Are Painful Indigestion And Heartburn The Same?

By Kathryn Whittaker

If you think that painful indigestion and heartburn are the same thing, then you are wrong, but not alone. In fact the two are not the same at all, and require different treatment and attention. The following is a basic overview.

Understanding The Differences

While heartburn and painful indigestion are related, they are not the same. The truth is that heartburn is merely one symptom of the larger problem known as indigestion. Having indigestion, then, does not necessarily mean you have heartburn. It does not exclude you from having heartburn, but often indigestion appears without this specific symptom.

The first thing we need to do is figure out exactly what indigestion is. Indigestion can be hard to describe, but generally is viewed as discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen or chest. Nausea, bloating, and flatulence are some common symptoms that are associated with indigestion.

What are the Causes?


So just what causes painful indigestion and heartburn? Heartburn, for starters, can be caused by eating too much too fast. Other causes of heartburn include eating fatty or spicy foods and drinking alcohol.

Since heartburn is a symptom of indigestion, all of the previously mentioned causes can be associated with indigestion as well. Additionally, gastritis, smoking, ulcers of the duodenum, gastric ulcers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs can all act as triggers for causing painful indigestion.

What are the Symptoms?

Heartburn is one symptom of indigestion. Heartburn can be described as a persistent burning feeling in the chest. Some other associated symptoms are nausea, flatulence, and the loss of appetite. Anyone who is experiencing painful indigestion, rather than moderate discomfort, should see a doctor to make sure it isnt a more serious problem.

If you experience indigestion for the first time over the age of 45 this is somewhat unusual, and may require the consultation of a medical professional. If you have lost significant weight unexpectedly, this also may require a visit to the doctor. If you are coughing up fluid (especially blood) then it is best to see a doctor immediately.

Continue reading to discover preventative tips for reducing heartburn and indigestion and to sign up for the free acid reflux, heartburn and GERD newsletter below.

Preventative Action

Here are some simple rules to help reduce or eliminate heartburn:

Eat Less it is a good idea to eat less, though this doesnt mean you have to starve yourself. But when you start to feel full, just stop eating. If you have to eat more often as a result, so be it.

Eat Slower dont rush your food, as this is a good way to trigger indigestion. Take your time while youre eating, and pause between bites, sipping water as needed.

Avoid Certain Foods avoid the foods that naturally bring about acid reflux or heartburn. Lists of these foods can be readily obtained by doing a simple web search. So find the list, and cut these foods out.

Dont Smoke or Drink it is best to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol when possible. Both are triggers for indigestion.

Just because heartburn and painful indigestion are common problems, doesnt mean you have to live with them. Follow the simple tips above, and you can be well on your way to eliminating the problem.

About the Author: By Kathryn Whittaker. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for tackling Acid Reflux, Heartburn and GERD head-on and discover more about

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