Digestive Problems
Natural Solutions in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch

Learn about the causes of Digestive Problems & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Digestive Problems within New Zealand.

occur in the gastrointestinal tract and each part of the tract is susceptible to its own disorders. Digestive problems can be the result of the failure to break down foods, stress, poor tract function, excess acid or infection.


Causes of digestive problems 

There are a number of internal and external factors which can cause problems with the digestive system. The main problems are listed below.


Physical, emotional and psychological stresses are some of the main causes of digestion problems. Unconscious activity in the body such as digestion is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. When stressed, the body reroutes blood, enzymes and oxygen from the digestive organs to other areas of the body as a survival mechanism (often referred to as 'fight or flight'). While this energy is being diverted away from the digestive system, problems can occur with the efficiency of digestion.
Digestive Problems | The Wellness Directory
Other mental and emotional stresses such as anger, fear and worry or physical stresses from injury, infection, toxins or surgery can all have an impact on digestive efficiency.


Processed foods are refined removing essential nutrients and fibre and if consumed regularly the body is starved of essential minerals such as chromium, copper, magnesium and zinc. Without these minerals the body has difficulty digesting carbohydrates leading to undigested food that becomes fuel for yeast and bacteria which then cause indigestion, gas and bloating.

Diets that are low in fibre result in a slowing down of the transit time of food through the digestive tract causing constipation. A slow transit time also increases the risk of food waste toxins entering the bloodstream.

Food enzymes within raw food help with digestion. By not eating enough raw food or cooking food at a temperature over 116 degrees (which destroys the enzymes), the body lacks enough enzymes in the system and digestion problems occur.

Food allergies (e.g. dairy, wheat, fruit) can also cause digestion problems.

Eating habits

Not chewing food properly makes it harder for the digestive system to break down food particles resulting in indigestion, gas and bloating.

Eating fruit with other foods means the enzymes within fruit are not absorbed as quickly. A slower transit time causes the fruit to ferment in the system resulting in gastric problems. Fruit should ideally be eaten on its own to allow for the enzymes to properly enter the system.

A combination of high starch foods in one meal such as pasta and potatoes can place stress on the digestive system resulting in gastric distress.


Drugs contain toxins which can impair digestive function. The digestive organs can be affected by drugs such as:

  • antacids
  • antihistamines
  • steroids
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • birth control pills
  • illegal recreational drugs (cocaine, marijuana etc.)
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate the stomach lining and lead to infection.

Antibiotics can kill naturally occurring bacteria in the stomach which are necessary for proper digestion as well as protection against infections. When antibiotic treatment ceases, yeasts, fungi and parasites can fill the gap where the bacteria usually exists damaging the gut wall and creating toxins which can affect the immune system.

Environmental toxins

Toxins found in the environment such as pollutants, additives, radiation and solvents trigger a detoxifying process in the body. This process uses large amounts of energy leaving little energy for proper digestion.

Genetic disposition

A family history of digestion problems can be passed down to other family members reducing the body's capability of withstanding stress and resisting gastric problems and diseases.


Symptoms of digestion problems
There are a number of symptoms associated with specific digestive disorders. Common digestion problems include:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Crohn's disease
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Acid reflux (GORD)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Stomach cancer
Common symptoms resulting from a digestion problem may include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating

Diagnosis of digestion problems

Due to the large number of digestion problems that can occur, your GP will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms.

Your GP will ask if symptoms have been persistent over at least a few months and they may perform a physical examination of your abdomen to check for any abnormalities or pain. The GP will ask about your eating habits and how often you need to pass stools.

If further investigation is required, you may be referred for diagnostic tests. These may include:

  • Gastroscopy/Endoscopy – a small flexible tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the oesophagus to view the stomach and small intestine.
  • Barium meal – a liquid is swallowed which is then highlighted by an X-ray to view the health of the stomach and intestine.
  • Colonoscopy – a small flexible tube with a camera is placed into the anus to examine the large intestine.


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