We’ve all likely experienced bloating at some point in our lives. Maybe you’ve experienced bloating, but haven’t recognized it as bloating or are just so used to it it has become “normal” for you.
Bloating is characterized by the feeling of tightness, pressure or fullness in the belly. Some describe it as uncomfortable, while others describe it as being incredibly painful.
Bloating can come and go, but for many people that we see here at Carolina Holistic Health, bloating is a lingering problem. Bloating can last days or weeks with no relief. The question is why does this happen to some individuals?
Here are 5 reasons that bloat might occur —
Bacterial overgrowth. There are a couple of bacterial issues that come to my mind when I mention bacterial overgrowth. The first thought that comes to mind is dysbiosis. Dysbiosis occurs when there is disruption to the balance of bacteria in the large intestines and colon. The second thought that comes to mind is SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. SIBO is when bacteria from the large intestine and colon populate and overgrow in the small intestines. In both of these scenarios bloating occurs due to the bacteria producing gas, leading to pressure build up in the abdomen.
Carbonated drinks. Bloating at the most basic level is gas in the abdomen. If drinking a lot of carbonated beverages, it adds carbon dioxide to the stomach which can create significant bloating.
Pancreatic Insufficiency. When eating the pancreas produces enzymes that aid in the breakdown of foods in the small intestine. Some individuals have low output of pancreatic enzymes, which increases the risk for bloating. Another sign of pancreatic insufficiency is undigested food in stool.
Food sensitivity/intolerance. When intolerant to specific food(s), this creates inflammation and gas which can get trapped in the gastrointestinal tract. Other symptoms of food sensitivities includes skin rashes and itchy skin, fatigue and brain fog.
Not chewing thoroughly. Digestion begins in the mouth. Not only does chewing help to breakdown food into smaller particles so it can easily move through the esophagus, but it also helps to stimulate release enzymes to help breakdown food. Saliva contains amylase and lipase to begin the process of breaking down carbohydrates and fats while it is still in the mouth. If you are not chewing thoroughly enough, the body may not produce enough digestive enzymes to effectively break down food contributing to gas within the intestines.
If bloating is something you are dealing with, it might be worth it to investigate some of these things. Are you drinking a lot of carbonated drinks? Do you have food sensitivities? Are you chewing throughly and not rushing through meals? Maybe you need a stool test to look for bacterial and pancreatic related issues?
Bloating is a sign that something is not functioning optimally. If you'd like to chat more about your digestive function with Dr. Stefanacci, schedule your free 15-minute health strategy session by clicking here.