Bloating is a common yet often misunderstood digestive symptom. If you experience persistent bloating, the cause behind it may not be what you think.
This article will outline what bloating is, what may be causing it and what you can do about it to support your body and your digestive health overall.
Bloating can be much more than just your stomach expanding after you eat a meal, which is a normal process for everyone to a certain degree. With bloating, your stomach becomes filled with air in addition to food which can lead to feelings of fullness or tightness in the stomach, which can be uncomfortable.
Other symptoms, like gas, burping, and abdominal pain, can sometimes accompany bloating.
Bloating is most often a symptom of poor digestion. While many things can contribute to this, here are three underlying reasons you may experience persistent bloating:
Imbalanced gut bacteria. Bloating is primarily linked to a digestive imbalance within your gut. The bacteria in your gut make up your microbiome, assisting with digestion. When there are more bad bacteria than good, a condition called dysbiosis can occur, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms like bloating.
Food sensitivities and intolerances. These are types of adverse food reactions that can lead to bloating. However, experiencing bloating or gas does not necessarily mean you have a food sensitivity or intolerance, which can be a common misconception. Food sensitivities and intolerances can occur from many foods, even healthy ones. However, gluten and dairy are two of the most common offenders.
More serious underlying conditions can also contribute to bloating, so it's essential to understand your individual health imbalances and learn more about the four leading causes of digestive and gut health problems.
Bloating doesn't have to be something you live with forever. Here are some steps to support your body and find relief from bloating.
This is the first and most essential step to addressing any health issue. A simple at-home lab test can help identify your underlying digestive imbalance and the appropriate support you need to address this at a deeper level, rather than masking the symptoms that prescribed medication may offer as a short-term solution. Since severe and persistent bloating can signify a bacterial imbalance, using a test is a very effective and easy way to start.
Identifying foods you may be sensitive to that trigger digestive upset is another helpful strategy. Following an appropriate elimination diet after testing and supportive supplementation to restore the gut can help rebalance the digestive system and remove associated unpleasant symptoms.
Ginger is a natural digestive enzyme well-known and studied for its beneficial effects on digestion. It can help with things like nausea, gas, and bloating, and it can also support regular stomach emptying, therefore improving the body's ability to digest various foods. Sip on a warm cup of ginger tea before or during a meal using freshly peeled and grated ginger or an organic tea bag, add fresh ginger to your breakfast smoothie, incorporate it in your cooking or take natural ginger supplements.
Digestive enzymes are also found in supplement form and can improve bloating due to their assistance with the proper breakdown and digestion of food after eating. A daily digestive enzyme can be used with whole food meals that are harder to digest or more targeted supportive enzymes for specific trigger foods, like gluten and dairy, two of the most common food sensitivities that can cause digestive discomfort.
If you suspect or identify that you have a bacterial imbalance, following a specifically formulated protocol can help to rebalance the gut by removing harmful microbes, replenishing beneficial bacteria and restoring your gut barrier.
Having a healthy balance of gut bacteria, strong digestion and adequate stomach acid are critical factors in minimizing bloating or other symptoms of digestive upset. If you experience persistent bloating, you may want to consider some of these common triggers and decrease digestive discomfort:
Due to the wide range of possible reasons you may experience persistent bloating, identifying the most effective support for you can be confusing. Working with a certified health coach can help uncover the underlying root cause behind your bloating and guide you in selecting the appropriate at-home lab tests, supplements, and diet and lifestyle changes to alleviate your symptoms and continue bloat-free.