Difference Between Acid Reflux and Indigestion (With Table)

Acid reflux is a state characterized by burning pain. The condition results in the throat and esophagus getting immense acid. 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 medical, the condition is known as dyspepsia.

The condition is caused by overeating. But it can also be caused by drinking alcohol, smoking, stress, and pregnancy. Indigestion causes physical discomfort, low-grade pain, or nausea.

Acid Reflux vs Indigestion

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

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


Comparison Table Between Acid Reflux and Indigestion (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of Comparison




It is an alkylamine and exhibits optical isomerism

It consists of stereo-isomers of types L and D


Synthesis 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)


In adults, the half-life of elimination ranges from 13.9 to 43.4 hours

In adults, the half-life of elimination ranges between 6.5 and 10 hours

Side Effects

Side effects include but not limited to dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, nausea

Side effects include but not limited to headache, drowsiness, fatigue

Drug Administration

It 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 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 by when stomach acid regurgitates back to the food pipe. Most often acid reflux occurs after eating. This condition affects all ages and at times it is caused by lifestyle.

Eating large meals, alcohol, caffeine, and high intake of table salt are food and dietary habits that cause acid reflux. Pregnancy is also associated to cause 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 main 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, early fulfillment during a meal are some symptoms of indigestion. Nausea, burning in the upper abdomen, and uncomfortable fullness after meals.  To help overcome this condition, change the lifestyle, and eat a balanced diet. Lemon water, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint tea are home remedies that can provide quick relief to 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 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, some antibiotics, pain relievers, and iron supplements also causes indigestion.

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


Acid reflux can cause complications including increased risk of cancer. If the esophagus is exposed to stomach acid for long can lead to Esophagitis. This is a condition where the lining of the esophagus is inflamed resulting in bleeding, 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 esophagus. 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 with for years. It can even last for a lifetime.


Acid reflux can be treated by antacids like Mylanta which neutralizes stomach acid. Medicines that lower acid and blocks acid production will help get rid of acid reflux. The treatment of indigestion varies from avoiding spicy foods, alcohol, and quit smoking. Avoiding late-night meals, drinking beverages after meals, and not eating too fast will help not to experience indigestion.



There is a great deal of discomfort and pain that you will experience where you are having acid reflux or indigestion. But you can manage them both by changing the eating habits.

The use of medications can also help to ease the pain or get rid of the conditions. Some symptoms of both conditions are similar while others are not shared.

For instance, gassy episodes are common in indigestion suffers and the same is also experienced in acid reflux suffers.

Despite making lifestyle changes, changing the diet but still, if the symptoms persist seek the doctor’s attention. 



  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