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What Are the Most Common Causes of Indigestion?

By Jeri Sullivan
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Indigestion, which is the inability to digest food, may cause pain and bloating if not properly treated. The most common causes of indigestion are reflux, ulcers, food allergies or overeating, and stress. Medication and diet modification are often prescribe to reduce or prevent the symptoms of indigestion. Individuals who are experiencing indigestion can also rely on Supergreens to help with their ailment. Supergreens contain ingredients that help aid digestion, such as burdock root and dandelion powder.

Reflux, which is also known as dyspepsia, is a condition that causes bloating, heartburn, belching, gas, and acid regurgitation and can adversely affect a person's ability to digest food appropriately. Severe indigestion may also be diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is caused when the stomach acids back up into the esophagus and cause burning in the chest. A doctor may prescribe an indigestion remedy such as prescription antacids. If the situation is serious enough, surgery to strengthen the flap leading from the stomach to the esophagus may be required.

Another one of the major causes of indigestion is stomach ulcers. When there is excess acid produced by the stomach, a buildup occurs and the lining may become damaged. Sores form which cause pain in both the abdomen and other parts of the digestive track. Ulcers are often found in patients who also suffer from reflux, and the combination causes pain and heartburn.

Food allergies and overeating are the most common causes of indigestion. When too much food is consumed in a short period, the digestive tract has a hard time breaking down the food. A feeling of uncomfortable fullness may result and excessive belching or gas are also common symptoms. For food allergies, the digestive system does not contain the enzymes required to break the food into small enough particles to use for fuel. When this occurs, the body is unable to absorb the proper nutrients from the food and the upset to the digestive tract that occurs may cause diarrhea.

If food allergies or overeating are causes of a patient's indigestion, the doctor may request a diet modification. Foods that aggravate the indigestion symptoms are eliminated and replaced with foods that are easier to digest. Smaller more frequent meals are suggested instead of three large meals per day. By eating smaller meals more often, the digestive tract does not get overwhelmed.

Stress is one of the causes of indigestion that may be the hardest to control. When a patient suffers from a high amount of stress over extended periods of time, it may manifest itself in indigestion and other physical symptoms. Once diagnosed, doctors often suggest the patient find ways to eliminate their stress through coping techniques and medication.

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Discussion Comments

By Mykol — On Jun 14, 2012

I have noticed a big difference in my indigestion by taking a probiotic supplement every day. This helps me break down and digest the food I am eating.

I know there are many causes of severe indigestion and just adding one supplement like this might not help if you have severe problems. My problems were just an annoying feeling of my stomach not feeling right after I ate.

I tried eating one yogurt a day to see if that would help, but really didn't notice a difference until I added the supplement. If I forget to take my probiotic for a couple of weeks, I really miss it.

For me, I don't think my indigestion was because of the type of food I was eating, but that my body just needed to be able to break it down better.

By SarahSon — On Jun 13, 2012

Ever since I can remember I would have periods of stomach indigestion and bloating. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out I was lactose intolerant.

Even though I have not been officially tested for this, I have a pretty good idea this was my problem. Every time I would eat something that contained dairy, I would have digestion problems.

This includes ice cream, milk and cheese. Once in awhile, I can get by with eating a little bit of it, but if I eat too much, my stomach immediately starts to bother me.

I think this is something that people are more aware of today than they were years ago. I wish I had figured this out sooner as I could have avoided these foods and not felt so miserable.

Anytime there are causes of chronic indigestion, it is such a relief to figure out what is causing it. Sometimes I get a craving for an ice cream cone, but when I think about how bad my stomach will hurt, I usually go with something else that doesn't contain dairy.

By LisaLou — On Jun 13, 2012
I love to eat good food and look forward to holiday meals when I know there will be a lot of food there. My causes of acid indigestion are stuffing myself and overeating.

Even though I know I will probably feel miserable later, I have a hard time not sampling a little bit of everything. If I know I am going to be eating a huge meal or going to a buffet, I will take an antacid ahead of time.

By doing this, I can eliminate most of the indigestion pain. The times I forget to take something, I can tell a big difference. I will usually carry some of these with me in my purse, but get the best results if I take them before eating a big meal.

By golf07 — On Jun 12, 2012

I had several instances where my stomach was bloated and I had severe indigestion. When I went to the doctor they initially thought it was my gallbladder.

The tests for that turned out negative, so I was scheduled for an edoscopy where they used a scope to check out my esophagus and stomach. The endoscopy showed that I had chronic gastritis which was the cause of my problems.

Since I have frequent headaches, I had taken a lot of ibuprofen which is hard on the stomach and caused the indigestion. I had to switch to a different pain reliever and began taking a prescription to heal my stomach.

Once I gave my stomach a chance to heal, I was able to get rid of the indigestion and bad stomach pains. I am glad I didn't have to have surgery to remove my gall bladder when that wasn't the cause of my problems.

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