Gastroenterologist Questions Gastroenterologist

What's the difference between heartburn and indigestion?

I am a 27 year old male. I want to know what's the difference between heartburn and indigestion?

5 Answers

Indigestion is a non-medical term used often to describe undiagnosed gastrointestinal symptoms.
There is no general agreement on the meaning of indigestion. It is not a medical term. Heartburn means acid is refluxing into the esophagus and causing burning pain. Indigestion might equate with heartburn, epigastric pain, bloating, belching, etc. If a patient tells me they have indigestion, then I need more detail. I cannot assume I know what they mean.
Really not much difference, the bottom line is you are not digesting your food well probably due to a lack of enzymes. This happens as we age, when we are not eating the best diet in the world or if we are really stressed out. It's very easy to fix, however, taking a good healthy enzyme with every meal can help eliminate these symptoms very quickly.
Both of these entities are descriptive terms. Neither word is truly a "medical condition", though they are both often used by patients to describe their symptoms. Generally, "heartburn" refers to a burning sensation that is related to stomach acid refluxing and washing up from the stomach into the esophagus. This will often feel like a burning discomfort in the chest and stomach. The word "indigestion" is often used by patients to describe sensation of abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating, and fullness. Sometimes indigestion can lead to sensation of heartburn, and in that way they may be related. Both symptoms can be managed medically and sometimes require evaluation by a gastroenterologist.
Heartburn is typically manifested as burning, or pain in the area behind the breast bone. Indigestion is more like a combination of burning or discomfort with nausea in the upper abdomen often accompanied by increased salivation or belching. Heartburn my also have certain elements in common with indigestion