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Intestine & digestion

Poor digestion: problems and solutions

May 8, 2018

The problems of dyspepsia, or poor digestion, are quite frequent. What are the most common symptoms and causes? We talk about this topic with Professor Silvio Danese, head of the Centre for Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Diseases at Humanitas.




Digestive problems generally occur with pain, heartburn, heaviness, premature satiety and swelling. Sometimes, incorrect behavioral lifestyles cause greater difficulty for the stomach, for example, insufficient chewing, hasty eating, abundant meals and lying down after eating. Post-meal drowsiness is a process that can occur because when we digest, the blood is called back to the digestive system and this can lead to drowsiness, difficulty concentrating and headaches. Dyspepsia is also often associated with mood changes, so it can be more frequent during periods of stress. Moreover, we must not forget the quality of what we eat because good digestion begins in the kitchen.


Chewing well is important


“Chewing is fundamental for various reasons: first of all the grinding of food that takes place in the mouth helps the subsequent work of the stomach; then there are enzymes in the saliva that facilitate digestion and it has recently been discovered that when we chew, small wounds (microtraumas) are created on the gums through which the cells of the immune system feel food and prevent an aggressive response against food from being triggered,” explained Prof. Danese.


“If dyspepsia is chronic, and therefore the symptoms last for 2-3 months, it is best to consult your doctor or specialist in order to understand the underlying causes, even if unfortunately in three out of four cases you cannot identify what causes poor digestion – continued the specialist. Sometimes this can be due to the presence of gastritis, an ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, problems with the biliary system, and taking certain drugs. In such cases, you can resolve the problem. In the remaining 75% of cases in which dyspepsia is idiopathic we intervene by treating the symptoms”.


Possible treatments


In cases where dyspepsia is idiopathic, pharmacological therapy is used. “Initially, we turn to anti-secretive drugs, which reduce the production of acid, or drugs that help the motility and therefore the gastric emptying – says Prof. Danese. However, for each patient it will be necessary to find effective therapy, because not everyone responds in the same way to the same specific treatment.

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