indigestion or dyspepsia, discomfort during or after eating caused by some interference with the normal digestive process. Symptoms include nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, gas distress, and a feeling of abdominal distention. Common indigestion may be a result of poor eating habits, including eating too much or too rapidly, eating during emotional upsets, and swallowing large amounts of air. Excessive smoking may also be a factor. Certain foods and drinks may contribute to indigestion, including such gas-forming vegetables as beans, cabbage, and onions, as well as foods with a high fat content and carbonated or alcoholic beverages. Constipation may also be a cause. Indigestion may be a symptom of such conditions as ulcers and gall bladder inflammation. Persistent indigestion should be diagnosed by a physician.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.