You’ve had too much to eat and it’s made you feel tired and sleepy. In fact, you think you might just have a little lie down. Then it happens - a painful, burning sensation starts up in your chest.

A lot of people, about 40%, will suffer from heartburn or other discomforts of indigestion. It can be brought on by simple things like eating too much or too quickly. Bending or lying down after eating can also have something to do with it.

Bloating, wind, heartburn, stomach pain and cramps are all common signs of indigestion. Some people get indigestion a lot. The good news is that this isn’t something you have to put up with. By making just a few simple lifestyles changes you can usually stop indigestion for good.

We hope that reading this brochure will give you a better understanding of what causes your indigestion and provide some helpful tips on how to prevent it.

Is it indigestion?

A bloated stomach, gas and frequent burping aren’t signs of normal digestion. In fact, together with stomach aches and cramps, these are all good indications that you’ve got indigestion.

Heartburn is a common digestion problem. You’ll know you’ve got it if you feel:

- A painful, burning feeling in the back of your chest. Sometimes this will move up to the back of your throat.

- The feeling of a lump deep in your throat

- An acidic, sour or bitter taste in your mouth

What causes indigestion?

The way you eat can be a major cause of indigestion. Eating large meals quickly means that your stomach has to work overtime to try to digest everything. To cope, your stomach usually responds by producing extra stomach acid which can lead to indigestion symptoms.

Heartburn has to do with this stomach acid and the functioning of your sphincter (the muscle’s ring in your stomach). When you chew food and swallow it, your sphincter relaxes to allow food and liquid to pass through into your stomach. Occasionally, the sphincter relaxes again and stomach acid flows back through your oesophagus, even if you’re in an upright position. The acid backup is worse when you’re bent over or lying down. This is called ‘reflux’ and feels like a burning sensation behind the breastbone.