What are the Most Common Causes of Constant Indigestion?

Article Details
  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In China, some 400 million people, or 30% of the population, can't speak Mandarin, the country's official language.  more...

September 20 ,  1873 :  The Panic of 1873 caused the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to shut down.  more...

Bloating, belching, acidic taste, burning in the upper abdomen, nausea, or vomiting make up the constellation of symptoms known as indigestion. Constant indigestion may be caused by some diseases, medications, lifestyle habits, pregnancy, or the cause may be unknown. Ulcers, gallbladder disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are three common diseases in which indigestion is a symptom. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, oral contraceptives, and thyroid, and steroid medications may also be to blame for the condition. Many times it is lifestyle choices that are at the root of the disorder.

The stomach lining normally is coated with a mucosal layer. An ulcer forms when the mucosal layer that protects the stomach tissue is disrupted. When there is a break in the mucosal layer, stomach acid can reach the tissues and eat away at them. This can cause stomach pain and constant indigestion.

Gallbladder disease may be a cause of continual indigestion because the bile is not properly digesting dietary fat. This could be due to gallstones, inflammation, or other disease of the gallbladder. When the gallbladder is the cause, most of the time indigestion worsens after eating a high-fat meal.

GERD is a condition in which the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach leaks. This allows stomach acid into the esophagus. The stomach acid eats away at the esophagus and may cause burning or painful sensations that some people refer to as severe heartburn.


Some medications may be responsible for feelings of constant indigestion. This is why doctors may recommend taking certain medications with food. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, as well as antibiotics, birth control pills, and estrogen replacement, may contribute to chronic indigestion. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, and medication for thyroid disease might be other common culprits of medication-induced indigestion.

Lifestyle choices can play a huge role in constant indigestion. Fortunately, this is one of the areas over which people have the most control. Eating too much or too fast is a sure way to get indigestion. Fatty foods, in particular, tend to invite symptoms. Consuming too much alcohol or smoking may also be the reason some people have chronic indigestion. Stress and fatigue may play a role in this condition as well.

During the last two trimesters of pregnancy, some women experience constant indigestion. This is caused by pregnancy hormones that relax the digestive tract. The pressure of the growing baby may also play a part in indigestion during pregnancy.

The causes of a person's chronic indigestion sometimes cannot be seen under a microscope or with direct vision. Doctors refer to this as functional dyspepsia or non-ulcer dyspepsia. This means that somewhere in the digestive tract, things are not working the way they should be — but doctors do not know why or where this abnormality is happening. At times, further testing may reveal the cause, but other times it does not.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 3

@irontoenail - There are some things that are completely out of a person's control though. One thing a lot of women don't seem to know is that they might get indigestion during their period for the same reason they get it during pregnancy. There are hormones released which are supposed to work on the uterus, but also effect the bowels and make everything work differently.

Post 2

@pastanaga - Yeah, I suspect a lot of indigestion is actually caused by things that people do to themselves. They probably just don't realize that what they are doing is going to cause any problems.

Like people who constantly chew sugar-free gum. Often the sugar substitutes in that will upset your stomach if you have too much of them.

Or people who eat a whole lot of different foods all the time. It is good to have a variety, but if you suddenly fill up on something your gut isn't familiar with it can cause problems with the flora down there. Which is why people end up with indigestion after they eat an exotic meal. It's not because of the meal itself, it's just because they aren't used to it.

Post 1

Overeating is one of the main causes of GERD which is when the sphincter between the stomach and the throat doesn't close properly.

If you constantly eat to the point where your stomach is too full, then that will start to damage the sphincter. It's not a matter of even eating the right or wrong things. Even if you fill up on cabbage leaves they can still do this kind of damage.

And once that damage occurs, it means that stomach acid can escape and cause heart burn.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?