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What Causes Indigestion?

Nausea, heartburn, and other symptoms of indigestion may affect up to 30% of Americans. Indigestion is a symptom, not a condition, and has many causes. If you receive chemotherapy, your doctor may tell you about experiencing indigestion as a side effect. Fortunately, we can help you manage indigestion regardless of the cause. 

What is Indigestion?

Indigestion, also called dyspepsia, usually happens after eating a meal, although it can occur at other times. Your doctor may diagnose indigestion if you have symptoms like:

  • Feeling excessively full
  • Heartburn (acid reflux)
  • Bloating and gas
  • Nausea
  • Discomfort or burning in the upper abdomen

Indigestion can develop for many different reasons. The diagnosis and management of your indigestion depend on its underlying cause. 

Ibs & Gastrointestinal Disorders Tucson

What Causes Indigestion?

Many people develop indigestion due to lifestyle factors, medical conditions, and medications. If you experience indigestion during chemotherapy, talk to your doctor to help manage it. 

Lifestyle Factors

Your lifestyle may play a significant role in your indigestion. Factors that make indigestion more likely include:

  • Overeating or eating too fast
  • Greasy, fatty, or spicy foods
  • Caffeine and carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Stress or anxiety

Medical Conditions

Many medical conditions can cause indigestion. It is a common symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcers, and many other digestive system concerns. Treating the medical condition can improve your symptoms. We can help you manage complex medical conditions, including IBS, to help you achieve relief. 


Many medications and even supplements can cause indigestion. During your consultation, we will review all the medications you take. Indigestion and other digestive problems are common side effects of chemotherapy. If you have chemotherapy that may cause indigestion, your doctor can prescribe medications to help manage it. 

Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Indigestion?

Chemotherapy drugs usually work by interfering with rapidly dividing cells. They target cancer cells, but they also affect healthy cells. The cells that line your digestive system also divide rapidly. As a result, that lining can become damaged and irritated. If indigestion makes you uncomfortable during treatment, make sure to talk to your doctor. 


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

How Will My Doctor Treat My Indigestion?

Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of the two. You can often achieve some relief by:

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals
  • Avoiding triggering foods
  • Resting or sleeping with your head elevated
  • Avoiding caffeinated or carbonated drinks

Your doctor can treat indigestion in many ways depending on the cause. We offer extensive diagnostic testing to precisely identify the underlying causes of your indigestion. These results will let us develop a customized treatment plan to manage your symptoms and treat the underlying causes. 


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about indigestion? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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