Bloating is just downright uncomfortable.
For some your stomach is as flat as a pancake when you wake up but by the end of the day you look like you're 3 months pregnant.
You might need to let out a button or two on your jeans as the day progresses and for others they seem to bloat no matter what they eat or drink.
Regardless of how it happens bloated is NOT normal.
The causes of bloating are many and varied. Without the help of an expert it can be difficult to identify the primary cause of your bloating.
To help steer you in the right direction we explore the top 14 causes of bloating that are due to imbalances either in the digestive system, your nutrition and/or your hormones.
1. Candida, parasites and dysbiotic bacteria
Your gut or large intestine is home to an epic population of bacteria, parasites and fungi. The delicate balance between good and bad bacteria is crucial to optimal digestive system function. This balance is easily disrupted by sugar, alcohol, the contraceptive pill, poor diet and some prescription drugs. As a result the environment becomes conducive to an overgrowth of Candida and vulnerable to parasites and dysbiotic bacteria that are a primary contributor to chronic bloating and poor stool quality. Natural medicine offers many solutions through key herbs and nutrients for killing off opportunistic pathogens, gut repair and replacement of good bacteria.
Radiance testing: We offer comprehensive testing to determine the presence of dysbiotic bacteria, parasites and Candida. Blood tests can also determine if there is an immunological response to Candida
2. Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
Having the right amount of stomach acid is essential for optimal protein digestion. ie meat, chicken, eggs and legumes. Low stomach acid results in undigested protein that causes bloating, gas and constipation. Your stomach acid also activates digestive enzymes and acts as a defence against microorganisms present in your food.
Radiance testing: Low stomach acid can be detected by a comprehensive stool analysis
3. Pancreatic insufficiency
The pancreas produces key enzymes involved in the digestion of protein, carbohydrates and fats. If pancreatic function is too low, you won’t be able to completely break down and absorb your food and it will start to ferment causing gas and bloating.
Radiance testing: The state of the art CDSA (complete digestive stool analysis) is a great way to detect pancreatic insufficiency.
4. Helicobacter pylori
This particular bug likes to burrow under the cells that line the wall of the stomach and one of the first signs of this happening is bloating and burping. Once the bacteria are established they can cause further problems such as irritation, inflammation and even ulceration.
Radiance testing: We offer blood and stool tests to detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori.
5. Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is a chronic autoimmune condition that destroys the villi, the small hair like projections within the small intestine. Chronic inflammation, poor digestion and subsequent bloating are some of the symptoms that then follow the degradation of the villi. Coeliac disease should always be ruled out if you are experiencing bloating.
Radiance testing: We do 2 levels of screening for Coeliac disease. The first is the Coeliac screen to determine if coeliac disease is active. We also offer genetic testing for coeliac disease to determine if you are at risk of developing it in the future.
5. SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
This is a specific type of dysbiosis that causes bloating when there is an overpopulation of bacteria in the small intestine. SIBO is present in 80% of IBS sufferers but between 6 to 15% of the general population have undiagnosed SIBO.
Radiance testing: The most accurate way to detect SIBO is through a breath test. The comprehensive stool test will also show indications of SIBO.
6. Leaky gut (Intestinal Hyper-permeability)
In leaky gut the tight junctions between the cells that line the digestive system have broken apart allowing undigested food, toxins and bacteria to enter the blood stream. This results in bloating and a whole host of other digestive and health symptoms.
Radiance testing: We offer the Intestinal Permeability test to screen for Leaky Gut.
7. Poor eating practices - Eating too fast
The way you eat your food can influence how well it gets digested. A fast eater won’t chew food into small enough pieces before it enters the stomach. The acid in the stomach then won’t have enough time to mix with the larger pieces of food and break them down before they move on to the small intestine. The undigested protein ferments and then causes gas and bloating
8. Eating too much
Your stomach is only as big as the size of a closed fist. If you eat too much food you will be bloated for two reasons. Firstly, there just isn’t enough room so the stomach distends. Secondly your digestion of protein becomes compromised so the undigested proteins ferment and cause gas and bloating.
Radiance testing: We offer the comprehensive CDSA test that can detect the presence of undigested food particles.
9. Food intolerances
Food intolerances develop when your body reacts to the protein in a particular food and creates an immune complex against it. Every time you eat that food it causes an immune response and subsequent symptoms such as bloating.
Radiance testing: We offer 2 different types of food intolerance tests to suit your budget and degree of investigation.
10. Fructose malabsorption
This condition often goes completely undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as IBS. It is estimated to affect 30-40% of the population and bloating is the predominant symptom. Sufferers are unable to absorb fructose because they lack the carrier molecule that brings fructose from the gut and into the cells lining the small intestine. The unabsorbed fructose is an easy food for bad bacteria to grow on and they will produce gas and bloating as a result.
Radiance testing: We offer the gold standard for detecting fructose malabsorption, the fructose breath test.
11. Lactose Intolerance (Lactase Deficiency)
One of the most common reasons for people to be intolerant to dairy is because they lack the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. Depending on your genetic background, you may not have the genes needed to produce this enzyme or you can stop producing the enzyme if the cells of the small intestine are damaged. Just like fructose, the undigested lactose feeds gas producing bacteria to produce bloating.
Radiance testing: We offer the gold standard for detecting lactase deficiency, the lactose breath test.
Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPS) are a group of molecules that can be poorly digested and absorbed by some people. The unabsorbed FODMAP molecules contribute to bloating because they are a great food for bacteria in the large intestine to ferment and because they can also draw large amounts of water into the bowel.
Radiance testing: The best way to detect issues with FODMAPS is through an elimination diet. This is a specialised approach that your naturopath can use to identify precisely which foods are causing the problem. Issues with FODMAP groups can also be identified using a series of specific breath tests.
13. Poor nutrition
When we eat our food we don’t just feed ourselves, we are also feeding the microorganisms that live inside us. There is close to 3kg of bacteria inside our digestive system alone! Sugar, fructose (fruit sugar), alcohol and highly processed foods can disrupt the ecology of good and bad bacteria resulting in bloating, inflammation, candida and dysbiosis.
A lack of fibre can also lead to bloating. Fibre is really important for gut health as it is a food source for beneficial bacteria and encourages elimination of waste.
Radiance testing: All naturopathic consultations at Radiance include a thorough examination of your nutrition that will highlight and eliminate poor nutrition practices.
14. Reproductive and hormonal dysfunction
Many women experience bloating during their menstrual cycle and think it’s normal. It can actually be an indication of hormonal imbalance, fibroids, ovarian cysts, poor liver clearance of hormones or oestrogen dominance.
Radiance testing: We offer comprehensive hormonal testing and screening for oestrogen dominance.
Get Digestive system relief
If you would like to get to the bottom of your bloating by addressing the cause then book a consultation with one of our experienced naturopaths using our online booking system or call us on 9247 4633.