Imagine you’re living with a Food Baby all the time. You’re tired, your energy is low, your stomach hurts and you’re passing gas. By the time 4.00pm rolls around your pants are tight, you can’t breathe through your dress and your stomach has swollen up to 3 times its normal size. For many people, this Food Baby has become part of their daily routine. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be.
Your digestive tract is a complicated system of different organs, each with a particular job. From breaking down foods to absorbing nutrients, to packaging waste – our system is an intricate part to every moment of our waking (and sleeping) lives. And although a bloated stomach is definitely uncomfortable (albeit embarrassing if combined with gas or the need to run to the bathroom) it might be a bigger deal than you think. Bloating can be a sign of high levels of stress, environmental exposures, sensitivities to certain foods or even symptoms of SIBO or a candida overgrowth.
ONE: Digestive Disorder
Digestive disorders like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ulcerative colitis and celiac disease are associated with chronic bloating, gas and distension. Your bloating could be caused by any of these functional gastrointestinal disorders and could also be associated with diarrhea, constipation or functional dyspepsia. What to do about this? Start tracking your digestion and see if there’s a pattern present. Digestive disorders like celiac disease and ulcerative colitis can be ruled in or out with testing from a medical practitioner, and a high potency digestive enzyme or a carminative tea like peppermint or chamomile could help relieve symptoms.
TWO: Food Allergies or Sensitivities
Very often food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances (like to lactose) are common reasons for both gas and bloating. Carbohydrates known as FODMAPs, dairy products and gluten-containing foods are common food allergies or sensitivities, as well as shellfish, nuts and eggs. You’re likely to know if you experience an allergy to a certain food, but an elimination diet can help pinpoint certain foods that may be causing your bloating. These elimination diets can be combined with a focus on repairing the lining of your digestive tract so that you can start to slowly incorporate those foods back into your diet without the bloating and gas.
THREE: High Stress Levels
Our bodies can’t tell the difference between modern day stress, and the stress associated with running away from a bear. Because of that, chronic high stress levels can leave our bodies in a permanent Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) state. This is our “fight or flight” state. What we need to properly digest our food is a “rest and digest” state (our Parasympathetic Nervous System or PNS). Here we’re best able to break down, absorb and eliminate foods. What results is bloating, gas and that uncomfortable gurgling in your stomach. Start managing your stress by finding an outlet for it, like the gym, a walk or a 15 minute break in your day.
FOUR: Your Hormones
PMS is known to cause a bloated stomach and digestive issues. It can make you more prone to constipation and fluid retention, especially before your period due to the rising estrogen levels. This is why your bloating can have more of a monthly cycle to it as opposed to a daily cycle. When it comes to modulating your hormones it’s a bit of a whole body approach. Supporting your liver’s enzymatic systems is an integral area of focus, as well as ensuring you’re not constipated so that the by-products can be properly eliminated from your system.
Tried the above tips and they haven’t made a dent? Book one of my complimentary consultations to chat about how to take your health to the next level.
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It really helped when you said that your stomach is a sensitive part of your body. My sister told me she’s looking for treatment since she’s always bloated, and she asked if I knew what the best course of action would be. You did an excellent job of describing how to avoid bloating, and I’ll be sure to remind her that she may get all of her questions answered by consulting a reputable gastroenterology service.