What causes stomach problems? What is the underlying reason for abdominal burning and discomfort, acid reflux, Barrett’s Oesophagus, bloating, colitis, constipation, gas, gastritis, heartburn, GERD/GORD, H. pylori, IBS, indigestion and peptic ulcers?
Stomach problems are digestive problems
When food is not digested properly in the stomach, it ferments in the digestive tract which leads to a build-up of gasses and alcohols. This creates pressure in the stomach and can cause bloating and discomfort. It can even force digestive juices to reflux back into the sensitive esophagus. The abnormal formation of alcohols can also cause erosion, inflammation and ulceration’s (peptic ulcers and ulcerative colitis) in the protective mucous lining of the stomach. This can be extremely painful!
The snowball effect of bad digestion
Bad digestion causes inflammation in the stomach, and inflammation affects digestion! It’s a continuous cycle that usually worsens over time if not treated effectively. Conventional medications usually disguise the symptoms of digestive problems which is not a healthy long-term solution. Digestive problems can also be the cause of multiple other health issues. When digestion is inefficient, the body is unable to absorb valuable minerals, vitamins and nutrients from the food you eat. This leads to a number of negative health complications.
Factors which inhibit digestion
Digestion is dramatically impacted by stress. The body produces adrenaline and cortisol in reaction to stress – this is what is commonly termed the ‘natural fight or flight’ reaction. The body’s adrenaline response increases the heart rate and redirects blood from the digestive system to the muscular system. Without sufficient blood flow to the digestive system, food is unable to digest. Lack of sleep, emotional sadness and physical pain, all have the same effect on the body as mental stress does, and all trigger the ‘fight or flight’ hormonal reaction.
Low levels of stomach acid
Many people with digestive problems are under the misconception that they are OVER producing stomach acid, but more often they are not producing ENOUGH stomach acid. The body’s natural ability to produce stomach acid/hydrochloric acid (HCl) is affected by certain factors like stress, nutrient deficiency and ageing. Additionally, low levels of acid also allow certain bacteria such as H. pylori and E-coli to survive and proliferate inside the stomach and digestive system.
Medication, diet and alcohol
Long term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pain medication, causes inflammation of the stomach and the erosion of the gastric mucosal lining. This inhibits the secretion of digestive juices.
Factors which are a direct result of poor digestion:
- stomach problems
- the inability to produce digestive juices
- viral and bacterial infections
Digestion and diet – food is more than just fuel!
It is important to eat healthy foods which nourish the body. However, without proper digestion, the body isn’t able to absorb any of the essentials nutrients from food. Nutrients are responsible for every bodily function including:
- Building and strengthening the cells which die off and replace themselves constantly
- Strengthening the immune system and fighting infections
- Organ functions, such as the production of digestive juices and stomach acid