Do you suffer from bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea? If you do, you’re not alone. Many adults find that their stomachs and digestive systems as a whole just aren’t what they used to be. This leaves them feeling uncomfortable and sluggish.
Although digestive problems can be caused by an illness, in many cases, it’s our lifestyle that contributes to bloating, gas, and changes in bowel movements. The following seven causes of digestive woes may help you regain control of your digestive system.
7 reasons for your sluggish digestion
Overeating: You know, even one meal where you overeat can leave you feeling miserable, but constantly overeating can have long-term negative effects on your digestion. For example, when you overeat, your stomach is unable to produce enough acid to break down food, meaning it is not properly digested. Furthermore, large portions of food put added pressure on the stomach, which contributes to heartburn and indigestion.
The key here is to practice portion control and avoid eating too much at once.
Improperly chewing: Chewing is the first part of the digestion process. When we chew, we break down food into smaller bits so that it can be better digested. Additionally, saliva contains essential enzymes to assist the digestive process. If we do not take the time to properly chew our food, enabling the important enzymes in saliva to go to work, the digestive system has to work harder. This leads to cramps, gas, and constipation.
It’s important that you are mindful when eating. Some experts suggest counting your chews as a means to chewing more and eating slower. Other tips include resting your fork down while eating, or eating with your less dominant hand so you put less food in your mouth.
Inadequate fiber consumption: It is known that Americans are not consuming enough fiber, and many face digestive problems because of it. Consuming adequate amounts of soluble fiber can help ease digestion and rid yourself of those discomforting symptoms.
Soluble fiber can be found in fruits and vegetables, oats, seeds, and beans. An important aspect fiber consumption is water. You need to drink adequate amounts of water to ensure that the fiber doesn’t contribute to constipation.
Stress: Being stressed out can wreak havoc on your digestive system. This is because neurotransmitters that normally work to regulate digestion go out of whack when we’re stressed. Stress can trigger overeating or avoidance of eating altogether in some people. Additionally, eating while stressed causes food to be digested slower.
Reducing stress can help you take control of your digestion. You can try meditation, yoga, tai chi, or even talking to a licensed therapist.
Lack of exercise: If you want to get your digestion moving, it’s advised to keep moving. Regular exercise has been linked with improving constipation along with bloating and relieving stress, which we now know contributes to digestive problems. So, if you’re been feeling backed up, you may want to integrate some physical activity into your daily schedule.
Antibiotic use: Antibiotics are intended to fight off illness, but unfortunately, a very unwanted side effect is digestive problems. This is because antibiotics not only kill off bad bacteria but can also kill your good bacteria. Low levels of good bacteria can disrupt digestion along with promoting overgrowth of yeast. Too much yeast contributes to poor absorption, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.
Try taking a probiotic along with an antibiotic to ensure your good bacteria doesn’t take a hit.
Peptic ulcers: A painful stomach post-meal could be a sign of a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcers are caused by the bacteria H. pylori, which is ingested through food or water. The bacteria causes damage to the protective lining of the stomach, leading to nausea, burping, and vomiting. It’s important to treat an ulcer because it can cause severe damage to your stomach if left alone.
Poor digestion can really ruin your day, so it’s important that you take the necessary steps to not only uncover the cause of your digestive issues but make the necessary lifestyle changes to fix them.