Difference Between Acid Reflux and Indigestion

Acid reflux is a state characterized by burning pain. The condition results in the throat and oesophagus getting immense acid.


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The acid is produced by the stomach and causes a burning effect.

You can ease the burning effect using antacids medicine which neutralizes the acid. Indigestion is the pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen.

In medicine, the condition is known as dyspepsia.

The condition is caused by overeating. But it can also be caused by alcohol, smoking, stress, and pregnancy.

Indigestion causes physical discomfort, low-grade pain, or nausea.

Key Takeaways

  1. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn, chest pain, and other symptoms. At the same time, indigestion is a general term for discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen due to difficulty digesting food.
  2. Acid reflux is a specific medical condition (also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD), whereas indigestion (dyspepsia) can have multiple causes, including overeating, stress, or an underlying gastrointestinal issue.
  3. Treatment for acid reflux often involves lifestyle changes and medication to reduce stomach acid production. In contrast, indigestion treatment depends on the underlying cause and may include antacids, dietary changes, or stress management.

Acid Reflux vs Indigestion

The difference between acid reflux and indigestion is that acid reflux occurs when acid produced by the stomach flows up into the oesophagus. Indigestion is a persistent or recurring pain in the upper abdomen.

Acid Reflux vs Indigestion

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In most individuals, indigestion occurs intermittently and it’s chronic. Rennie can help ease the discomfort caused by indigestion.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonChlorphenamineCetirizine
ChemistryIt is an alkylamine and exhibits optical isomerismIt consists of stereo-isomers of types L and D
SynthesisSynthesis is done in the presence of an inorganic compound called sodium amide (NaNH2)Synthesis is done in the presence of an inorganic compound called sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and an isomer called xylene (C8H10)
Half-lifeIn adults, the half-life of elimination ranges from 13.9 to 43.4 hoursIn adults, the half-life of elimination ranges between 6.5 and 10 hours
Side EffectsSide effects include but are not limited to dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, and nausea.Side effects include but are not limited to headache, drowsiness, fatigue
Drug AdministrationIt can be administered either by mouth or intravenous or intramuscular or as subcutaneous injections depending on the condition and requirement of an individual.It can be administered only by mouth in the form of a capsule or tablet, or syrup.


What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is also known as heartburn, pyrosis, or acid ingestion. The condition is common and characterized by burning pain in the lower chest pain.

The pain is brought when stomach acid regurgitates back to the food pipe. Most often, acid reflux occurs after eating.

This condition affects all ages and is sometimes caused by lifestyle.

Eating large meals, alcohol, caffeine, and a high intake of table salt are food and dietary habits that cause acid reflux. Pregnancy is also associated with causing acid reflux because of the extra pressure on the internal organs.

Bloating, burping, nausea, and hiccups that don’t let up are symptoms of acid reflux. Other symptoms include weight loss for no reason.

Wheezing, dry cough, and chronic sore throat.

If you experience acid reflux more often, H2 blockers or PPIs are the primary treatment.

They both decrease the production of acid. They also lower the damage caused by acid reflux.


What is Indigestion?

Indigestion is a phrase that explains the discomfort caused in the upper abdomen. This condition is a symptom and not a disease.

Indigestion is associated with abdominal pain and feeling full after you start eating. This condition is brought about by overeating or eating too fast. Fatty, greasy, and spicy foods are also associated with causing indigestion.

Side effects of medications, too much alcohol, and smoking also cause this condition.

Bloating in the upper abdomen and early fulfilment during a meal are some symptoms of indigestion—nausea, burning in the upper stomach, and uncomfortable fullness after meals. 

To help overcome this condition, change your lifestyle, and eat a balanced diet.

Lemon water, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint tea are home remedies that can quickly relieve indigestion.


Main Differences Between Acid Reflux and Indigestion


Acid reflux is caused by being obese, eating large meals, and lying on your back immediately after eating a heavy meal. It is also caused by eating onions, garlic, citrus, mint, or spicy foods.

Eating snacks almost at bedtime and lying down right after a meal causes acid reflux. Indigestion is caused by anxiety, smoking, overeating, or eating too fast. Fatty, greasy or spicy food, antibiotics, pain relievers, and iron supplements also cause indigestion.

Too much chocolate or carbonated drinks, caffeine, and alcohol are also common causes of this condition.


Acid reflux can cause complications, including an increased risk of cancer. If the oesophagus is exposed to stomach acid for long can lead to Esophagitis.

This is a condition where the lining of the oesophagus is inflamed, resulting in bleeding and irritation.

In some cases, it causes ulceration. Indigestion can cause pyloric stenosis. This is where the stomach acid causes long-term irritation of the lining of the digestive system.


Acid reflux is a condition that causes burning pain in the lower chest area. It occurs when the stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus.

Indigestion is a symptom experienced that includes the feeling of fullness soon after you start eating and abdominal pain.


Acid reflux is a condition that will last for an hour, two, or more, depending on the cause. Once appropriate measures are taken, it fades away. Indigestion is a chronic condition in which sufferers can live for years.

It can even last for a lifetime.


Antacids can treat acid reflux like Mylanta, which neutralizes stomach acid. Medicines that lower acid and block acid production will help eliminate acid reflux.

The treatment of indigestion varies from avoiding spicy foods and alcohol, and quit smoking. Avoiding late-night meals, drinking beverages after meals, and not eating too fast will help not to experience indigestion.

Difference Between Acid Reflux and Indigestion
  1. https://www.jhltonline.org/article/S1053-2498(09)00421-5/fulltext
  2. https://www.agedcaretests.com/Gastrointestinal_Symptom_Rating_Scale_(GSRS)_SAMPLE.pdf
  3. https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/323/7324/1294.full.pdf
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