Bloating is the most common gastrointestinal symptom that health care professionals come across.
From a practitioner’s stance, pinpointing the cause of someone’s bloating isn’t as easy as you think. Symptoms can come and go without warning, regardless of whether you’re eating certain inflammatory foods or not.
Bloating is the excessive gas production or fermentation, (also referred to as abdominal distension), within either the stomach, small intestine or colon. This can lead to the uncomfortable sensation of fullness or pressure, and in some cases even cause nausea, cramping or pain.
There are multiple aspects that lead to bloating such as certain foods, taking in too much air when you eat, excessive stress, your gut microbiome, constipation or an already underlying health problem such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
There’s also the possibility of people becoming bloated if the gastrointestinal tract stops moving things along efficiently, this is often referred to as motility. If the motility is insufficient, the colon becomes distended resulting in uncomfortable bloating.
Although some relief medicines may help, bloating is likely to persist unless the root cause is determined and treated.
Persistent bloating can have a massive impact on you both physically and emotionally, as it is right there at your very centre. Of course, from a visual perspective, you will notice that your belly looks larger and clothes fit just that little bit snugger, only adding to the overall discomfort of the symptoms (no one wants to feel or look bigger then they are).
In many cases, people who experience regular bloating can develop anxieties surrounding the act of eating, as well as avoiding certain social situations and ditching form-hugging clothing.
If this sounds all too familiar, then it’s time to examine the possible causes of your bloating.
Figuring out where your persistent bloating is coming from can feel like you’re searching for a needle in a haystack. Luckily, bloating is one of the first symptoms to be reduced or eliminated when removing certain foods from your diet, so examining what you’re putting into your body is a great place to start. Let’s look at how food could be the culprit.
- First on the list are food intolerances. The two most common foods that cause inflammation and bloating within the gut are wheat and dairy. That being said, there’s also the potential that the cause may be another food source that is harder to identify.
- Next is taking a look at your gut’s microbiome for indicators as it may be imbalanced. Disparities in your microbiome can lead to the adverse fermentation of foods, resulting in gas production and bloating. The main contenders on this list are foods like onions and garlic, as they contain fructooligosaccharides, as well as a majority of legumes, which contain fibrous oligosaccharides. Don’t worry, they are good for you – it’s just that some digestive systems aren’t stable enough to digest them effectively.
- Food isn’t always the problem. The cause could simply be that only partially disgusted food is passing down through the intestine. There are multiple reasons for this – not chewing your food enough, or a lack of either stomach acid, bile or crucial enzymes, means that the moderately digested food causes some irritation or even fermentation.
Dr. Vincent Pedre, an integrative medical practitioner, explains that “Bloating is not constant. A lot of times, bloating will be least in the morning.” This is a result of your stomach being rested throughout the night – essentially the time you spend in blissful slumber is also a fasting period. Therefore, what you’re experiencing is a reduction in Endotoxemia and inflammation. Evidentially speaking, this is often a very clear indicator that a certain food or ingredient, could be contributing to your bloating.
If you are experiencing chronic bloating or pain then a healthcare professional or a gastroenterologist should be your number one port of call. They will ensure that you are well equipped with the right knowledge and tools to eliminate any potential illnesses that could manifest with bloating and help you find a solution that works.
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