Difficult digestion: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Difficult digestion: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Difficult  digestion  in medical terms is called  dyspepsia, it determines an alteration of the gastric or intestinal digestive function and can be of an ornanic or functional nature. Let’s find out better.

>   Symptoms of difficult digestion

>   Causes

>   Diagnosis

>   Natural treatments against difficult digestion

Difficult digestion, natural remedies

Symptoms of difficult digestion

It is an alteration of the gastric or intestinal digestive function , characterized by  drowsiness , stomach heaviness , headache after meals. Sometimes chronic pain or discomfort in the upper abdominal or back sternum, aerophagia, flatulence, heartburn (heartburn, stomach acid ), borborygmi, nausea, vomiting occur.


It can be organic in nature  (such as acute and chronic gastritis, which is inflammation of the gastric mucosa) or  functional  (such as gastric ulcer, which is an erosion of the gastric mucosa or in severe cases a perforation of the stomach wall ).


The diagnosis of indigestion  requires a previous investigation of factors such as:  use of medicines (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as aspirin iron theophylline , etc.),  helicobacter pylori,  gastric ulcer (stomach),  gastritis (inflammation of the internal mucosa stomach ),  poor nutrition (diet),  obesity,  gastroesophageal reflux disease


Nutrition in case of difficult digestion

Difficult digestion can involve the stomach or pancreas.

When digestion is particularly laborious with protein-rich foods such as meat and its derivatives, it means that the stomach is unable to produce enough gastric juices for digestion. In this case, a supplementation of B vitamins is useful to reactivate their production, which is difficult to achieve only with the introduction of foods that are rich in them such as whole grains, legumes, eggs, vegetables, nuts and hazelnuts.

If, on the other hand, it is the whole digestion that is difficult and manifests itself with stomach heaviness and sleepiness after a meal, it is more likely due to a poor production of digestive enzymes by the pancreas. It is necessary for the first month to support organ function with a digestive enzyme supplement based on fermented rice starch, fermented maltodextrin or papaya .

In both cases it is possible to help digestion by observing some precautions:

  • Avoid boiled foods or foods with excessively prolonged and watery cooking methods (eg minestrone);
  • Start the meal with a raw vegetable:  fennel , carrot, celery, cucumber;
  • Accompany the meal with a freshly squeezed orange juice when in season;
  • Season the meat or fish with fresh lemon juice or chopped extra virgin olive oil, salt, rosemary, parsley, garlic and vinegar (to evaporate after cooking)
  • Use cooking methods by passing the food in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, garlic or onion.

A food intolerance test is useful to understand if poor digestion is caused by one or more foods.

You can learn more about proper nutrition for poor digestion

Diet for difficult digestion

Herbal remedies 

 Among the medicinal plants that help in case of difficult digestion: 

  • Licorice : Glycyrrhiza Glabra ) the root has digestive, anti-inflammatory and protective properties for the mucous membranes;
  • Anise: Pimpinella anisum ) its seeds, such as those of Fennel Foeniculum vulgare ), cumin Cuminum cyminum ) and coriander ( Coriandrum sativum ), are traditionally used to promote digestive functions, especially in people who eat large meals and high in fat. The carminative action depends both on the ability to inhibit the fermentation processes in the large intestine; and by their antispastic action on the smooth muscles of the colon. In fact, high quantities are produced during intestinal fermentation, in particular that of sugars of gas, which cause the intestine to swell and stimulate the contractions of its smooth muscles, causing a sense of bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain ;
  • Gentiana : Gentiana Lutea ) the root is used in various formulations to promote digestion, as it increases motility and gastric secretion, acting by stimulation reflex on the taste buds, and not on the cells of the stomach mucosa. For this reason the digestive action of the plant is not irritating. Furthermore, gentian finds application in the treatment of anorexia, gastric atonies, long and laborious digestions due to insufficient gastric secretion.
  • Chervil : ( Anthriscus cerefolium ) has tomachic  properties as it stimulates gastric secretion, aiding digestion.

Bach flowers for difficult digestion

Poor digestion can be the psychosomatic consequence of situations that have not been “digested” ; realities that we reject, or that we find unjust, and therefore anger us. The stomach absorbs all the impressions that come from the outside, that is, it welcomes what must be “digested”.  

The person with digestive disorders must learn to become aware of their feelings, to consciously process their impressions and sensations, in a balanced way. Very useful for the flower therapy treatment of this disorder will be:  

  • Holly : it is suitable for those who, valuing themselves little , believe they have the world against, and therefore see only negativity and opposition everywhere. Touchy and fussy, sensitive, bullying, these individuals feel anger, resentment, jealousy and envy towards others. This flower eliminates or dulls negative feelings towards others. Develop self-love, that is self-esteem, by silencing that sour voice that pushes us to constantly measure ourselves with others and to suspect them. 
  • Chicory : indicated to those who feel hurt by a sense of betrayal, ingratitude, lack of gratitude, and the feeling of never being loved or truly desired. Those who fall into this type often burst into tears and feel anger every time the other “disappoints” his ambitious expectations. A brawler when hindered, he is full of suspicion, anger, envy, judgment and prejudice. The remedy teaches to give without asking for anything in return, so that love, given and taken, can really flow freely and spontaneously. 
  • Willow : indicated for those who live off prejudices , thinking about how it would have gone if that unpleasant event had not happened, not yet “digested”. She does not give up, mulls over the wrongs suffered, renews pains, bitterness, recriminations and hopeless grudges. She does not admit her mistakes, she blames others for all by refusing to assume her responsibilities, thinking she is the target of an adverse fate. The remedy favors the control of suffering, the recovery of a globally positive vision of existence and gives the ability to create one’s own destiny.

Traditional Chinese Medicine 

Difficult digestion even in Traditional Chinese Medicine is linked to internal organs, which have an indissoluble link with the emotional sphere. The stomach controls the maceration and maturation of food, regulates the transport and diffusion of the  Jing energy of food. In traditional Chinese medicine in the stomach we find the origin of the fluids and it is this organ that controls the descent of the Qi (while instead the Qi of the Spleen for example must go down, not go up, for the functions to be correctly distributed). 

Stomach and Spleen , however, in TCM are inextricably linked: toning through acupuncture of both organs is essential in all convalescences.

Aromatherapy for difficult digestion

Aromatic plants are used in phytotherapy to promote digestive processes, thanks to the essential oils they contain. Aromatherapy directly exploits its pure essences, applying 1-2 drops diluted in a tablespoon of sweet almond oil on the abdomen, or, for internal use, 2 drops in a teaspoon of honey taken after meals. 

  • Laurel essential oil : promotes digestion and calms stomach pains, because it has a relaxing action on the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system. It is effectively used in the presence of spasms, irritable bowel and to  eliminate the gases that cause bloating and flatulence. 
  • Mint essential oil : it is considered one of the best digestives present in aromatherapy, because it has a stomachic, carminative, cholagogue and antispasmodic action. It is useful in case of bloating, flatulence, indigestion, spasms, dyspepsia and almost all disorders related to the digestive system. 
  • Fennel essential oil recommended for its digestive, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, carminative properties, it is used effectively in the presence of meteorism, flatulence, aerophagia and indigestion; 
  • Essential oil of hyssop : effectively intervenes on digestion, especially if slow, and on the problem of aerophagia, since it eliminates the gases that form in the intestine, and is therefore useful in intestinal catarrhs ​​and dyspepsia.
  • Cumin essential oil : it is digestive, stimulates gastro-hepatic activity, promotes digestion and  calms nausea .


In case of digestion associated with subsequent  drowsiness and a sense of heaviness , the homeopath may decide to proceed with the administration of Nux Vomica 9 CH ,  5  granules  three times a day. Lycopodium 9 CH is also useful  , especially if the drowsiness and heaviness are combined with meteorism and a sense of swelling. 

Antimonium Crudum 9 CH  , on the other hand, should be taken in case of  nausea  and  reflux  due to the so-called “binges”, when the intake of food has been excessive.

Exercises in case of difficult digestion

The recommended motor therapy directly involves the teeth (which is closely linked to posture) and is based on a single, important imperative: chew , chew and then chew again. 

Also good are all the techniques that help release in the abdominal and thoracic level, such as  yoga .

Among the best asanas , the position of Matsya ( Matsyendrasana ), or “fish position”, facilitates digestion, is a real massage of the abdominal organs and stimulates the production of bile.

The position of Vajra ( Vajrasana ), “the lightning bolt” , is easy to perform and improves digestion by acting on the meridians linked to the digestive system. It is also very useful to perform a self- massage. From the lying position, place the palm of the hand on the abdomen .

Create a clockwise circle on the belly. Start with light pressure and then gradually accentuate it.

Then describe increasingly larger circles with the palm , which cover the entire abdomen. The movement must be decided and always clockwise to follow the circuit of the large intestine. Finish by gently kneading the abdomen with your thumb and forefinger , pinching the skin first with the fingers of one hand then with those of the other. 

Listen to your breath throughout the self-massage practice, tune the pressure with the exhalation and try to do it all by obtaining maximum relaxation with minimum conscious effort.  

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