Is Bloat Ruining Your Day?

Bloating Problems

Feeling stuffed after your last meal? Feeling bloated or gassy can be extremely uncomfortable. Bloating occurs in the belly and is usually caused by a buildup of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. It feels like having a balloon inflated in your stomach – you can try to compress it, but you’ll feel pain and discomfort.

Bloating is normal after a big meal, but if you are bloating frequently after eating small quantities of food, there may be a chronic underlying condition present. After eating, you should feel a pleasant sensation of satisfaction and a reduction of hunger. Your stomach should not feel tight and swollen on a daily basis. To prevent this from happening, you must first determine and address the cause of the bloating!

Common causes of bloating 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Many doctors will diagnose unexplainable bloating as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). But what is it, exactly? It’s difficult to say which came first, the IBS or the bloating. IBS is a digestive condition that involves frequent bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain. A variety of foods can make symptoms worse. Stress can also aggravate the digestive system and trigger a flare-up.

Food Intolerances

Are you eating foods that are irritating your digestive system? Dairy and gluten are common triggers, but many other foods can be the culprit. The best way to determine your own food intolerances is to keep a food journal and note down any discomfort you feel, such as stomach pain, bloating, migraines, acne, diarrhea or excessive gas. Keep in mind that reactions can occur up to 3 days after eating the food!

Constipation 

If you were quick to dismiss constipation as a potential cause for your bloating, you may want to give it a second thought. Many people do not know they are constipated. Even if you have regular bowel movements every day, constipation can still be a factor in your bloating.

While your doctor may tell you that having a bowel movement every 3 days is normal, it simply is not sufficient for optimal digestion. Having regular bowel movements ensure that the foods you eat are properly digested and moving out of your body at an adequate pace. If the stool remains in your body for too long, it can cause gas buildup in the intestine, leading to a feeling of fullness even if you haven’t eaten a big meal. A healthy digestive system should result in smooth, daily bowel movements that are easy to pass.

Artificial Sweeteners

Your favourite gummies or protein powder may say “no sugar added”, but don’t be fooled. These companies replace their sugars with sugar alcohols such as maltitol, xylitol or sorbitol. Because they are not digested by our bodies, these artificial sweeteners do not count as “sugars”. However, they often sit in your large intestines, feeding the bad bacteria and causing more bloat or flatulence. For some people, this can be worse than the effects of real sugar

Unable to Find Relief from Bloating?

Although bloating is common, it may be an indicator that medical attention is needed. If your bloating is persistent and nothing gives you relief, consider working with a healthcare practitioner to rule out digestive conditions such as SIBO, Crohn’s and Colitis.

Author

Grace Tien is a dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

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