Indigestion is a problem that occurs in the organs of the digestive tract. This condition can occur in one or more organs in the digestive tract.

The digestive tract starts from the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and ends at the anus. Meanwhile, the liver, pancreas and gallbladder also play a role in the digestive process, although these organs are not passed by food and are located outside the digestive tract.

The digestive system functions to receive and digest food into absorbable nutrients. These nutrients are then distributed throughout the body through the blood. The digestive system also functions to separate and remove parts of food that cannot be digested by the body.

Causes and Symptoms of Digestive Disorders

The causes and symptoms of indigestion depend on the type of disease. The following will explain some types of digestive disorders along with their causes and accompanying symptoms:

Gastric acid reflux disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus (esophagus). This condition occurs due to the weakening of the esophageal muscle ring that functions to prevent food from returning to the esophagus after entering the stomach.

The main symptoms of GERD include:

  • Burning feeling in the chest, usually after eating and may be worse at night
  • Food or stomach acid rises to the top of the stomach
  • A lump in the throat


Esophagitis is inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, which is the organ that functions to distribute food from the mouth to the stomach. Esophagitis can be caused by damage to the esophageal valve, side effects of drug use, or infection.

Generally, esophagitis is characterized by symptoms in the form of:

  • A burning feeling in the chest
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) so food feels stuck in the throat
  • Chest pain


Achalasia is a condition when the nerves in the esophagus are damaged. This condition causes the valve muscle between the esophagus and stomach to lose flexibility, making it difficult for food to be pushed into the stomach.

Symptoms of achalasia can include:

  • Difficult to swallow
  • Unnoticed discharge of food or saliva
  • Chest pain that comes and goes


Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach wall that can occur suddenly (acute) or last for a long time (chronic). This condition can occur due to injuries to the stomach wall.

The main symptoms of gastritis are:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen that may get worse or better after eating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach feels bloated after eating

gastric ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore that forms in the lining of the stomach or in the duodenum (duodenal ulcer). Stomach ulcers can be caused by infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori or long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Gastric ulcers are characterized by several symptoms, such as:

  • Stomach pain with burning sensation
  • Feeling full quickly, bloating, or belching
  • Nausea after eating fatty foods

celiac disease

Celiac disease is caused by a reaction of the immune system to gluten ingestion . In people with celiac disease, gluten will trigger an immune system reaction in the small intestine. If this condition persists, the lining of the small intestine can be damaged and interfere with nutrient absorption.

Some of the symptoms of celiac disease are:

  • Diarrhea and stomach ache
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Bloated

Gallstone disease

Gallstone disease occurs due to a blockage in the bile duct. The blockage is caused by stones resulting from crystallization of cholesterol. In some cases, gallstones form from the crystallization of bilirubin.

Gallstone disease can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the pit of the stomach that appears suddenly and gets worse quickly
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Nausea or vomiting


Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder. Inflammation can occur due to blockage of the gallbladder by gallstones and tumors, or due to infection. This condition causes bile to be trapped in the gallbladder and triggers inflammation.

Symptoms of cholecystitis are:

  • Unbearable pain in the right upper or solar plexus
  • Pain that radiates to the right shoulder or back
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever


Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver (liver) due to viral infections, autoimmune diseases, drug abuse, and exposure to alcohol, drugs, or chemical poisons. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Yellow skin and eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools


Cirrhosis is the formation of scar tissue in the liver which causes liver function to decrease or even not function at all. The causes of cirrhosis are hepatitis, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, and fatty liver.

Cirrhosis can be characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Ascites
  • Vomiting and bloody stools
  • Yellow skin and eyes
  • Tiny blood vessels visible on the skin
  • Loss of consciousness


Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be caused by gallstone disease or alcoholism. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Pain that radiates to the back
  • Nausea and vomiting

Intestinal inflammation

Inflammation of the intestine is a condition when the inner lining of the intestine becomes inflamed. There are two types of inflammatory bowel disease, namely Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis .

Symptoms that generally indicate inflammation of the intestine include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss


Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula sac becomes inflamed. Diverticula are abnormal pouches that usually form at the end of the large intestine. In some cases, inflammation can be accompanied by infection.

Diverticulitis can cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea


Proctitis is inflammation of the rectum, which is the last part of the large intestine that connects to the anus. Proctitis generally results from other diseases or conditions, such as sexually transmitted diseases, colitis, or anal injuries.

This condition can cause symptoms such as:

  • Frequent feeling of having to have a bowel movement (tenesmus)
  • Pain in the stomach, rectum and anus
  • Bloody and mucous diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum

Colon cancer

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that arises in the large intestine. This cancer can start from a benign tumor called an adenoma polyp. Over time, these polyps develop into malignant.

Symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • Changes in the frequency of bowel movements (BAB) that occur continuously, such as diarrhea, constipation, or changes in stool density
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Stool contains blood
  • Drastic weight loss

Anal fissure

An anal fissure is an open wound in the tissue that lines the anus. Sores can occur when trying to pass large, hard stools during a bowel movement. This condition is often experienced by infants, but can occur at any age.

Anal fissures can be characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Pain during or after defecation
  • CHAPTER that bleeds fresh
  • A visible tear in the skin around the anus
  • Small lumps or bumps on the skin near the anal fissure


Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around or inside the anus. This condition often results from chronic constipation , pregnancy, or obesity.

Hemorrhoids can cause symptoms such as:

  • Itching and pain in the anus
  • Lumps around the anus
  • Bleeding after painless bowel movements characterized by fresh red blood dripping from the rectum
  • CHAPTER feels incomplete

When to go to the doctor

Immediately consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of digestive disorders as follows:

  • Unbearable stomach pain
  • Vomiting violently or containing blood
  • Can't pass the wind (fart)
  • Difficulty eating
  • bloody CHAPTER
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drastic weight loss

Diagnosis of Digestive Disorders

Diagnosis of digestive disorders begins with asking for symptoms and a detailed medical history, followed by a physical examination. The doctor will suspect the patient has indigestion if there are symptoms that have been described above.

To determine the cause, the doctor will perform a physical examination and supporting examinations, including:

Examination of samples in the laboratory

The doctor will take a sample of the patient's blood, urine or stool, to be examined in the laboratory. This sample can help doctors find out the cause of digestive system disorders, for example bacterial or viral infections.


Endoscopy aims to see the condition of the organs in the digestive tract using a small tube with a camera. The tube can be inserted through the mouth, rectum, or into a small incision made near the organ to be examined.

In addition to seeing visually, endoscopy can also be done to take tissue samples ( biopsy ) on the problematic organ, to be examined under a microscope.


The scan aims to see the condition of the organs in the digestive tract. Types of examinations that can be performed include X-rays with barium , ultrasound , CT scan, and MRI.

Digestive Disorder Treatment

Treatment for indigestion depends on the cause and severity. Doctors can prescribe medicines or perform surgical procedures, as described below:


Some drugs that doctors can prescribe to treat digestive disorders are:

  • Heartburn medications, such as antacids , histamine-2 blockers ( H2 blockers ) , and proton pump inhibitors
  • Paracetamol
  • Probiotics
  • Antibiotics
  • Immunosuppressant drugs
  • Botox injections

Surgical procedure

Depending on the type and severity of the patient, the doctor may perform one of the following surgical procedures to treat digestive disorders:

  • Cholecystectomy, to remove the gallbladder
  • Bowel excision in cases of diverticulitis and colon cancer
  • Binding (ligation) actions, injecting substances to shrink blood vessels (scelotherapy), and laser therapy, to treat hemorrhoids
  • Making a stoma in cases of colon cancer
  • Liver transplant in cases of severe cirrhosis
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), to remove gallstones

Digestive Disorders Complications

If not treated immediately, indigestion can cause serious complications, both in the affected organs and in the surrounding organs. Some of these complications are:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Dehydration
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fistula (abnormal passage) between the bowel and bladder
  • Splenomegaly
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Esophageal narrowing
  • Pneumonia

Digestive Disorder Prevention

Most digestive disorders can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle, namely by:

  • Maintain ideal body weight
  • Increase fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables
  • Store food in a hygienic and proper way
  • Exercise regularly
  • Adequate fluid intake
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water
  • Don't delay if you feel like defecating
  • Do not push too hard during bowel movements
  • Do not sit or squat for too long, especially when on the toilet
  • Avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Practice safe sexual behavior, such as using condoms and not having multiple partners
  • Avoid sharing needles
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