Bloating and Gas: Everything you need to know
Intestinal bloating is caused by an excessive build-up of gas in your small intestine. There are two varieties of gas – either regular/chronic gas or severe/acute gas. Gas can be nothing more than a sign that you have swallowed some air but it can also be a sign that you are not correctly assimilating your food.
Chronic gas typically composes of methane. Methane has the adverse impact of exhausting particular short-chain fatty acids that line a healthy large intestine. The prolonged exposure to methane can raise the probability of disease in the colon such as polyps or even cancer.
Symptoms of bloating include distention of the abdomen, abdominal pain, excessive discharge of gas (i.e. farting), and heartburn.
Common Causes of Bloating
- Excess intake of caffeine, sugar, alcohol or processed oils
- Nutrient insufficiency
- Absence of adequate enzymes
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Inadequate bile production
- Dysbiosis or bacteria imbalances
- SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth)
Treatment for Gas and Bloating
If you want to try and help reduce your gas and bloating think about how and what you are eating before reaching for a supplement or medication. Here are my top 8 suggestions:
- Make sure you chew your food well
- Massage your colon, following the line of the colon
- Consider removing all dairy products
- Soak beans and grains before cooking
- Avoid sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol
- Try a low FODMAP diet
- Do an elimination diet to detect food triggers
- Use herbs such as ginger, fennel, anise and cardamom in cooking
If step one only partially helps you might want to try supplementation. It is important only to try one supplement at a time so that you know what is working. Here are my top 6 suggestions:
- Soil-based probiotics
- Digestive enzymes
- Enteric coated peppermint oil
- Activated charcoal
- Fennel ½-1 tsp; 3x per day
- Fermented apple cider vinegar with meals
If you are still suffering from gas and bloating, after steps one and two, it is time to utilise some functional lab testing. The two most common tests I use in my Functional Medicine practice are:
- A Stool Test is looking for Candida and parasites.
- A Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) breath test.
If you have any questions about this article either post them in the comments section below or email using the form on my contact page.
This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.