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Dyspepsia

Chronic indigestion

Indigestion, particularly heartburn, is a common condition said to affect one in three of us each month

About dyspepsia

Dyspepsia, also known as chronic indigestion, refers to many different symptoms that cause discomfort or pain in the upper abdominal regions, such as the top part of your bowel (duodenum) or food pipe (oesophagus). The most common cause of dyspepsia is an excessive production of stomach acid or an over-sensitivity to this acid.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of dyspepsia icon plus

    Symptoms may include:

    • excessive belching
    • bloating
    • fullness
    • stomach pains
    • nausea, or even vomiting after eating

    There are a number of factors that are thought to make the symptoms worse including increased air swallowing, poor relaxation of the stomach after eating, a high-fat diet, alcohol and fizzy drinks, obesity, stress, certain infections, stomach ulcers, a hiatus hernia and some medications.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    The most common test for dyspepsia is an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. In this test a flexible telescope is passed via your mouth into your stomach and small intestine. It is usually performed using a local anaesthetic throat spray to numb your gag reflex and sometimes with sedation. The test takes around ten minutes once started. Biopsies are taken at the same time. An endoscopy is undertaken as a day case and, if having sedation, involves being in hospital for about two hours. Other tests include an ultrasound or CT scan of your abdomen or the barium swallow test, where you swallow an x-ray contrast to give images of your upper intestine.
  • Potential indigestion treatment options icon plus

    Treatments vary depending on the severity of your symptoms, but include:

    • simple steps such as altering your diet or losing weight
    • over-the-counter medications including antacids to reduce your amount of stomach acid
    • if the indigestion is being caused by a bacterial infection stronger antacids or antibiotics may be prescribed by your consultant
    • anti-reflux surgery

    If lifestyle changes and medications fail to relieve your symptoms, your consultant may recommend surgery. This involves creating a more effective valve between your oesophagus and stomach, called fundoplication. It is performed laparoscopically (as keyhole surgery).

Consultant with patient

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex gastrointestinal surgery to investigative procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • Gastroenterology Unit  (GI)

    The Wellington Hospital Gastroenterology Unit

    21 Wellington Road

    St Johns Wood

    London  NW8 9SQ

    Appointments & Enquiries 020 3214 3420

  • The Princess Grace Hospital Entrance

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 7908 8001
    Enquiries 020 7486 1234

  • London Bridge Hospital

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments & Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773

  • Hero-facility-LDH-group-579x579

    London Digestive Health

    2nd Floor

    41 Welbeck Street

    London W1G 8DU

    Call 020 7616 7645
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8.30am - 7pm

  • Male-receptionist-greets-male-visitor

    London Digestive Centre

    41 Welbeck Street

    London

    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 7908 8003
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm

  • London Digestive Health

    London Digestive Surgery

    41 Welbeck Street

    London

    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 3131 5319
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
    All of our upper GI and colorectal consultant are at our Chiswick clinic on Saturdays

  • london-digestion-centre-london-bridge

    London Digestion

    HCA UK at The Shard

    32 St Thomas Street

    London SE1 9BS

    Appointments & enquiries 020 7403 3814

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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