Indigestion, or a feeling of fullness or discomfort after a meal, is a common stomach, or upper abdomen, complaint, and treatment depends on identifying the indigestion's cause, according to WebMD. Most mild cases of indigestion clear up on their own within a few hours. Prevention techniques are the first step in alleviating mild cases of indigestion, also called dyspepsia. If prevention techniques do not work, a doctor may prescribe medication.
WebMD's recommended techniques to prevent indigestion include changing eating and drinking habits, such as eating smaller meals, avoiding acidic foods such as citrus fruit and tomatoes, avoiding caffeine, cutting back on alcohol, not talking too much while eating and eating slowly, relaxing after eating, and not lying down or going to bed until several hours after a meal. Keeping a food journal can help identify indigestion triggers. Since smoking irritates the stomach, smokers should consider quitting or not smoking around meal time. Stress can also aggravate indigestion, so reducing stress through relaxation can help.
Indigestion can be a sign of a serious underlying illness, such as an ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome or chronic pancreatitis, according to WebMD. A doctor's advice is required to rule out a more serious condition, as explained by the Mayo Clinic, if indigestion lasts over two or more weeks or is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, vomiting or blood in vomit, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue, or black or tarry stools. Indigestion can be a symptom of a heart attack, so seek emergency medical attention if indigestion occurs with shortness of breath, sweating, or pain radiating into the neck, head or arm.