Do you Suffer with bloating?
Feel like you are 6 months pregnant?
Fed up with not being able to fit into your favourite jeans?
You are not alone
Bloating is common, and it’s something lots of people talk to me about during their Digestive Health Reviews. Some find that they become bloated after eating food, some get more bloated as the day goes on, while others are bloated ALL the time. There are many reasons for bloating, and finding your own individual cause is the first step to getting rid of your bloat and getting back into those favourite jeans again.
What could be going on for me?
There are many things that can contribute to excess bloating. I find that people often focus on cutting out certain foods, but there is usually more to it than that.
Lack of digestive enzymes, low stomach acid, imbalance of gut bacteria, eating the wrong types of foods, low intake of nutrients, damage in the intestinal lining, constipation and stress could all be contributing to the feeling of fullness and bloating.
Let’s take a look at your GUT BACTERIA
Bloating & your gut bacteria
I sure you have heard of beneficial bacteria, it’s in the news a lot at the moment. Many people are taking a probiotic to try to balance their gut bacteria and reduce their unwanted digestive symptoms.
Let’s take a closer look at how our bacteria can lead to bloating.
Where does this bacteria live?
The intestines travel from the stomach to the anus. Food travels through the small intestines into the large intestines. The small intestines are where we absorb our nutrients, and there shouldn’t be many bacteria living here. When we talk about beneficial bacteria we are talking about the bacteria in the large intestines.
If for some reason we get bacteria living and multiplying in the small intestines, we are likely to get bloating. This is because the bacteria living there produce gasses and toxins. (This condition is known as SIBO - Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). We don’t want this bacteria here. They must move out immediately!
There is a breath test that can test for SIBO. It looks at the types of gasses you are breathing out and can tell if you have bacteria in your small intestines. If a SIBO test is positive, you will need to look at dietary changes and supplements that help to kick this bacteria out, as well as looking at why it came to live there in the first place.
Low FODMAP Diets
(the fermentable fibres)
If you have ever done a low FODMAP diet and felt better, it’s likely you have SIBO. That’s because these FODMAP foods feed the bacteria living in the small intestines allowing them to multiply and release more gasses. When you take these fibres out of your diet the bacteria don’t have enough to eat and they starve. This results in less gas being produced, and less bloating. The problem is that it doesn’t kill them completely, and as soon as you start eating normally again your symptoms are likely to return. Low FODMP diets are not suitable long term, so you need to tackle the problem properly by getting rid of this unwanted bacteria.
Moving into the large intestines
The large intestines are where we should find this bacteria we are talking about.
We all have a mixture of different types. We call the ones that normally live there our COMMENSAL bacteria. These bacteria develop when we are babies and kids.
We then have our ADDITIONAL bacteria. These are bacteria, yeasts and sometimes parasites that come to join the party. It’s OK to have some additional bacteria, we are used to sharing our guts.
The problem lies in IMBALANCE
When we have less of our usual friendly bacteria (which help our guts to stay healthy) and too many of these additional bacteria we get all sorts of unwanted gut health issues.
Including, yes you have guessed it, BLOATING!
Some of these bacteria and yeasts can be troublesome. Let’s call them ‘BAD’. They release gasses and toxins which can damage the gut lining, stop our ‘good ‘bacteria from growing and lead to fermentation and a build up of gas.
This can mean you feel bloated ALL the time, not just after food.
It can mean you have rather smelly wind (these gasses can smell) and it can make you more sensitive to certain foods.
These additional bacteria can lead to inflammation. Leaky gut (small holes in the intestines), stomach pain and food intolerances.
WHAT CAN I DO?
It’s important to figure out if this is an issue for you.
First you need to know if you have an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria (sometimes it can be other things causing your bloat), and then you can do something about it.
Taking a probiotic isn’t always useful and can lead to worsening of symptoms in some people. If you have an overgrowth of bacteria, taking a probiotic might not be enough to help balance this. Feeding your friendly bacteria can help to keep balance in the gut. Rainbow foods and plant foods can help to do this. Try eating a range of foods such as nuts, seeds, colourful fruits and vegetables, legumes and healthy grains like quinoa and millet.
Reducing sugar is also important, as sugar feeds this ‘Bad’ bacteria. Our beneficial bacteria is also more likely to suffer with an intake of processed and sugary foods.
GUT HEALTH PROGRAMMES:
My gut health programmes & stool analysis can help you to uncover the root cause of your bloating. An individualised gut health programme helps to rebalance gut bacteria and reduce bloating and pain.
To find out more about what might be causing your bloating and how Nutritional Therapy & stool testing can help, book a free Digestive Health Review with me.
If you would like to learn more about how you can Beat the Bloat why not download my free eBook ‘Beat the Bloat – Simple solutions to reduce bloating and pain’