What are the Most Common Causes of Upset Stomach and Indigestion?

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  • Written By: D. Waldman
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 25 January 2020
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Upset stomach and indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, can be caused by a variety of conditions. In most cases, the symptoms may be triggered by eating too much food, consuming specific types of food, particularly those that are spicy or high in fat, or drinking too many carbonated beverages. Stomach issues and indigestion can also be side effects of more serious conditions, including acid reflux and ulcers.

The most frequent causes of both symptoms involve overeating. When a person eats too quickly, his stomach is unable to tell his brain that it is full in time, and more food is consumed than needed. When the stomach becomes overfilled, abdominal pains and nausea are common. By eating slowly and waiting in between additional portions of food, the stomach has ample time to send the message to the brain that it is full, thereby curbing further eating and avoiding the side effects that overeating can cause.


Both upset stomach and indigestion can also result from the types of food a person eats rather than the quantity in which they are eaten. Many people have natural aversions to certain foods which are spicy in nature, high in fat, extremely salty, or high in fiber content. While they may be able to handle these types of food in small quantities, even moderate servings can lead to heartburn and other stomach problems. In these cases, it is best to eliminate the types of foods known to cause an indigestion and an upset stomach from the diet. If a person enjoys certain foods, even though they may not sit well in the stomach, there are several over-the-counter products that can be taken before a meal that can help to reduce the side effects the foods normally cause.

With regards to carbonated beverages, the carbonation in the drink is a form of gas. When excess carbonated beverages are consumed, the gas tends to build up in the stomach, often creating a bloating effect. In these cases, the gas slowly expands, creating an uncomfortable bloating feeling that may lead to upset stomach and indigestion.

The discomfort caused by an upset stomach and indigestion is unpleasant, but typically occurs on an infrequent basis and fades rather quickly. In cases where the symptoms are being triggered by a more serious underlying cause, such as an ulcer or acid reflux, an upset stomach and indigestion may become a part of daily life. When the underlying causes are treated properly, the other side effects should begin to fade as well. There are times when prescription medication and a restricted diet are needed in order to keep the symptoms in check.


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Post 2

I've heard that a lot of stomach problems are triggered when meals are eaten in the wrong order. Lighter foods like salads should be eaten first, since they get digested faster than heavier meals like meat and carb-heavy side dishes. If you eat something heavy and then have a salad, the salad ingredients will supposedly turn to gas in your stomach and have nowhere to go. That's why some people experience bloating and stomach cramps.

I've noticed I'll experience an upset stomach and indigestion if I eat a fourth meal just before bedtime.

Post 1

I found that cutting way back on carbonated beverages helped reduce my stomach problems, like gas and acid reflux. I had no idea how acidic sodas were until I stopped drinking them with every meal. I still get stomach aches and pains from time to time, but it's nothing like it used to be.

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