ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What causes Indigestion?

Updated on May 2, 2011

Indigestion is a nonmedical term commonly used to describe any discomfort following eating. Among the most common types of discomfort are heartburn (a burning pain in the middle of the chest), nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. Often these symptoms are due to insignificant causes, but sometimes they are signs of specific underlying diseases. If indigestion persists or worsens, its cause should be diagnosed by a physician.

Heartburn, for example, may be caused by a hiatus hernia, a trans-location of a part of the stomach into the chest, which allows a backup of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Stomach Disorders

Indigestion may be caused by various specific disorders of the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine. The three most common causes of indigestion arising from the stomach are the swallowing of large amounts of air, intolerance to drugs, and ulcers.

The swallowing of large amounts of air during eating causes a bloated feeling that is usually not completely relieved by belching. Intolerance to drugs, mainly aspirin, may cause pain due to an irritation and possibly a superficial ulceration of the stomach lining. Deeper ulcers in the stomach wall (as well as in the wall of the first segment of the small intestine) usually result from the production of excess acid in the stomach.

The discomfort produced by such ulcers often occurs about 1 hour after eating and it is relieved by eating again or by drinking milk.

Intestinal Disorders

Discomfort arising from the small intestine is often caused by viruses or bacteria entering the digestive system. Cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever are often caused by such infections. Cramps and diarrhea after eating may be caused by a chronic inflammation of the small intestine (regional enteritis) and by an inability to digest milk (lactose insufficiency).

Sometimes the early stages of appendicitis may cause a vague, mid-abdominal crampy sensation that is mistaken for indigestion. Diverticulosis, the presence of outpouchings of the lining of the large intestine, may produce no symptoms at all, but if the pouches become inflamed (diverticulitis), they may cause fever and pain in the lower left section of the abdomen.

Spastic colon, a condition that is caused by excessive contractions of the large intestine and is often worsened by eating or by nervous tension, may produce cramps and nausea. Ulcerative colitis, a more serious condition, produces cramps and may also cause bloody diarrhea and fever.

Other Causes of Indigestion

In addition to disorders of the digestive tract itself, disorders of the accessory digestive organs may cause indigestion. Gall stones, for example, may lead to abdominal discomfort after the eating of fried or fatty foods, and if a stone lodges in the duct leading from the gallbladder, the inflammation of the gallbladder produces pain in the back and upper right section of the abdomen. Two diseases of the liver (cirrhosis and hepatitis) may cause nausea during their early stages.

Various generalized diseases may also affect any one of the digestive organs and produce discomfort, diarrhea, and other symptoms of indigestion.

These include malignant growths, the formation of scar tissue following surgery, and emotional tension, which may either worsen or be the primary cause of some of these symptoms of indigestion.

Have you ever suffered from indigestion?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)