Bloating – Root causes and how you can fix it!
May 8, 2020
Bloating is something we have all experienced, most commonly after a large meal. It can be uncomfortable, and in some cases, embarrassing. Bloating is a build-up of gas in the stomach and intestines. This condition is very common and usually a normal bodily reaction. However, if you feel that you are bloated regularly it could be due to lifestyle or dietary habits, or a medical condition.
Some causes of bloating include:
- Eating too much too fast – Bloating can be all-too-commonly a result of overeating, and while this doesn’t necessarily cause harm, it can over time lead to unwanted weight gain. Check in with yourself to identify if you feel full, or still hungry throughout your meal.
- Consuming too much salt – It has been suggested that consuming too much salt (either added to food or present in processed food) causes the body to retain water and therefore cause bloating.
- Eating naturally gas producing food – Artichoke, garlic, cabbage, brussel sprouts, or whole grains contain a type of carbohydrate called a fructo-oligosaccharide, which our bodies don’t have the enzyme to breakdown. This, therefore, causes fermentation by bacteria in our colon, which results in gas and bloating.
- Sensitivity to FODMAP foods – FODMAP stands for “Dermentable oligo-, Di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”. These are short-chain carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion (similar to point above). Common FODMAPs include Fructose, Lactose, Fructans, Galactans and Polyols. Sensitivity to these carbohydrates also differs between people.
- Constipation – Be aware of your bowel movements. Adequate fibre and fluid are important for regular bowel movement.
- Menstruation – Bloating is a symptom for some women at time of menstruation, or prior to menstruation.
- Lactose Intolerance – A lack of the enzyme lactase causes an inability to breakdown lactose, a carbohydrate found in dairy food. If too much dairy is consumed at one time, you may experience diarrhoea, abdominal pain and/or bloating.
- Coeliac Disease – Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder which is characterised by inflammation and structural damage to the small intestine in the presence of gluten, a naturally occurring protein found in wheat, barley, and rye products. In addition to feelings of nausea, fatigue, and weight loss, severe bloating is often experienced by those with the condition.
If you are experiencing bloating, it is always recommended to ask your dietitian or GP prior to making any significant changes to your diet. If you haven’t seen a GP or dietitian yet, try these tips as a starting point:
1. Try to alleviate stress. Stress can make your gut symptoms worse. Remember bloating does go away with time.
2. Wear loose clothing. This reduces pressure on the stomach and can ease the discomfort of bloating.
3. Make sure mealtimes are consistent. Avoid snacking and over-eating.
4. Avoid any foods that are known to cause gut discomfort (see list above).
5. Try diaphragmatic breathing – this is a style of breathing that includes slow, deliberate breaths deep into the stomach rather than “chest” breathing.
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