What Causes Poor Digestion?

A number of lifestyle behaviors can lead to poor digestion, as well as allergies and certain medical conditions. Most causes of poor digestion can be addressed with changes in diet and eating habits, however, which can help to improve overall health and prevent stomachaches and bloating throughout the day. Eating more slowly and being sure to chew food thoroughly is one of the easiest ways to improve digestion. Not getting enough fiber in the diet, an imbalance of "healthy" bacteria in the body, and not drinking enough water throughout the day can all contribute to digestive troubles as well.

An imbalance of bacteria in the intestines can cause poor digestion and stomach pain. This can be caused by taking antibiotics, for example, which kill all the bacteria in the body. Taking probiotic supplements, or eating yogurt regularly, can help to restore the careful bacteria balance in the intestines and ensure that the digestive process is taking place properly. People who lack fiber in their diet will also often find that their digestion is poor. Fiber supplements may be taken to correct this, or making sure to eat plenty of vegetables and whole grains should also be sufficient.


The manner in which people eat is also a leading cause of poor digestion. Many people eat large amounts of food very quickly, often while sitting in front of the computer or television. This can lead to eating much more than is required to be full, and can cause other digestive problems such as heartburn. Instead, eating slowly, focusing on the food, and taking small bites to chew thoroughly will help to improve digestion, as well as the overall experience of eating a meal. Taking time to turn off the television and sit down at the dining room table to enjoy a meal will certainly help to improve digestion.

Drinking plenty of water with meals and throughout the day can also help to encourage proper digestion. Other lifestyle factors, such as getting enough sleep and getting regular exercise, boost the health of the body overall and can also improve the digestive process. It is also necessary to identify if certain foods cause stomach upset, such as dairy products; this can indicate an intolerance, and cutting these foods out can significantly help with digestion. If poor digestion, stomach pain, or acid reflux are persistent and do not get better with lifestyle changes, it may be necessary to visit the doctor to be sure nothing more serious is occurring.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

@pleonasm - I actually think most people could improve their digestion in some ways, even if they think they don't need to. Very few people have healthy gut flora in the modern world, since we don't eat the way we used to and the wrong kinds of bacteria grow as a result.

That's not to mention that people don't drink enough water or eat enough fiber in their everyday lives.

Post 2

@MrsPramm - I'm sure that there are some symptoms of poor digestion that exist only in the sufferer's head, but that doesn't mean it's true for the majority. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong with the digestive system. And if you have one that doesn't work well and often makes you feel sick, then of course you're going to have a strange relationship with food.

Classifying it as being a psychological problem without extensive testing is a mistake. It's true that stress can contribute to digestive problems, but you can try to de-stress without blaming everything on that.

Post 1

I've read horror stories in magazines about people with severe, undiagnosed digestive problems and it always seems like it's partly psychological. They often talk about having a love-hate relationship with food and seem to go through periods when they will only eat certain things for no medical reason.

I guess I just think that people shouldn't worry so much about what's going on in their gut. It might be the worry that's causing the problem.

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