduces the amount of stomach acid your body must produce to digest a meal.
    • Waiting three hours or longer before laying down for bed after eating. If you do go to bed earlier than that, try propping yourself up on pillows so your head is above your stomach.
    • If you are pregnant and experiencing indigestion, talk to your doctor before you take any medications, even over-the-counter medications.


  • Consult a doctor before taking any medications or herbal supplements if you are pregnant or nursing.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all medications unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

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Categories: Diet & Lifestyle