If you’ve opened this post, it’s likely you’re one of many women who regularly experience bloating! It’s very unlikely though, that the cause of your bloating is the same as everyone else. As per usual, I want to help women get to the root cause of their symptoms, to eliminate the real issue at hand and SAY GOOBYE TO THE BLOAT. I’m going to run through a few of the common causes that I see with Clients to make that easier.
1. Food Sensitivities / Intolerances
– Our food quality has changed significantly in the last 50-100 years. With the introduction of pesticides, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and change in food production processes, food sensitivities are becoming very common! The food behind the bloating when it comes to sensitives, are often hard to recognise because of the time between consumption and the physical reaction, whereas allergies cause an almost immediate response. Common symptoms include; inflammation/bloating, low energy following a meal, inability to concentrate, changes in bowel movements (diarrhoea or constipation) and digestive discomfort. The most effective way to identify a food sensitivity is by completing an elimination diet under the guidance of a Nutritionist. There are a few things which are critical in the success of an elimination diet which you will need help with – the correct timeframe required for the relevant foods to be out of your system and changes to take effect, ensuring critical nutrients are still included in the diet or supplemented, the reintroduction process to pin point exactly what the culprit is and accountability to be sure this challenging process is not a complete waste of time! Your personalised results from the elimination and reinduction of certain foods, will determine exactly what your trigger is. From that, your Nutritionist may need to recommend vitamins and supplements that are uniquely suited to you, based on the foods that are suggested to be eliminated from your diet. BUT for now, there is something you can do to get a rough idea of what may not be sitting well with you, and that’s completing a Food Symptom Diary. This helps you create a link between what you eat and how you feel! Narrowing down the scale of your elimination diet.
2. Imbalanced Gut Microbiome
Our gastrointestinal tract is filled with millions of bacteria, which are needed to support digestion, mental health, hormone synthesis, energy production and so much more! These good bacteria are essential for health, but the issue is when there is an imbalance in the bacteria, or “bad” microorganisms make themselves at home in the gut. The reason behind these imbalances have a lot to do with (again) the quality and type of foods we eat. Common symptoms include; bloating, diarrhea, constipation, bad breath, depression, anxiety, skin problems and suppressed immunity, including autoimmune disease. A recent study has shown those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (the later of the often referred to IBS), have significantly higher levels of the fungus Candida and bacteria’s, Serratia Macrescense and Enschrichia Coli. In simple words, there is a presence of both bacterial and fungal overgrowth in the gut. The overgrowth increases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (cause inflammation), which resulted in damage to the gut lining and you guessed it – BLOATING. For details on how to look after your Gut Health right now, check out my post: "THE LOW DOWN ON GUT HEALTH - Prevention and Nutritional Treatment" Where overgrowth is present, promising treatments could include the use of antifungals and probiotics that are designed to balance both bacteria and fungi. Again these treatments need to be done in collaboration with your Nutritionist to ensure the process is customised to you and your imbalance!
It seems pretty wild that stress has anything to do with bloating right?! Stress and anxiety have been shown to trigger IBS symptoms, which includes Bloating! There is a real link between the gut and brain, which is commonly referred to as the “gut brain axis”. Adopting stress management techniques can make the world of difference.
Exercise: the release of endorphins can reduce stress hormones and transform your physical and mental health
Change your perception: I like to call this “flipping it”. Whenever I find myself speaking or thinking negatively about something, I intentionally try to flip it by finding the positive in the situation. For example: instead of saying “I am too lazy and can’t be bothered going for a walk”, I would change that too “I’m lucky to be able to get outdoors, go for a stroll in sunshine and I know I’m going to feel great afterwards”.
Deep Breathing: it’s no longer a theory that this can immediately lower stress levels, but a fact. Try it - take 5 deep belly breaths during challenging times!
The thing with these 3 common causes of bloating I’ve identified is, they are all linked! One can lead to another and visa versa. It is really important to take a holistic approach to reducing bloating, with the collective solution being dietary adjustment, supplementation and lifestyle changes.
If you have any questions about this post, I’d love to hear from you! Please don’t be afraid to reach out, MY GOAL IS TO HELP OTHERS REACH THEIR GOAL.
**This information is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please discuss with your health care professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle**
Reference:Hager CL, Ghannoum MA. The mycobiome: Role in health and disease, and as a potential probiotic target in gastrointestinal disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2017 Nov;49(11):1171-1176.