Common Digestive Problems

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There are many digestive problems that affect us humans. Here is a list of the most common, including their symptoms and treatments.

Digestive problemsThere are many digestive problems that affect around 4 in 10 people at any one time. Digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn and bloating are very common and usually treatable with slight lifestyle changes and medicines you can buy without prescriptions. However, there is no need to suffer in silence, here is a better look at common digestive issue symptoms and the most effective treatments.

What are Digestive Problems?

Digestive problems are any symptoms or conditions that disrupt or prevent the body from its normal digestive process of absorbing essential nutrients and removing waste from the body. The term ‘digestive problems’ is a broad term for a whole host of different health conditions, ranging from food intolerance’s to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), heartburn to vomiting and diarrhoea.

The digestive system is an intricate and extensive part of the body, ranging all the way from the mouth to the rectum. Its main purpose is to help the body absorb essential nutrients and is responsible for getting rid of waste. Digestive problems can mean more than just a tummy ache and minor problems that are left untreated can progress into more serious, chronic illnesses. It is very easy to dismiss your symptoms because there are so many types of stomach problems. So, it is vital to understand the common digestive problems, as well as notice any emergency symptoms, so you know when to take your concerns to a trusted health professional.

Common Digestive Problems

Studies show that 43% of the UK population have experienced digestive problems at some point in their life, though only a small amount of those have actually ever visited a doctor to discuss the symptoms they were suffering from.

The most common digestive problems are:

  • Stomach ache
  • Changes in the bowel habit (constipation or diarrhoea)
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Though digestive problems normally settle down on their own accord, the don’t always go away completely. When this is the case, there tends to be a larger underlying condition. Stomach problems can be a result of bacteria in food, infection, stress, and reactions to certain medications.

Stomach Ache

Stomach acheMost stomach aches are nothing to be seriously concerned about and will go away after a few days. The most common types of stomach ache are feeling bloated, passing a lot of wind, feeling full and bloated after eating, heartburn, feeling nauseas, constipation, diarrhoea or food poisoning. If you are unsure what may be causing your stomach problems, you can ask a trusted health professional for treatments that may help or medicines for constipation and indigestion.

Changes in Bowel Habit

Constipation and diarrhoea are common and they affect people of all ages. You can normally treat these stomach problems at home with a simple change to your diet and lifestyle. Constipation and diarrhoea in adults have many possible causes and sometimes there is no obvious reason. The most common causes can be not getting enough fibre in your diet, not drinking enough fluids – this is especially important when suffering with diarrhoea, so always make sure to drink enough fluids – not moving enough or spending too much time sitting or being in bed, often ignoring the urge to go to the toilet, changing your diet or daily routine and stress, anxiety or depression.

Making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help treat these stomach problems, and you should start to see a difference within a few days, but it can sometimes take a few weeks before your symptoms improve.


Most people suffer with indigestion at some point. Usually, it is not a sign of anything serious and can be treated at home. Don’t misinterpret stomach ache or back pain with indigestion as these symptoms are often a sign that you are constipated, not suffering from indigestion.

The symptoms of indigestion are: heartburn, feeling full and bloated, feeling sick, belching or farting, bringing up food or bitter-tasting fluids in your mouth. The cause of indigestion is when the acid in your stomach starts irritating the stomach lining or throat, which results in a burning feeling and pain. There is usually no need to be concerned when suffering with indigestion.

A few things to help avoid suffering with indigestion at home can be cutting down on tea, coffee, and alcohol and try to prop your head and shoulders up in bed.


HeartburnHeartburn is the sensation of burning in the chest which is caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat, known as acid reflux. Many people get heartburn from time to time, and there is often no obvious reason why. However, there are a few things that can trigger or cause heartburn such as: certain foods and drink, being overweight, smoking, pregnancy, stress and anxiety, and some medicines.

There are simple lifestyle changes that can help avoid and reduce the symptoms of heartburn and these include: eating smaller and more frequent meals, try to find more ways to relax if you feel overly stressed and try to raise your bed slightly, as your head and chest should be above the level of your waist when sleeping. This helps avoid stomach acid travelling towards your throat.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Many people worldwide suffer from IBS and signs of IBS can vary widely from having hard, dry stools to lose, watery stools. Bloating is also a symptom of IBS. What it is exactly that causes IBS is not known, although it has been linked to food passing through the gut too quickly or too slowly.

Treatment for IBS centers largely on diet, such as eating low-fat, high-fibre meals and avoiding common trigger foods, such as: dairy, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and foods that would cause gas in the stomach. A lo-FODMAP diet, which is a case of eliminating foods with large amounts of carbohydrate, has also shown to reduce IBS symptoms.

You may be able to avoid suffering with stomach problems with over-the-counter treatments and slight adjustments to your lifestyle. Certain digestive issues may be long-term, but medication can be taken to help relieve the symptoms. Being able to identify specific digestion issue symptoms early on can go a long way in terms of being able to identify what digestive issue you suffer with. Don’t suffer in silence, if in doubt always seek the help from a doctor.

Now you know more about common digestive problems and how to notice the signs early. Want to know more about what remedies there are to relieve the symptoms of indigestion? Read 9 remedies for indigestion that might really work, next.




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