Gas and bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. While there are some serious medical conditions that have side effects of bloating, most causes we can control. While the terms “bloating” and “water retention” are often times used interchangeably, they are not the same. While both can feel uncomfortable pressure in the abdomen, water retention involves excess fluid accumulation which resolves when taking diuretics. But likely, your bloating may be the result of either faulty digestion or dietary choices. Let’s review both:
Anybody can be sensitive to any foods. Part of good detective work is finding out what foods are tolerable in your body, and which create havoc. For some people they do not handle sucrose, for others it’s fructose. High sucrose foods include puddings, dark chocolate, cereals, fresh fruits, pancakes, cookies, cakes, fruit juice, etc. High fructose foods include sugary drinks, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, agave, dried and fresh fruits, yogurt, baked goods, fast foods, etc. In general, a high carbohydrate meal is one of the greatest reasons for bloating.
Some people can’t handle lactose, dairy, while others can’t tolerate the foods known for contributing to gas: beans, fiber, broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. When eating lots of fiber, be sure your water intake is high, which typically reduces the fiber-caused gas.
Gluten sensitivity and/or Celiac Disease can certainly be a big contributor to gas and bloating. Since these can also damage delicate digestive tissues, ruling out gluten as an irritant to your body is a wise choice.
From a digestive system standpoint: a deficiency in digestive enzymes, particularly in hydrochloric acid (HCL) is a primary cause of gas, bloating and food sensitivities. If you are eating too fast or while stressed, digestive enzymes are suppressed and food has to ferment in order to break down sufficiently to move out of the stomach. That fermentation causes gas and bloating. Also, eating too fast can result in swallowing air or eating too much food, both of which can also contribute to that yucky full feeling.
Disturbances in intestinal health also need to be checked into. Constipation due to eating the wrong foods, lack of fiber or water in the diet or from loss of mechanical movement of the colon allows food to sit in the colon too long, furthering the bloat.
Bacterial overgrowth either because of chronic small intestine bowel disease (SIBO), antibiotic use, or imbalance in the healthy gut bacteria due to a number of reasons, can lead to this discomfort.
While just ruling out the above and eliminating the offending foods or drinks will help the majority of people, if there is fever, intense pain, vomiting (not associated with flu), bloody stools, or a physical injury prior to the onset, seek immediate medical care to rule out something more serious.
As is generally the case, with good investigative work, and logical actions, we can remedy gas and bloating, now!
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.