Acid Reflux vs Indigestion – Difference and Comparison

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a common digestive disorder when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. Acid reflux can cause many uncomfortable symptoms, such as heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. Certain foods and drinks, such as spicy or fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol, trigger acid reflux. It can also be caused by obesity, pregnancy, and smoking.

Treatment for acid reflux involves lifestyle changes and medications. Proton pump inhibitors and antacids (PPIs) can help reduce stomach acid production and relieve symptoms. Surgery may sometimes be necessary to repair the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) or prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

Untreated acid reflux can result in more severe health problems, such as esophagitis, in which the esophagus becomes inflamed and damaged. It can also increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. It is essential to speak with a healthcare provider if you are experiencing frequent or severe acid reflux symptoms to determine the best course of treatment.

What is Indigestion?      

Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen is a frequent symptom of indigestion, also known as dyspepsia. It can be caused by various factors, including overeating spicy or fatty foods, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Aside from being a side effect of some drugs, indigestion can also signify more serious underlying conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease or ulcers (GERD).

Symptoms of indigestion may include bloating, heartburn, belching, nausea, and feeling full quickly when eating. In most circumstances, indigestion is not a dangerous illness and may be treated by making small, more frequent meals, staying away from foods and beverages that cause it, and avoiding eating late at night. Over-the-counter antacids or acid reducers can also help to alleviate symptoms.

It’s necessary to consult a doctor for a full assessment if you have chronic or severe indigestion and other symptoms like trouble swallowing, unexplained weight loss, or blood in your stool. While indigestion is not a severe condition, it is always a good idea to get any concerning symptoms checked out by a healthcare professional.

Difference Between Acid Reflux and Indigestion

  1. Acid reflux causes symptoms in the upper abdomen, whereas indigestion causes symptoms in the lower abdomen.
  2. Acid reflux causes stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, whereas various factors, like overeating, can cause indigestion.
  3. Acid reflux is accompanied by heartburn, whereas indigestion is accompanied by bloating, nausea, and belching.
  4. Acid reflux is treated with medications that reduce the production of stomach acid, whereas indigestion is treated with over-the-counter antacids and H2 blockers.
  5. Acid reflux can lead to more severe health problems if left untreated, whereas indigestion is a temporary condition that can be relieved with lifestyle changes.

Comparison Between Acid Reflux and Indigestion

Parameter of ComparisonAcid RefluxIndigestion
LocationUpper AbdomenLower Abdomen
CausesFlow of Stomach Acid into the EsophagusOvereating, High-fat, Drinking, Heavy Spices
TypesHeartburn, Chest Pain, Difficulty SwallowingBloating, Nausea, Belching
TreatmentStomach Acid-Reducing Medicines (Antacids, PPIs)Over-the-Counter Antacids, H2 Blockers, Lifestyle Change
SeveritySerious Health IssuesTypically, Temporary