Whether we like it or not, we’ve all experienced bloating at some point or another. And while it can be completely normal – like when you overindulge at your office holiday party – there are several underlying causes that may contribute.
So what is bloating anyway? Essentially it’s when your GI tract is filled with air or gas, often leading to your belly feeling hard, swollen and sometimes painful. It can often be accompanied by feeling gassy as well. Needless to say, experiencing bloating can be quite uncomfortable.
Today on the Vibrant Health blog, we’re going to dig into some of the most common causes of bloating, as well as share some tips to help you find relief next time it creeps up on you.
Common Causes of Bloating
You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder affecting the large intestine, typically with abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea, constipation and bloating. According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, bloating is found more often in women and may be triggered by excess gas in the gut.
You Have a Hidden Food Intolerance
Hidden food sensitivities like Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity or Sucrose Intolerance may cause a number of GI symptoms including – you guessed it – bloating. Speak with your doctor to rule out underlying medical causes like food sensitivities.
Your Hormones are Fluctuating
If you tend to get particularly bloated before “that time of the month,” you’re not alone. According to Women’s Health Connecticut, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is common for many women, and can include symptoms like irritability, bloating and low energy. If your symptoms become severe, speak with your OB-GYN to discuss possible treatment options.
Your Diet is Contributing to Your Bloat
Perhaps there are certain foods you know make you gassy and bloated, but you eat them anyway. Or maybe when you overeat or eat too fast (like on Thanksgiving), you experience discomfort. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.
Fluid retention from overdoing it on the salt, carbonated beverages, and foods containing FODMAPs (particularly for those with IBS) may all contribute to feeling bloated as well. Remember, our bodies are unique, so it’s important o find what diet works for you.
Now what? If You’re Feeling Bloated, Here are Some Tips to Find Some Relief
1. Keep a Food Diary
Are you suspicious something in your diet may be causing the undesirable bloat? Keep track of your symptoms by starting a food diary, and make adjustments to your diet accordingly. Also, play around with eating smaller meals more often throughout the day and slowing down while eating.
If you think an underlying food sensitivity may be to blame, speak with your doctor or nutritionist about performing a food sensitivity test.
2. Look into Taking a Probiotic Supplement
Feeding your gut probiotics – the good bacteria – may relieve some of your tummy issues too. Studies have shown that probiotics can provide relief for IBS and other GI symptoms.
Vibrant Health offers a variety of nutrient-rich, gut-friendly products like Green Vibrance (packed with micronutrients and probiotics) and our new Digestive Vibrance blend (designed to help reduce bloating and abdominal discomfort, while improving bowel health). Be sure to speak with a health professional first before changing up your diet or starting a new supplement!
3. Pass on Carbonated Beverages & Sweeteners
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, those experiencing bloating should steer clear of carbonated beverages – like soda and beer. Keep an eye out for sugar free gum and candy as well, which may contribute to feeling gassy and bloated.
- Sip on Peppermint Tea
Cozy up with a cup of peppermint tea! Not only is it delicious, but one study also revealed IBS patients given peppermint saw an improvement in their symptoms (which included abdominal bloating).
5. Speak to a Health Professional
If you’ve tried everything to no avail, it may be time to speak to a health professional. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and rule out any underlying issues.
Note: These suggestions are meant to act as a guide. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider when implementing any drastic changes to your diet or healthcare routine.