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Ditch the Bloat

By stephdorworth

July 26, 2022

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My Story with Bloating

In July 2016 I experienced a serious case of bloating and pain that led me to think my appendix was bursting! I was nauseous and in so much pain that I went to the hospital for testing. After three days, an NG tube, getting my stomach pumped, doing test after test, and not eating…I didn’t have any answers. This began my journey with bloating and taking action into my own hands to learn more and overcome it for good.

If you want to read my entire bloating story, check it out over on my other blog here.

Needless to say, I’m experienced with bloating - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve felt it, I’ve been beat by it, I’ve studied it, I’ve taken it to battle, and I’ve overcome it - I won!

Today I want to share with you the most important things I’ve learned about what causes bloating. And then go into detail about the best resources that can help you ditch the bloat for good!

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5 Common Causes of Bloating

There are many things that could cause your bloating. Perhaps it’s multiple of these. The key to figuring out what is causing your bloating is to do your own experiment. One at a time, try changing or adjusting one of these things and then document if your bloating became worse, same, or better.

5 Common Causes of Bloating:

  1. One of the most common causes of bloating is overeating (aka your eyes being bigger than your stomach). This is why our parents taught us to chew our food and eat slowly. It takes time for our bodies to digest the food and send us signals that we are full. If we eat too quickly, we bypass those signals and as a result, we eat more than we need. Action to take: try chewing each bite of food more and eating slower.

  2. Another cause of bloating is air. Taking in too much air can cause a buildup of gas which makes sense, right? If you fill up a balloon with air it is going to inflate and keep stretching and stretching. The same thing happens to our intestines, except we don’t burst open once we are filled up with air...we just get really, extremely, painfully uncomfortable. So what causes us to take in too much air? This could be done by drinking through a straw, chewing gum frequently, smoking, or drinking carbonated drinks. Action to take: try to stop using straws, switch to mints instead of gum, and replace carbonated drinks.

  3. Another common cause of bloating is due to food allergies or intolerances. Maybe a specific food or ingredient causes an inflammatory response or your body struggles to break it down. Let’s go over the difference between food allergies and intolerances. Food allergies usually cause immune system responses right away and can be life threatening. Symptoms may include a rash, itchiness, hives, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a drop in blood pressure. The most common food allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat. On the other hand, a food intolerance is less immediate, does not trigger an immune response, and occurs later once you have eaten more of the food. Symptoms may include gas, cramps, heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, or a headache. The most common intolerance is of lactose which is a sugar found in milk and dairy. Action to take: try temporarily eliminating foods you suspect you have an intolerance to. And definitely stop eating foods you’re allergic to - even if it’s mild.

  4. Bloating may be caused by eating specific foods that are more difficult for your body to break down like beans, fruit, veggies, or dairy. Perhaps you can reduce portions for these foods. Or consider taking a supplement to help you break them down. For example, when I eat beans there’s a 100% chance I’ll feel gassy after so I take Beano to reduce those symptoms. Action to take: invest in supplements if needed. For example, digestive enzymes, Lactaid, Beano, GasX, prebiotics, or probiotics.

  5. The final cause of bloating that I’ll share here is fiber, but please know there are other causes of bloating, too. Fibrous foods are necessary to keep your digestive system functioning well. But, they tend to make use more gassy if we eat too little or too much of them. The suggested amount of fiber is 14g per 1,000 calories consumed per day. Action to take: track your fiber intake for a few days to see if you’re eating the right amount for you and adjust accordingly.

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Resources for Bloating Treatment Options

If you struggle from moderate to severe bloating, I suggest you become more aware of which foods trigger the bloating symptoms for you. Follow the five steps above to gain more awareness and run your own experiment.

If you still struggle after making some of those lifestyle and food choice changes, then below are some of the best resources to learn more about bloating and get assistance from experts.

The Top Gut Health Resources:

  • See your Doctor for an evaluation and further testing; they may refer you to a digestive health GI specialist (gastroenterologist).

  • See a naturopathic doctor virtually who can guide you through testing, assessment, and treatments online. I highly recommend Dr. Jacque who specializes in gut health and mold toxicity. Learn more about him and get a free discovery call on his website here: https://www.docjacque.com. He’s also got an amazing YouTube Channel where he shares his podcasts all about gut health, mold, infertility, and more! Check that out to learn from him. Listen to his Human Design podcast episode in which I was a guest here.

  • Watch my Ditch the Bloat webinar here to learn more about how your Human Design type, digestion style, and strongest sense can impact your nutrition choices.

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Wrap Up

If you struggle with bloating, know that it’s possible to overcome it. It may take some time to figure things out, but it’s 100% worth it to beat the bloat and feel better than ever! Some people say your gut is your second brain because of the immense number of nerve cells lining the digestive tract that are similar to those found in the brain’s system. Your overall health is a direct reflection of your gut health - heal your gut to heal your body.

I hope you found today’s blog helpful. Do you have a gut health or bloating story of your own? I’d love to hear it. Comment below and let’s chat!

Thanks for reading!

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About Dr. Steph

Doctor of Physical therapy and Online Training & Nutrition Coach with a passion for teaching men and women how to train despite injury.

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