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Indigestion – Common Causes of Indigestion

Updated on December 3, 2015

What is indigestion?

Everybody suffers from indigestion from time to time. People of all ages suffer from this condition – whether you are young or old, you can suffer from indigestion. And in this article we are going to learn about the causes of indigestion. But before we take a look at that, we are going to take a moment to get to understand what indigestion actually is.

What is indigestion?

Another name for indigestion is dyspepsia. You should therefore not get confused when you come across the word “dyspepsia”; it basically means the same as indigestion.

As the name implies, indigestion relates to the improper digestion of food in your body. But what indigestion really means is this – the condition or situation when you feel great discomfort in your upper abdomen because acid from your stomach is irritating the lining of your stomach and your oesophagus or gullet. The acid from the stomach can also irritate the upper part of a person’s bowel during a bout of indigestion.

Many are of the assumption that indigestion is a disease, but according to health experts, indigestion is never a disease.

Common symptoms of indigestion (dyspepsia)

When you are suffering from indigestion, the most common symptoms that you experience include any or all of the following:

  • You experience pain in the abdomen.
  • You instantly experience a feeling of fullness or discomfort after eating a meal. Sometimes this feeling of fullness or discomfort can be experienced even while eating.
  • You might feel a burning sensation in your upper stomach.
  • Indigestion can make you feel bloated.
  • When indigestion sets in, you experience nausea and might begin vomiting.
  • Many people suffering from indigestion also tend to suffer from too much gas and belching.
  • The stomach begins to growl.
  • Acidic taste in the mouth occurs.

The above are some of the most common symptoms of indigestion. According to doctors, the symptoms of indigestion get worse with stress and depression.

Now that we have taken a look at what indigestion is and the symptoms associated with it, let us quickly turn our attention to the causes of indigestion.

Common causes of indigestion

What causes indigestion (dyspepsia)?

There are so many things that can cause indigestion in a person. Some of the causes of indigestion include things such as the person’s lifestyle, the medication that the person is on, or a disease that the person is suffering from. But of all these, doctors say that it is mainly a person’s lifestyle that causes indigestion.

Without further ado, let us take a look at the most common causes of indigestion. And they are as follow:

  • Consumption of too much acidic food – when you eat too much acidic food, you dramatically increase your chances of suffering from indigestion. We already know that acid that is released from your stomach is what contributes towards indigestion. It is therefore obvious that eating too much acidic foods will contribute massively towards making you suffer from indigestion.
  • Overeating – indigestion can also be caused by eating too much food. When you eat more food than your body can take, you make yourself prone to suffering from indigestion because the body struggles to digest the food.
  • Eating too fast – when you eat your meals too fast you can also suffer from indigestion. The reason eating too fast can cause indigestion is simply because the body struggles to digest the food, thereby leading to digestion problems.
  • Improper chewing of food – food is supposed to be chewed properly in order for digestion to take place smoothly. When you therefore decide not to chew your food well, then you increase your risks of suffering from indigestion.
  • Cigarette smoking can also cause indigestion. This is why smokers often experience indigestion problems.
  • Lack of exercise is also a contributory factor in indigestion. According to health experts, regular exercise enables digestion to properly take place and keeps the body healthy.
  • Too much alcohol consumption also contributes towards indigestion.
  • Sometimes emotional upsets such as anger, stress or anxiety while eating can end up causing indigestion in a person.
  • Eating too much high-fat foods also contribute towards indigestion.
  • Too much consumption of caffeine also causes indigestion.
  • Chocolate and carbonated drinks can also lead to indigestion if they are consumed excessively.
  • Bad posture during eating is also another thing which when you do can easily cause you to suffer from indigestion.
  • When you sleep soon after eating a heavy meal, you make yourself prone to suffering from indigestion.

Diseases and indigestion

Certain diseases can also result in indigestion. Some of the diseases that cause indigestion include the following:

  • Peptic ulcers – peptic ulcers are open sores right inside the lining of the stomach or the small intestine. The peptic ulcer comes about as a result of the stomach acid destroying the lining of the stomach. People who suffer from peptic ulcer tend to suffer a lot from indigestion.
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) – this is a disease that is caused by acid from the stomach destroying the lining of the oesophagus. Here, acid from the stomach moves from the stomach into the oesophagus and damages its lining. GORD is one of the major causes of indigestion brought on by disease.
  • Constipation - this is another common cause of indigestion. Many people who suffer from constipation frequently experience bouts of indigestion too.
  • Gallstones – gallstones is basically when stones form in the gall bladder. If you have this condition, then you have an increased your risk of experiencing frequent bouts of indigestion.
  • Stomach cancer (but this is very rare)
  • Hiatus hernia – this is a condition that is caused as a result of a defect in your diaphragm. Hiatus hernia forces the upper part of the stomach to push into the diaphragm. This disorder prevents the oesophageal sphincter from functioning normally. When the oesophageal sphincter fails to function properly, then the acid from the stomach can travel into the oesophagus and cause heartburn.
  • Gastritis – this is a disease that makes the inside of the sufferer’s stomach to become swollen resulting in a burning pain.
  • Gastroparesis – this is an illness that many diabetics suffer from. Gastroparesis makes the full emptying of the stomach very difficult.
  • Intestinal ischemia – this is the technical name for the illness that causes a reduction of the flow of blood in the intestine.
  • Stomach infections also normally lead to indigestion.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome - this is a disorder that affects the large intestine and causes immense abdominal pain and bloating.
  • Obesity – people who suffer from obesity are more likely to experience more incidents of indigestion than people who are not overweight. The reason obesity normally causes indigestion is because the excess fat tends to put quite an enormous amount of pressure in the abdomen, which can cause the oesophageal sphincter to open and cause acid reflux.

Medications can also cause indigestion

There are certain types of medications that can cause indigestion when taken. Some of these medications include the following:

  • Many pain killers such as aspirin when taken can easily cause indigestion
  • Many steroid medications can also cause indigestion in individuals that take them
  • Antibiotics can also affect the digestive tract and lead to indigestion
  • Oral contraceptives can also disturb the digestive tract and cause indigestion in certain females
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines also contribute towards causing indigestion because they can easily disturb the digestive tract.

Beyond the above medications, there are several other medicines that can cause indigestion or worsen an incident of indigestion in a person.

NOTE: You have just been told that certain medications lead to indigestions, but this does not mean you should stop taking these medications. You should never stop taking any medication prescribed by your doctor except under the advice of your doctor.

If indigestion is not caused by a disease or medication, then you can prevent it by making certain changes to your lifestyle such as the following:

  • Engaging in regular exercises
  • Avoid eating foods that contain excessive amounts of fats or oil
  • Reduce the amount of acidic foods that you eat
  • Properly chew your food whenever you are eating
  • Do not smoke cigarettes because they will not only cause you indigestion but they will also destroy your health and kill you prematurely
  • Avoid eating more than necessary
  • Reduce your weight, for obesity causes indigestion

Have you suffered from indigestion in the last few weeks?

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I can remember a few times when my indigestion was caused by medication. Great topic and well covered!