Digestion is a vital process for an organism. In the human body, the digestive system processes the food we eat and converts it into nutrients and energy we use. This conversion of food to energy, and secretion of the waste involves a process known as digestion. Proper digestion is important for absorption of nutrients through food, thus leading to good health.
Digestion problems can cause many other health problems due to poor absorption of nutrients. All of us have suffered from them at one time or another, and we know its extent in disrupting our life and happiness. Poor digestion commonly results in digestive system disorders, and some could even prove fatal sometimes. Increase in weight without proper nutrient absorption is another ill effect. This is also the most common problem faced by diabetics.
Problems Related to Digestion
There are many factors that contribute towards one's digestive problems. There are also some external factors like smoking, excessive drinking, depression, age and lack of exercise, which aids these causes in disrupting proper digestion. Some common causes in both men and women are:
- Stress: The nervous system controls the digestive system, so any kind of stress, whether mental, physical or emotional, affects digestion. The toxins released from physical trauma also cause these issues.
- Antibiotics: Digestion complications also result due to the destruction of beneficial bacteria by antibiotics. These bacteria are helpful in fighting against harmful pathogens in the digestive tract and they also aid in the process. So once the antibiotics are stopped, these pathogens attack and weaken the immune system.
- Improper Diet: Intake of processed and junk food lacking necessary nutrients, with other food lacking in fiber and raw food disrupts the digestive process. Even food allergies cause problems in digestion.
- Eating Habits: Swallowing food without chewing properly leads to indigestion and bloating. Eating a bad food combination, like protein with starched pasta, eating fruits with other foods or extremely fatty food are common causes of digestive complications.
- Drugs: Prescription as well as over the counter drugs are harmful for the digestive system and disrupts the whole digestion process. Some anti-inflammatory drugs not only irritate the stomach lining, but can also cause infection.
- Environmental Toxins: The toxins around us like additives in foods, chemicals, radiation, pollution, etc. all play a major role in our digestive health. The presence of toxins reduce the availability of energy and nutrients needed for proper digestion.
Apart from these, there are some specific causes related to men and women.
Causes in Men
- Hypothyroidism: Slow activity of thyroid glands causes constipation and change in appetite.
- Yeast Infection: Yeast infection is a common cause of problems in the digestive system. Often the infection is left unattended, leading to more serious conditions. This works in the same manner as antibiotics, and destroys the useful bacteria in the stomach lining.
Causes in Women
- Hormone Imbalance: Menopause plays a huge role in digestive health of a woman. Hormone imbalance during this period and the slowing down of the process due to this results in several signs of poor digestion. Similar hormonal imbalance also disrupts the digestive system during pregnancy and menstrual cycle.
Signs and Symptoms
Digestion problem is also known as maldigestion. These are several symptoms which might be an early indication of serious conditions:
- Excessive Belching
- Excessive Flatulence
- Abdominal Pain
Some common diseases of the digestive system are:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn's Disease
- Piles/ Hemorrhoids
- Chronic Fatigue
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Skin Disorders
- Ginger tea is a natural stimulant and extremely helpful for constipation and abdominal pain.
- Consumption of fiber rich foods like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables provides essential nutrients as well as aids digestion.
- Taking apple cider vinegar as a dressing with salad before meals improves digestion.
- Adding herbs like mint, rosemary, fennel, lavender in everyday recipes also enhances digestion and reduces flatulence and bloating.
Apart from these remedies, the best solution for all digestive issues is to change our lifestyle. There can be no better remedy than prevention and a healthier lifestyle. So take time out for taking care of your body. Most of us eat in a hurry without chewing the food properly, and do not give much thought to the nutrient and fiber content in the food we eat.
Processed and junk food has replaced nutritious home cooked food. Taking up physical activities like exercises, walking, jogging, etc., is not only a stress reliever, but also a great way to keep digestive system disorders at bay. So it has become mandatory to take some deliberate steps to lead a healthy, problem free lifestyle.