Sluggish Digestion Causes
The digestive system relies heavily on digestion, which can either be mechanical or chemical in nature. Any alteration in the normal pace of the digestive process can be indicative of sluggish digestion. A myriad of underlying pathologies may cause a slower digestion. Some causes are:
- Food allergies
- Gluten sensitivity
- Food intolerance
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Gallbladder disease
- Bacterial overgrowth
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gallbladder disease
- Decreased cardiac output.
Although sluggish digestion causes are usually caused by underlying disease, it is not uncommon in the elderly. Decreased salivary flow, dry mouth, diminished secretion of enzymes, and delayed gastric emptying can be expected.
Sluggish Digestion Symptoms
While sluggish digestion is a rather informal diagnosis, it can pertain to any gastrointestinal condition that involves a slower digestion. The manifestations of sluggish digestion are either due to mechanical or chemical problems. This may present in the form of the following symptoms
- Indigestion. In the case of sluggish digestion, indigestion may be due to a relatively slowed peristaltic movement.
- Flatulence. The accumulation of gas from the rectum may either be a symptom of gallbladder disease or food intolerance.
- Gastroparesis. Delayed motility of chyme out of the stomach is a malfunction of gastric emptying.
- Decreased salivation. Patients often complain of dry mouth and difficulty swallowing.
- Constipation. Changes in bowel habits, such as decreased enzyme secretion and peristaltic movement decrease the frequency of stools.
- Abdominal discomfort
- Heaviness after eating
Treatment to Improve Sluggish Digestion
- Do not talk while eating. Flatulence and abdominal distension can result after a meal. Talking while eating involves swallowing volumes of air, this is known as aerophagia. To prevent this, the patient must eat slowly and avoid discussions while chewing. Other actions that can cause aerophagia include chewing gum and smoking.
- Drink after meals. It is advisable to avoid drinking in between bites as the liquid can allow dilution of crucial digestive enzymes.
- Probiotics. An abundance of harmful bacteria in the small intestine contributes to sluggish digestion diarrhea, and formation of gas. Natural sources of probiotics include yogurt and buttermilk.
- Apple cider vinegar. Unprocessed acetic acid can stimulate the formation of stomach acid. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with ¼ cup of warm water intensifies digestion. This concoction can be consumed before and after every meal.
- Peppermint. This herb has been largely indicated in the treatment of most digestive disorders. Peppermint has properties that relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. Relaxation can thus reduce accompanying symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, distention, and flatulence.