Some symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, bleeding from the digestive tract, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing, usually suggest a digestive disorder. More general symptoms, such as abdominal pain, passing of gas (flatulence), loss of appetite, and nausea, may suggest a digestive disorder or another type of disorder.
Indigestion is an imprecise term that is used by different people to mean different things. The term covers a wide range of symptoms, including dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting, regurgitation, and the sensation of having a lump in the throat (globus sensation).
Bowel (intestinal) function varies greatly not only from one person to another but also for any one person at different times. Most people find it easiest to move their bowels in the morning. The urge tends to be strongest about 30 to 60 minutes after first eating in the morning. Bowel function can be affected by diet, stress, drugs, disease, and even social and cultural patterns. In most Western societies, the normal number of bowel movements ranges from 2 or 3 a week to as many as 2 or 3 a day. Changes in the frequency, consistency, or volume of bowel movements or the presence of blood, mucus, pus, or excess fatty material (oil or grease) in the stool may indicate a disorder.
Last full review/revision October 2012 by Norton J. Greenberger, MD