The Signs of Indigestion May Include...
- Abdominal pain - one of the most overlooked signs of (not causes of) indigestion
- Bloating (full feeling and/or heaviness in the abdomen)
- Acid reflux of contents into throat or mouth
- Belching and stomach gas
- Nausea and vomiting
- Acidic taste/ dry mouth
- Growling stomach
- Burning in the stomach or upper abdomen
- Frequent coughing though not ill
- Heartburn (a burning sensation deep in the chest). Heartburn can be caused by stomach acids rising into the esophagus. These acid reflux symptoms may increase in times of stress and can be due to other possible underlying problems, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, or gallbladder disease.
Who is likely to have these problems?
Many people have these acid reflux symptoms; it is extremely common. An individual's likelihood increases with excess alcohol consumption and use of drugs that may irritate the stomach (such as aspirin). Pre-existing other conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract such as an ulcer can also induce these signs. Emotional problems, such as anxiety or depression, can also create indigestion. There can be serious conditions that may lead to otheracid reflux symptoms.
Behavior/Lifestyle Indigestion Causes:
- Not chewing food thoroughly
- Poor Breathing patterns---one of the little-known Indigestion causes but possibly one of the worst.
- Lack of water consumption or dehydration - see our page on dehydration effects
- Eating too much (i.e.large dinners when your metabolism is slowing down for the day)
- Eating too fast OR eating under stress
- Swallowing excessive air when eating
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Cigarette smoking
- Stress and fatigue
- Eating late at night---after 7-8pm
- Highly processed foods diet
- Food Combining issues---see our page on Food Combining Principles
- High-fat foods
- High acid foods
- Peppermint Chocolate
- Caffeine---beverages such as coffee and some teas
- Citrus fruits or juice
- Tomatoes, tomato pastes and juices
- Carbohydrate and protein combinations (meat and potatoes)
- Pasta and concentrated carbohydrates, if not accompanied by salad greens or high water content non-starch vegetables
One thing we know works extremely well for food indigestion causes are digestive enzymes, read more here... Digestive enzymes help relieve Indigestion
- Aspirin and many other painkillers
- Estrogen and oral contraceptives
- Steroid medications
- Certain antibiotics
- Thyroid medicines
- Acid Reflux Drugs * Two new studies published in the clinical journal 'Gastroenterology' have indicated that the most widely used indigestion medications, (proton pump inhibitors) may actually cause acid reflux.
Always check medication side effects for possible indigestion side effects!!!
- A Hiatal Hernia (tends to be less common before the age of 50) see our pages on Hiatal Hernia Symptoms
Diet for Hiatal Hernia
- Infections such as Helicobacter-pylori and other parasites
- Hypochlorhydria---insufficient stomach acid
- Excessive stomach acid---this was believed to be the prominent cause of many cases of acid reflux but within the last few years, the evidence seems to point to Hypochlorhydria instead.
- Gastroparesis (a condition where the stomach doesn't empty properly; this often occurs in diabetics)
- Stomach infections
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Thyroid disease
- Crohn's disease
- Celiac disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Colon Cancer
- Stomach cancer (rare)
Pregnancy Indigestion Causes:
During the middle and later parts of pregnancy, many women have indigestion.
This is most likely caused by pregnancy-related factors such as hormones that can relax the muscles of the digestive tract, and the growing uterus puts upward pressure on the on the stomach. Also, pre-existing indigestion problems may become amplified by pregnancy for the above reasons.
1: McColl KE, Gillen D. Evidence that proton-pump inhibitor therapy induces the symptoms it is used to treat. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):20-2. Epub 2009 May 29. PubMed PMID: 19482105.
2: Reimer C, Søndergaard B, Hilsted L, Bytzer P. Proton-pump inhibitor therapy induces acid-related symptoms in healthy volunteers after withdrawal of therapy. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):80-7, 87.e1. Epub 2009 Apr 10. PubMed PMID: 19362552.