Everyone gets a bit of bloating, particularly after a big meal, stressful day, or a few drinks. Sometimes we don’t know the reasons why.
We all have the occasional digestive distress. That said, if you are the type of person that is chronically bloated, it may be a sign that there is something more going on. Read on to find out what you can do to alleviate the bloating or when you should see a health care professional immediately.
Let’s get a few definitions out of the way before we start.
What is bloating?
Bloating is considered a subjective sign – meaning it can be visceral and sensory. Being bloated is usually an uncomfortable or ‘stuffed’ sensation and can come with visible signs. But the visible sign can also be absent.
Whereas abdominal distension is considered an objective sign, there is an increase in abdominal girth. We are going to talk about bloating in this article. It may or may not appear with the objective sign of increased abdominal size.
What causes bloating? Is bloating common?
Bloating is a common problem and is usually caused by excess gas production or disturbances in the movement of the digestive system’s muscles. All you need to do is look at our testimonials to see how many people are affected by chronic bloating.
Although bloating is sometimes caused by severe medical conditions, it is most often originating from our diet or our behaviour around eating.
Let’s explore some of the common root causes present when people complain of being chronically bloated.
7 Common Causes of Bloating
1. Eating Too Quickly
Stuffing Yourself at Mealtimes Because You’re Stressed and Rushed?
We have all been there before. Sitting down to a meal, stressed, starving and shovelling it down your mouth. Before you realise it, the plate is finished and you still feel hungry, so you go back for more.
Eating too fast can make you eat more than required because the receptors in your gut (stretch receptors) that send messages to your brain via the vagus nerve can’t keep up. This results in a delay in telling your brain that you are full.
The result – you overeat, which ends up making you feel uncomfortable and bloated.
Interestingly, a person with a tendency to be bloated will experience discomfort from a smaller amount of food than a person who rarely feels bloated. Indicating there is a definite sensory component to the discomfort. (Agrawal, et al., 2008) (Choi, 2013).
Another part of this equation is that there is a good chance you aren’t chewing your food properly, along with swallowing too much air as you are shovelling in the food.
The digestion process is supposed to start in the mouth… through the act of chewing. If you aren’t chewing and just gulping, you tend to swallow more air. This leads to gas build-up that eventually causes pain.
Also, when we are stressed, the body doesn’t prioritise the process of digestion. The body is preparing for fight, flight, or freeze… why on earth would it want to put any resources into digesting a meal? This leaves the food to sit in your gut and ferment, causing a nice big gaseous build-up.
Another big offender is drinking carbonated beverages. These drinks contain carbon dioxide, which is released into the stomach, increasing the feelings of discomfort.
Knowing this information, it would be helpful to increase the time you eat your meal. Slowing things down can help your gut stretch receptors signal to your brain that it is full. This will decrease overeating, leading to less chance of pain and discomfort.
Also, if you schedule your mealtimes in, you are less likely to eat on the run, which reduces the impact of stress on digestion. You can also consider cutting down on carbonated drinks. Even if it is natural mineral water… definitely if it is sugar-laden.
Grazing or Three Square?
A few years back, there was a movement in the health and wellness industry to encourage snacking or grazing. It was believed that it was the best process to keep the digestion running on high for weight loss purposes.
But there is evidence building to prove this may not be the best way to deal with abdominal bloating (Deloose, Janssen, Depoortere, & Tack, 2012).
If you graze all day, you may constantly be building up gas production due to the continual digestion process. You don’t give your body a chance to sweep out the intestine before the next meal. It may also contribute to an overgrowth of harmful intestinal bacteria, increasing the likelihood of bloating.
Try and stick to two- or three square meals a day and see if this makes an impact.
3. Food Allergies
You May Need to Play Detective…
Not everyone has a food allergy or intolerance, but they are common. And it takes time and effort to figure it out correctly, but it is worth it in the long run.
When you eat foods that you are intolerant to, it can cause excessive gas production and bloat. Some of the more common foods and ingredients that cause intolerance reactions can be lactose, fructose, eggs, wheat and gluten.
Both lactose and fructose are part of a larger group of indigestible fibre known as FODMAPs. Check out our story on FODMAPS here.
Having a FODMAP intolerance is one of the most common causes of bloating and abdominal pain. It stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. They are all short-chain carbohydrates that the small intestine struggles to absorb. Meaning they tend to ferment in the gut. Following a low-FODMAP diet has proven to have positive effects on bloating associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
If it’s something you would consider, it’s best to do it under the guidance of a registered dietician or nutritionist and follow it for three months or less. Then you can slowly reintroduce the foods on the list into your diet to see which one makes your stomach unsettled.
You should also know that Gut Performance™ is FODMAP approved by the Monash University, the leaders in FODMAP research.
Even if you don’t have IBS or food intolerances, some high fibre foods can make people produce large amounts of gas and experience bloating. It’s probably no secret the major players are legumes and whole grains.
Rather than cutting fibre entirely from the diet, try to prioritize soluble fibre foods. The type of fibre you find in fresh fruits, vegetables and Gut Performance™.
4. Sugar Alcohols
Decrease Your Consumption of Sugar Alcohols
You may be watching your sugar intake for health reasons, but don’t get stung by sugar alcohols. These are commonly found in sugar-free foods as alternatives to sugar. Sugar alcohols can cause digestive problems in high amounts as the large intestine finds it difficult to digest them and produces gas. Sugar alcohols are also on the list of FODMAPs.
The only fix is to avoid sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol.
Watch Out for Constipation
Constipation is a common digestive problem and has many different causes. But it seems to exacerbate symptoms of bloating.
Increasing the amount of fibre is often recommended, but you may have to watch out. Some forms of fibre – such as beans and whole grains-can trigger the sensation of bloating.
Gut Performance™ is the perfect soluble fibre to reduce the risk of constipation. You can also try drinking more water and increasing physical activity. These simple acts can be extremely effective against constipation.
7. A Chronic or Serious Condition
It could be serious…
Sometimes chronic bloating isn’t a harmless belly full of gas. It can also be an indicator of numerous sinister health conditions.
If you have chronic bloating that isn’t fixed with simple changes in your diet or deteriorates quickly, you definitely need to see a doctor. Also, see your health professional immediately if you detect any blood in your stools, have any associated vomiting, or sudden unexplained and accelerated weight loss.
Remember, if you have to go to a health professional, diagnosing digestive problems can be a process. It is never done in one visit. These diagnoses’ usually come about by having to eliminate numerous other causes.
But, in many cases, bloating can be reduced or even eliminated with simple changes in diet and lifestyle changes.
Tips to Reduce Bloating
- Reduce snacking and consume 2-3 balanced meals per day (and remember to chew your food slowly!)
- Take a time-out from carbonated beverages
- Keep away from anything you’re eating that contains sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol)
- Take a daily dose of Gut Performance™, to help manage constipation and nurture your gut
- If you’re still feeling bloated, then we suggest talking to a health professional to rule out food allergies or a more serious condition
How Gut Performance Helps with Bloating
Gut Performance™ contains not one but three prebiotics; sugarcane stem, red sorghum and blackcurrant skin or Beetroot Powder, promoting the growth of a broad range of good bacteria. It also such a great source of soluble and insoluble fibre, resistant starch and essential micronutrients, promoting regular bowel movements and good gut health. Bad bacteria absolutely love constipation and thrive in that environment. Ensuring daily bowel motions (and a less comfortable environment for our bad bacteria) is really important for balancing the microbiome.
Taking Gut Performance™ will ensure you have the right prebiotic to increase your healthy gut bacteria to protect you from bloating and extra gas production. Think of prebiotics as a fertiliser. Taking probiotics without prebiotics is a bit like sowing seeds without first ploughing the filed, the crop would probably fail. It also provides both soluble and insoluble fiber to improve constipation and cleaning out your intestine.
There is no one ‘Superfood’ in the world but you can make ‘Super-mixes’ like Gut Performance™ to help with specific health problems like gut inflammation, bloating, constipation and IBS symptoms. The complexity of the foods in Gut Performance™ means that it is very effective in normalising your gut ‘microbiome’ which are the bacteria in your intestines that keep you healthy.
- Gut Performance™ contains soluble and insoluble fibers, resistant starches, antioxidants and essential minerals, all in the forms that your body needs to utilise them. Gut Performance™ can provide a large part of what is missing from a healthy diet in many people.
- Improving the health of our gut with Gut Performance™ alleviates symptoms such as IBS and IBD. It has also been shown to improve blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity which benefits a wide range of conditions.
- The difference between Gut Performance™ and many other products is that we have tested the ingredients (not just relied on papers from others) and we have shown that consuming Gut Performance™ increases probiotic bacteria and reduces pro-inflammatory bacteria while maintaining biome diversity. Finally clinical trials on people that control for other factors have shown that the ingredients in Gut Performance™ have a measurable improvement on issues like constipation, bloating and inflammation.
The added bonus is Gut Performance™ is packed with micronutrients and antioxidants; it’s gluten-free and contains no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, or chemical stimulants to irritate your gut.
Let us know via our Gut Performance™ Instagram page and #gutperformance how you prepare your daily Gut Performance™ dose.
Better yet, drop us a testimonial if you have found Gut Performance™ to be the perfect antidote to reduce your bloating and take your gut health to the next level.
Bloating is excess gas caused by either/or: overgrowth of pathogenic (bad) bacteria, poorly digested food fermenting or food intolerances. It can also be affected by the menstrual cycle. It may be indicative of underlying condition such as IBS, SIBO or inflammatory bowel disease.
Bloating means you may have an imbalance/overgrowth of bacteria in your gut, you may not produce enough digestive enzymes or you may have a food intolerance. It may also indicate an underlying condition.
Bloating is excess gas with no where to go but out! It causes distension of the abdomen, and the belly to stick out.
Bloating feels uncomfortable and can even be quite painful. Clothes feel tighter and buttons are often loosened!
Bloating is very common, as the factors which trigger bloating are also very common. Poor gut health, poor digestion, SIBO and food intolerances.
Bloating is caused by gas, but gas may also refer to flatulence or belching.
Bloating and constipation are both symptoms of poor gut health. Imbalance of gut bacteria, poor digestion, food intolerances or underlying digestive condition
Yes, it can cause pain and discomfort in the abdominal area.
Some people have trouble digesting certain foods or food groups, or they may have an intolerance to specific foods which results in bloating. Common culprits are legumes, wheat, dairy or the FODMAP food groups.
Address the cause first! Helpful intervention can be: balance your microbiome (good and bad gut bacteria) with prebiotics and probiotics, stimulate digestive enzyme production, use bitter foods or herbs to stimulate digestion, identify food intolerances.
There can be other causes of abdominal distention, discomfort and pain. So if you are experiencing ongoing abdominal distension, discomfort and pain please see your doctor.
Agrawal, A., Houghton, L. A., Lea, R., Morris, J., Reilly, B., & Whorwell, P. J. (2008). Bloating and distention in irritable bowel syndrome: the role of visceral sensation. Gastroenterology, 134(7), 1882-1889. Retrieved 2021, from https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2008.02.096
Choi, C. (2013). Are bloating and abdominal distention attributed to gas production and visceral sensitivity in irritable bowel syndrome? Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility, 19(4), 544-546. Retrieved 2021, from https://doi.org/10.5056/jnm.2013.19.4.544
Deloose, E., Janssen, P., Depoortere, I., & Tack, J. (2012). The migrating motor complex: control mechanisms and its role in health and disease. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 9(5), 271-285. Retrieved 2021, from https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2012.57