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What is the difference between indigestion and heartburn?

Indigestion basically means ‘poor digestion’ and describes some sort of disturbance in digestion in the initial stages of digestion (usually in and around the stomach rather than the bowels).

Heartburn is a symptom of indigestion and usually describes the intense, burning feeling (hence the name) in the chest behind the breastbone which occurs as stomach acid travels backwards from the stomach into the oesophagus. Heartburn is usually a result of indigestion and can be so severe people often mistake it for a problem with their heart!

However, indigestion and heartburn are often used interchangeably as indigestion is often used to describe pain or discomfort felt in the upper abdomen.

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