Bloating is a very common problem, particularly after a festive season or a big weekend. However, frequent bloating is much more than harmless inconvenience, affecting one`s confidence and overall wellbeing.
8 Common Causes of Bloating
1. Intestinal Yeast Overgrowth
Intestinal yeast is very common these days, and it`s typically a result of long-term antibiotic use. Antibiotic make certain changes within the digestive flora, which allows the foreign invader to take over.
In a case of intestinal yeast overgrowth, you will feel gassy and bloated as yeast ferment food, causing gassiness. Although rarely, some people may experience symptoms like vaginal yeast infections, brain fog, fungal skin infections, fatigue, tendency for binge eating, and high sugar or carb cravings.
Solution: Do yeast cleanse to balance your intestinal flora: take probiotics, eat a no-sugar diet, and take supplements to kill off yeast.
2. Food Intolerance
Although many people use the terms food intolerance and food allergy interchangeably, the first one differs from latter in terms of being a delayed reaction, rather than an immediate response. Food intolerances cause inflammation, which in turn irritates the intestinal tracts, causing bloating. Eggs, nuts, wheat, gluten, corn, dairy, and certain fruits are the most common food intolerances.
While food intolerances are typically suspected in those with a history of eczema, asthma, or allergies, they can be also associated with low energy, digestive disturbances, and many different skin conditions.
Solution: Eliminating any aggravating foods from your daily diet typically improves bloating within a few weeks.
3. Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease
The prevalence of both food intolerance and celiac disease is constantly on the rise, mostly due to the changes in wheat over the past few decades and the increased consumption of grain products. Most people with gluten sensitivity experience bloating, sometimes even accompanied with diarrhea, constipation, and gassiness.
Solution: In case you suspect that you may be sensitive to gluten, the first thing you should do is to do an appropriate blood test or start a 5-week strict gluten-free trial. After 5 weeks, reintroduce gluten again and see what happens. If it turns out that gluten may be problem to you, start using gluten alternatives like sweet potato, millet, quinoa, rice, or squash.
4. Insulin Resistance
Insulin is the hormone secreted from the pancreas in response to glucose. In a non-resistant (healthy) individual, when insulin is released it stimulates the cells to use glucose from the bloodstream. If the cells fail to respond to insulin properly, insulin resistance occurs. Consequently, the body starts releasing even more insulin, leading to high blood sugar.
The most common symptoms of insulin resistance include increased appetite, fatigue, bloating, cravings for sweets and carbohydrates, and weight gain.
Solution: First, you need to do a blood test to confirm insulin resistance. If it turns out to be so, lower your sugar and carbohydrate intake and start eating more fiber, healthy fats, protein, and veggies. Exercising on a regular basis is another good idea.
5. Poor Food Combining
Some types of foods that you eat together affected the way they are digested. When improperly combined, these foods slow down the digestive process, causing indigestion and bloating. The most important rule when it comes to food combining is to eat fruits alone, and avoid combining them with other foods, particularly proteins. For instance, never eat fruit salad right after a fish dinner.
Solution: Try separating the proteins and starches to see how it goes. For instance, have a breakfast made of juicy fruits, have a mid-morning snack, have a lunch consisting of poultry, fish, or meat with veggies, and finally have a dinner high in carbohydrates, such as grilled veggies and baked sweet potato.
6. Irregular Meal-Times
Eating at irregular times is yet another common cause of bloating. Going for many hours without eating or having a heavy dinner compromises the function of your digestive system. Also, skipping breakfast and then having a large lunch nearly always causes bloating.
Solution: Aim at having a breakfast within an hour of waking, mid-day lunch, and dinner before 7pm. If needed, incorporate mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.
7. Deficiency of Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are produced by the pancreas and are responsible for the breakdown of food into tiny particles that can be absorbed by the body. Enzymes break down carbohydrates, fats, lactose, and proteins.
Sometimes, the body may fail to produce enough digestive enzymes, which in turns leads to bloating, irregular bowel movements, indigestion, and pain. The most common causes of a deficiency of digestive enzymes include aging, chronic stress, low stomach acid, overgrowth of bacteria, and low-grade inflammation in the intestinal tract.
Solution: Rule out the root cause of the problem and address any imbalances in order to stimulate the body to produce enough enzymes on its own.
8. Other causes of dysbiosis – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or parasites
Apart from carrying yeast infection as discussed earlier, many people also carry extra bacteria and parasites in their digestive tract. This particularly applies to those who have travelled recently to countries like South America, Asia, and Africa. The most common symptoms of this digestive imbalance include fatigue, diarrhea, and weight loss.
Solution: First and foremost, you need to test for bacterial overgrowth and parasites. Once the organism has been identified, the treatment becomes much simpler.