Almost every client I see in clinic has some degree of bloating. Many accept it as part of their every day life but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Bloating is your body’s way of telling you that your gut is not happy, so I like to work on finding out what could be the root cause and then supporting this, so clients can feel comfortable again.
What causes bloating?
There are many possible causes of bloating. Obviously if you’re noticing lots of changing or worsening gut issues that can’t be explained, it’s may be worth speaking to your GP to rule out coeliac, colitis, Crohns, gall stones and certain cancers
Some of the common gut issues I support in clinic:
- Stress – stress can definitely mess with bowel habits! We have all experienced that nervous feeling (butterflies) when our body is in ‘fight or flight’ mode. In this mode, survival is all that matters, so the body suppressed digestion until the stress subsides, causing all kinds of issues.
- Dehydration – when we are dehydrated our bowel motility slows and our electrolytes can become imbalanced. This can stop digestion and can cause constipation.
- Lack of sleep – our circadian rhythm regulates everything including our bowels.
- Gut infection – underlying infections, such as bacterial imbalance, yeast (candida), parasites or viruses, can cause all sorts of digestive issues, including bloating
- SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth is a condition associated with excess microbes, usually bacteria or fungi, in the small intestine rather than colon. I’m seeing this more and more in clinic but it is still not well recognised in the medical world, often being diagnosed as IBS. Symptoms include bloating, distention, gas and/or crampy pain and it’s something we can test for in clinic.
- Lack of enzymes or stomach acid – if you don’t produce enough stomach acid or digestive enzymes to break down your food, it can stay in your stomach longer than necessary and produce fermentable gases that can cause distention and bloating.
- Hormones – hormone imbalances can cause fluid retention and upset digestive balance. Bloating can be common during these times of fluctuating, PCOS, endometriosis, PMS, perimenopause and menopause.
- Food intolerance – if you’re sensitive or intolerant to certain food, this can also cause bloating and other digestive symptoms.
- Poor diet – too many refined carbs, unhealthy fats, artificial sweeteners and chemicals in your diet can disrupt digestive function and cause problems.
- Medications – certain medications have side effects that include bloating. These include Aspirin, Antacids, Diarrhoea tablets, iron supplements, HRT, Antibiotics, and Ibuprofen.
Top diet and lifestyle tips to support better digestion.
- Chew more– 20 times each mouthful! The physical breakdown of food starts in the mouth. Have you ever noticed how, quite often, the slimmest people are those who eat the slowest? Try to focus on your meal, rather than your phone or the TV and take the time to really appreciate your food.
- Chill more – make sure you’re switching off your stress response every day, especially before eating. Simple techniques like breathing can do wonders for your digestion.
- Stimulate your digestive juices – a digestive enzyme supplement or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before meals can really help stimulate your gastric juices and digest your food properly.
- Stay hydrated– Try to get your 2 litres of water or herbal teas each day. Pale urine is a sign you’re hydrated.
- Eliminate potential food intolerances– try this for a few weeks and see if your symptoms subside.
- Optimise your diet – eat whole real foods, avoid processed foods and vegetable oils and make sure you’re eating plenty of the vegetables.
- Add in gut friendly foods – such as ginger and mint as well as fermented foods like Kefir and Kombucha – to help keep your microbiome in check.
- Increase your daily movement- exercise helps with bowel motility, supporting constipation.
- Targeted Supplements can really help- contact the clinic for specific information to support YOUR body.
- Get Yourself Tested – a stool test or breath test with a qualified health practitioner will test for underlying causes like infections or inflammation.