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Bloating out of the blue?

Why do I get bloated when I don’t even eat?

Bloating is an all-too-common digestive issue that can catch us off guard, leaving us feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. What's puzzling is that sometimes it seems to happen even when we haven't eaten anything. We can experience sudden bloating at random times of the day or night, and it seems to make no sense.

Understanding the root cause of bloating is key to finding relief and regaining control over your digestive well-being. In this blog, we'll dive into the world of bloating, exploring possible triggers and shedding light on why it can occur seemingly out of the blue.

Common causes of bloating

Eating too fast, eating too much and foods like beans and certain vegetables can all lead bloating. Food intolerances can trigger bloating, a common one being lactose intolerance. The inability to break down lactose in milk resulting in a build up of gasses.

When we eat, food travels through to the intestines and ferments in the large intestine, our beneficial bacteria help to do this. If there are imbalances in our gut bacteria, or we don’t have enough digestive enzymes or stomach acid, we can become bloated after food.

But what about bloating when we don’t eat? Why do we sometimes balloon up without even thinking about food?

Yeast overgrowth

Yeasts are a normal part of our microbiome and often they don’t cause any digestive symptoms. We even have beneficial yeasts which help to look after the health of the digestive tract.

Certain factors can lead to an overgrowth of certain yeasts, which can result in bloating, diarrhoea, thrush, cramping and altered bowel habits. Antibiotic use, diets high in sugar and refined foods, excess alcohol and low immunity can all lead to an altered microbiome (the balance of bacteria in the gut). This can result in yeasts spreading more rapidly as they start to take up more space.

If there is an overgrowth of yeasts in the gut you are more likely to suffer with bloating, and this can happen at any time of the day, food, or no food!

Imbalances of gut bacteria

We have a diverse range of bacteria living in our large bowel, and much of it is not harmful and indeed helps us to stay healthy. Problems occur when things become imbalanced. When we have less beneficial bacteria, we are unable to break down our fibre effectively and this can lead to bloating. Having low beneficial bacteria also leaves us more susceptible to an overgrowth of bacteria (and yeasts) which is likely to cause bloating, among other symptoms.

Certain bacteria produce gasses that can cause inflammation, damage the lining of the gut wall and lead to IBS type symptoms and bloating. A build up of these gasses can add to bloating and this is not always going to happen when you eat.


SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Bacteria is growing in the small intestines, and it shouldn’t be there! When we talk about beneficial bacteria, or microbiome balance, we are referring to the large intestines. There are lots of reasons why SIBO might be present. Low stomach acid (stomach acid helps to kill bacteria entering in food), imbalances in the large bowel (the bacteria move up into the small intestines), constipation, underactive thyroid to name a few! This bacteria produces gas, which leads to bloating. And it doesn’t matter if you eat or don’t eat, that gas is still there, and you’ll still get bloating.

Low short chain fatty acids:

These are found in the large intestines and are organic acids which are produced by our beneficial bacteria. They help to look after the health of the intestinal wall, reduce inflammation, mop up unabsorbed carbohydrates, provide fuel for intestinal cells and help to regulate water absorption in the bowel.

If these important organic acids are low, bloating is more likely. We are more likely to have inflammation, slower moving bowels and more fermentation as unabsorbed carbohydrates sit around for too long.

So, as you can see, there are many things that can lead to bloating that are not directly related to the food you are eating, and this can mean you are bloating at random times of the day with no obvious rhyme or reason.

What can you do?

First, it’s important to figure out what is causing your bloating. Stool testing can help to identifying the root cause so that you can then start to work on a gut health programme specifically for you.

I use my 6R approach to gut health with my clients as this helps to move them through all stages of digestive health and wellbeing.

Removing any unwanted bacteria or yeast that has showed on a stool test, as well as eliminating food sensitivities:

  • Replacing digestive function, so that you can digest your foods properly.

  • Repopulating the intestines with beneficial bacteria.

  • Repairing the gut lining and mucosal membranes so that your friendly bacteria have a home, and everything stays where it should be!

  • Reintroducing previous food sensitivities (because this is more likely once you have done the work).

  • Retaining healthy habits and digestion for a happy life.

What ONE thing can you do straight away?

Bloating is annoying, isn’t it? There are so many things you can do to help reduce your bloating, but one simple thing you can do to help straight away is to CHEW!

Chewing your food, making sure you are calm when you eat, slowing down and letting your body know it’s time to digest your food, is the first step towards a healthy and happy digestive system.

So, if you can do one thing today, it would be this:


If you would like to find out what’s causing your bloating book a free digestive health review with me and start your journey to a happy and healthy gut and a happy and healthy life.

Fixing your digestion isn’t as hard as you think!

Click here to book a free call with me, we can discuss your symptoms and work out your next steps.

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