Understand digestion. Types of Digestion problems, symptoms, causes and prevention.

Updated: Mar 15



The digestive system of our body is a complex and extensive part of the body. It ranges all the way from the mouth to the rectum. It helps the body absorb essential nutrients and is responsible for flushing out the body waste. The digestive system made up of the gastrointestinal tract (GI), liver, pancreas and gallbladder which together helps the body digest food. Digestion simply means breakdown of food into smaller particles that can easily be absorbed into the bloodstream. Digestive problems are a group of conditions that occur when the digestive system does not function as it should. Some problems are acute, lasting only a short time, while others are chronic, or long-lasting.


Types of Digestive Problem


a) Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


It’s a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Common symptoms are; abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation etc.


b) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


A digestive disorder that affects the ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach. Common symptoms are; bad breath, lump in the throat, hard time swallowing etc.


c) Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)


It’s a disorder of excessive bacterial growth in the small intestine. Common symptoms are; stomach pain, bloating, constipation, unintentional weight loss etc.


d) Gallstones


It’s a condition when stone - like objects which are made up of cholesterol develop in the gallbladder or bile ducts. Common symptoms are; pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, jaundice etc.


e) Celiac Disease


It’s an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack the intestinal lining if a person eats foods containing gluten. Common symptoms are; diarrhoea, fatigue, constipation, bloating etc.


f) Crohn’s Disease


It’s a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive track. Common symptoms are: blood in stools, stomach pain, bloating, diarrhoea etc.


g) Ulcerative Colitis


It’s an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Common symptoms are; pain in abdomen, blood in stool, inability to empty bowels, leaking of stool etc.


Symptoms of Digestive Problems


At some point in our lives everyone deals with digestive problems, whether it's constipation, diarrhoea, or just a general woozy feeling. Some common symptoms are-

  • Bleeding

  • Bloating

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea

  • Heartburn

  • Incontinence

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Pain in the belly

  • Swallowing problems

  • Unexplained weight gain or loss


Causes of Digestive problems


Digestive problems include problems and diseases that affect multiple parts of our digestive system.


There are varied causes behind the issue.


i) When the digestive system functions improperly.

ii) Consuming food that is difficult to digest or digest too quickly or too slowly

iii) Eating without properly chewing, drinking large amount of carbonated beverages or alcohol.

iv) Swallowing air in a large amount causes swelling, intestinal pain and burping.

v) Pregnancy and hormonal changes

vi) Playing and practicing endurance sports

vii) Stress, anxiety or depression cases.

viii) Health issues like type 2 diabetes, migraines and hypothyroidism


Preventive Measures of Constipation


To help relieve constipation, simple lifestyle changes make the stools softer and easier to pass.


i) Stay hydrated always, drink 6-8 glasses of water every day.

ii) Eat plenty of fiber rich food; fruits, vegetables and grains.

iii) Chew food properly before swallowing

iv) Exercise regularly

v) Consult a doctor is symptoms arise.


Dealing with digestive disorders is not very simple, but it’s not a life-threatening problem too. Simple diet and lifestyle changes, like eating good fiber diet, regular exercise and quitting some bad habits can have a positive impact on our digestive system. Thus, in order to smoothen the digestive track, one must take proper care of their bowel functioning.

Bowel care is a technique wherein a person manages faecal incontinence or constipation and decides a predictable time and place to evacuate the stool. When it comes to a person’s health, its observed that bowel care is the most frequently overlooked fundamental area. But in reality, taking care of the bowel movement enhances a person’s life, strengthens our digestive system and protects them from any digestive problems.