Poor digestion: check out causes, symptoms, treatments and more

The poor digestion is very common and almost everyone has felt at some point. But why does this problem occur? There are several causes that can be linked to this condition, from a simple malaise to some disease that is triggering the symptom.

Understand better and see also how to prevent and possible treatments:


What is bad digestion?

Poor digestion ( dyspepsia ), or simply indigestion, is characterized by severe pain in the upper abdomen and / or symptoms such as nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, a feeling of fullness and belching (eructation).

It can be an isolated problem, that is, it occurs only occasionally due to some food that was not well accepted by the body. Or, it can be due to other conditions: gastritis , ulcers, celiac disease, liver disorders (in the liver) etc.

In addition, some habits also favor the appearance of this discomfort. Like, for example, drinking a lot of fluids during meals or eating too fast, which contributes to the intake of air and increases the formation of intestinal gases .

In this sense, preventing bad digestion is related to changing these and other bad habits that end up causing this disturbance in the digestive system.

However, when prevention is not done and poor digestion occurs, some care is needed. These can range from natural therapies (juices and teas) to the use of medications to relieve symptoms related to this condition.

Is heartburn equal to poor digestion?

No , but it is common for these two discomforts to appear together. In general, heartburn is defined by the burning sensation , which can cause discomfort in the stomach and lead to discomfort up to the neck and throat, often leading to nausea.

Its cause is linked to the rupture of the muscle ring that separates the stomach and esophagus, in practice, this means that the release of gastric acid occurs . This liquid serves to digest food in the stomach, but when it reaches the esophagus it causes heartburn.

Poor digestion is mainly related to abdominal discomfort. It is common for the person to feel pain or strong pressure in the upper abdomen. In general, it occurs when the stomach is very full or when we eat ingredients that are difficult to digest. With this, hindering the action of gastric acid and leading to discomfort.

In fact, poor digestion can cause heartburn and appear in conjunction with this condition. But it is important to keep in mind that these are two distinct problems.

What causes poor digestion?

Basically, the most common causes of poor digestion are related to some habits:

  • Eat very fast and without chewing your food properly;
  • Drink plenty of fluids during meals;
  • Excess consumption of fat and frying;
  • Excessive caffeine intake.

These factors cause the feeling of a very full stomach, in addition to hindering the digestive process and facilitating aerophagia . That is, the intake of air while eating or drinking, which can cause the person to have gas and cause poor digestion.

In addition to these habits that commonly cause indigestion, the problem can also be caused by certain conditions or diseases , such as: food intolerance, celiac disease, gastritis (caused by H. pylori ), disorders in the liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

The smoking is also an issue that can hinder digestion and cause such discomfort.

Symptoms: how to identify if it is bad digestion?

The main symptom of poor digestion is discomfort in the upper abdomen , which may be lighter or more intense – in these cases, it sometimes causes pain in the region.

When this problem occurs due to some disease or previous condition, it can also cause packing (feeling of food for a long time in the stomach) and early satiety.

There are also other frequent symptoms, regardless of the cause of this discomfort. Check out:


Intestinal gases are produced by intestinal bacteria that ferment food in the digestive process, so that they are produced naturally by the body. This occurs due to the ingestion of air during meals or simply due to the digestion of some foods and beverages, which favor the action of these intestinal bacteria.

When a person has gas, they may have a feeling of heaviness in the stomach or high stomach , heartburn (burning), loss of appetite, frequent belching , hooking in the chest and even shortness of breath.

This is a common sign of poor digestion, mainly due to gastric discomfort and pain in the upper abdomen. Therefore, problems are almost always associated.


Burps are a very common sign of poor digestion and are caused by the accumulation of intestinal gases , which are naturally produced by the body due to the difficulty of digesting certain foods or drinks.

Some items that can easily cause belching are: carbonated drinks (soft drinks, sparkling water, energy drinks), beans , peas, green vegetables (broccoli, cabbage), candies and chewing gum (they contribute to the accumulation of air in the stomach).


Heartburn is a symptom that can, in some cases, be linked to poor digestion. However, this discomfort can also occur in isolation or as a result of other diseases, such as gastritis or ulcers, for example.

This problem is characterized by a burning sensation in the stomach. Some people also experience discomfort in the throat area and chest pains.

Basically, heartburn occurs when gastric juice (or gastric acid) passes from the stomach to the esophagus, due to the rupture of the sphincter (muscle ring that separates these two organs). And it is worth mentioning that, many times, such disruption is caused by poor digestion.

Treatment: what to do to relieve poor digestion?

The treatment for poor digestion consists of relieving symptoms and looking for ways to prevent the recurrence of this problem. Therefore, it can include the use of medicines, consumption of teas and, mainly, dietary changes. Understand better:


The remedies to treat poor digestion can vary, especially considering what is causing the problem and what the symptoms are. Therefore, self-medication should not occur , but it is necessary to seek medical advice, aiming at a safe and effective treatment.

However, some of the medications that can be prescribed by the professional are:

  • Omeprazole – can treat poor digestion when associated with gastric acidity or other specific conditions (esophagitis, ulcers);
  • Ranitidine hydrochloride – indicated to treat gastric ulcers and esophagitis, so it can be used to relieve poor digestion only when related to these diseases;
  • Digeplus – treats poor digestion and its main symptoms (belching, excess gas, feeling of heaviness and / or bloating, stuffing);
  • Digedrat – is indicated to treat poor digestion and relieve its main symptoms, but it can also be prescribed for cases of irritable bowel syndrome and constipation (constipation);
  • Domperidone – treats the symptoms of poor digestion when related to delayed gastric emptying, gastroesophageal reflux and esophagitis, but it can also be indicated to treat nausea and vomiting;
  • Gastrol (lozenge) – it is an antacid, therefore, it can help in cases of poor digestion caused by excess acidity in the stomach or when caused by ulcers.

In addition to these remedies, in some cases effervescent fruit salt can also be used, such as Eno , for example. This type of medication is indicated to provide relief from heartburn and poor digestion, being effective when the problem occurs due to gastric acidity.


When it comes to problems of the gastrointestinal tract, as is the case with poor digestion, there are many teas that can contribute to relieve discomfort (heartburn, abdominal bloating, nausea, gas). As an example of beneficial options, the following can be mentioned:

  • Mint – stimulates the digestive system and relieves the feeling of puffiness;
  • Boldo – favors the detoxification of the organism and stimulates the digestive system;
  • Fennel – helps especially in the reduction of intestinal gases;
  • Calamus – has a calming and digestive action, relieving gases and stuffing;
  • Lemongrass – it is soothing and analgesic, can relieve abdominal pain, in addition to having antispasmodic properties (prevent stomach contractions, which can cause poor digestion);
  • Turmeric – promotes digestion and stimulates the functioning of the digestive system.
Teas are an excellent way to relieve the discomfort of poor digestion, considering the natural properties of herbs such as bilberry and fennel, for example.

Food changes

Undoubtedly, dietary changes play a fundamental role in the treatment of poor digestion, especially when the problem is recurrent. That is, when the person feels this discomfort with a certain frequency or whenever the meal ends.

In this case, the tips are to avoid fatty foods and fried foods, as well as the excessive consumption of dairy products and caffeine-rich ingredients (chocolate, coffee, etc.).

Another thing that can favor digestion is to eat less at each meal, always respecting the limit of satiety. So, not eating more than necessary and dividing the food into smaller portions to eat at different meals.

If even with the changes there is no significant relief, it is essential to seek medical assistance. Thus, it is possible to treat the problem correctly and avoid progression to some other condition.

Is there home remedy?

There are some home care options for poor digestion (changes in habits), but certainly teas are the most common. Herbs such as bilberry, lemon balm, lemon grass and mint can be great allies in relieving the symptoms of poor digestion.

This is because, in general, they favor the functioning of the digestive system and contribute to the reduction of intestinal gases. Consequently, they also relieve the feeling of stuffiness and soothe (or eliminate) abdominal pain.

There are also some juices that can help against poor digestion, such as:

  • Apple juice – due to the pectin present in the apple, when mixed with water it forms a kind of protective “gel” in the stomach, reducing discomfort and helping to reduce intestinal gases;
  • Pineapple juice with papaya – these two ingredients are a rich combination, since pineapple has bromelain (an enzyme that helps digestion) and papaya is great for promoting bowel movements.

However, it should be noted that home remedies are usually complementary therapies and should not replace medical monitoring. Therefore, they may be a good option in isolated cases of the problem, but not when it is a chronic or recurrent problem.

Can baking and lemon help?

Yes , but despite this it is not recommended to make this “recipe” at home. Due to the basic pH of sodium bicarbonate, it can help decrease acidity in the stomach and decrease gastrointestinal discomfort, especially reflux.

The lemon, by itself, can even raise the acidity of the stomach and worsen the condition. However, when in contact with bicarbonate, there is sodium citrate. This substance prevents a sudden change in stomach pH from occurring and, therefore, it is common for this mixture to be made.

Many fruit salts even use this combination. Therefore, it is more recommended to use this type of medication instead of using the homemade mixture, considering that the medicine already has adequate amounts of each item.

Is it normal to have poor digestion every day?

No . Just like any other discomfort or problem, when bad digestion becomes frequent, it is necessary to seek guidance from a doctor.

This is because there is a greater chance that it is not an isolated problem, but rather that it is related to some condition that may be triggering this disorder – such as gastritis, ulcers, esophagitis , celiac disease, changes in the liver, etc.

Even if this is not the case and bad digestion is triggered by bad habits, when it is daily (or very frequent) it is important to find effective ways to end this discomfort and make a change in habits.

Thus, a professional can make the necessary referrals for treatment.

Is there a way to prevent it?

Considering that bad digestion is, in most cases, caused by bad habits – for example, drinking a lot of fluids during meals – it can be prevented when the person avoids those habits that can cause the problem. Therefore, you can avoid:

  • Excess liquid with meals;
  • Fried foods and fatty foods;
  • Excess of caffeine (present in both food and drinks);
  • Smoking.
One way to prevent poor digestion is to avoid smoking.

In addition, another precaution is always to eat slowly and chew your food well, as well as respect the body’s limit at mealtime. Therefore, eating only until you are satisfied is also very important to prevent poor digestion.

Finally, avoiding stress and anxiety can also contribute, especially if you feel that poor digestion occurs (or worsens) in cases where there are these emotional changes.

Poor digestion and pregnancy: is it normal? How to prevent?

Changes in the functioning of the digestive system are common in pregnancy, which can include poor digestion. This is mainly due to hormonal changes, which can slow down the digestive process and also increase reflux.

In general, like nausea, this problem is usually minimized (or even disappeared) after the first trimester of pregnancy. That is, from the 14th gestational week.

However, this does not dispense with medical monitoring. Therefore, keep the obstetrician informed about the symptoms and discomfort that may arise during pregnancy, so that the correct measures can be taken according to your case.

In addition, all preventive care for poor digestion applies to pregnant women: avoiding fatty foods and excess caffeine, increasing the number of daily meals and decreasing the amount in each, paying attention to chewing at the time of eating, etc.

Therefore, a light, healthy and moderated diet may be the best alternative.

Poor digestion is a very common discomfort, but changing habits is crucial to avoiding this problem. At Hickey solution you can have daily access to tips and practical content on health, food and well-being, which can favor this change.

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