Indigestion several hours after eating may be caused by different conditions. For example, most food intolerances don't develop symptoms until a few hours after you've consumed a food that you're unable to digest. Any time you experience consistent symptoms, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Indigestion may be a sign of a more serious condition that without a diagnosis could go untreated.
Indigestion is the feeling of fullness or burning in your chest that occurs while you're eating or a few hours afterwards. Indigestion may occur for any reason, and at times the cause may be undetermined. Indigestion is a common symptom that can occur on occasion, but it becomes concerning whenever it is a daily part of life. Overeating, eating too fast and eating foods that are spicy or fatty can cause indigestion. Most indigestion is the result of excess acid that affects the back of your throat and your chest.
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According to the American College of Gastroenterology food intolerance symptoms typically take a few hours to develop after you eat a food that you have difficulty digesting. Food intolerance includes lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance and intolerances towards food additives. Lactose is sugar found in dairy products that may cause digestive difficulty for some people. Symptoms of lactose intolerance can set in as soon as 30 minutes after consuming diary, but it could take up to two hours for symptoms to manifest. Fructose intolerance is the inability of your body to break down and absorb fructose, the sugar found in fruit. Food additives can trigger a chemical reaction in your body that could take a few hours to develop as symptoms of indigestion.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD, is a digestive condition that occurs when the contents of the stomach leak back up into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. The harsh chemicals and acids in your stomach can cause heartburn, pain and discomfort hours after you eat. The backflow causes irritation to the lining of the esophagus and can expose the soft tissue underneath. PubMed Health states that most treatment focuses on avoiding caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes, citrus fruits and other foods.
In some cases, indigestion may develop a few hours after you eat due to underlying gallbladder disease. Gallbladder disease occurs when your gallbladder becomes inflamed, develops stones or sludge. Although 90 percent of gallbladder disease doesn't produce any symptoms, you may develop chronic heartburn, bloating and gas.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.