Why am I Bloated? 4 Top Causes and What to Do About It
Bloating. The word says it all. Bloating is everything blah. It makes you feel awful, never mind the fact it can also make you look like you put on 5 kilos in a matter of minutes.
The medical term is known as ‘Abdominal distension’ and it’s one of the most common GI problems faced by so many people in this modern world. It is more common in women than in men (yep, we get all the fun things to deal with, and men wonder why we get so irritable at times).
I know, I have personally experienced the dreaded bloat for my entire adult life and if I really think back to my adolescent and even younger years, I probably have some bloating memories there too?
The blog picture is me, just to show you how I have suffered. The picture shows on the left my bloated belly when I am not fully relaxed and on the right, well I just look about 5 months pregnant (no disrespect to expecting mummas).
The picture was taken a few years ago and I remember the day well…
Oh, the pain!
It was the day I realised I cannot eat quinoa!
Yep, me and this pseudo-grain do not get along so well and since then I have done my best to avoid it (but sometimes when you’re out at a cafe you may not even realise there is quinoa in something until it’s too late!)
This blog is not about quinoa, though it is very common that some folks cannot digest it well and hence pain and bloating can occur.
What are the Causes of Bloating?
Some bloating is acute, meaning that it comes on and leaves fairly quickly. Most acute bloating is in response to something we've ingested. For instance, if you are lactose intolerant, unknowingly eating dairy will cause you to bloat. Usually, the bloating is gone within a few hours to a day, max.
Chronic bloating, on the other hand, is when you are constantly bloated. While chronic bloating can be caused by diet, it is usually more likely the result of gut disorders, like IBS. However, bloating isn't even always related so directly to your gut. The causes may be murkier than that. Murky, but not impossible to identify.
There's no substitute for a medical opinion, so definitely talk to your doctor if you regularly experience bloating, but, in the meantime, you can use this article as a guide by which to educate yourself on possible causes.
3 Top Causes of Bloating and What to Do About It
- You have a food intolerance or allergy
From dairy to gluten to avocado to fructose to sugar alcohols to FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols), there are a handful of likely food intolerances that can cause bloating, among other digestive upsets.
Common Food Intolerances
- Gluten & Dairy
- Grains and Pseudo grains such as quinoa
- Legumes such as peas, lentils and chickpeas
- Caffeine (as it's a stimulant)
- Salicylates, Sulphites, Fructose and Amines
Other food-related causes of bloating include eating too fast, chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, all of which result in excess air in the intestines—hence, the bloating
The fix: The easiest way to remedy this sort of bloating is obvious: eliminate it. If you are unsure what is causing the bloating, then systematically try removing a potential food intolerance for a few days and see if the bloating goes away. If the bloating persists, try another.
- You have Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut is a common digestive condition wherein there are gaps in the intestinal walls, which permit toxins and bacteria to pass into the bloodstream. Of equal concern, this loosening of the tight junctions between cells can cause imbalances in gut microbiota, which can cause inflammation—and bloating—in the gut. Hence, why leaky gut is one of the biggest causes of bloating.
It is thought that leaky gut syndrome can contribute to serious digestive issues like Crohn's disease, chronic liver disease (including congested liver), celiac disease, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome and even those aforementioned food allergies and sensitivities—though it is not clear if leaky gut is a symptom or cause of these diseases and disorders.
The fix: Try Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen. High-quality collagen may help alleviate bloating caused by leaky gut. This is because collagen helps to repair and strengthen tissues, including those in your intestines. Adding a couple of scoops of collagen to your daily diet may even allow you to enjoy foods to which you showed intolerance in small amounts.
Also, and I can’t stress this enough: talk to your doctor!
And speaking of stress...
Stress affects every part of your body and wellbeing, so it should be no surprise that it affects your gut. By setting off an inflammatory response when present in high amounts, the stress hormone, cortisol, can cause uncomfortable and even downright painful bloating.
The fix: Chill out! Easier said than done, right? Definitely. But really, the only way to combat the incredibly negative effects of stress is to destress. Some of the easiest ways to reduce stress are to ensure you're getting a good night's sleep (7-9 hours), exercise, get out in the sunshine (to soak up stress-busting vitamin D), to limit processed food and alcohol, take a high-quality magnesium supplement and to practice regular, unapologetic self-care.
Self-care doesn't have to come in the form of expensive spa weekends: it could be as easy as clearing your schedule of all non-essential tasks for a day, buying yourself a soothing herbal tea you love, making yourself a healthy and delicious meal, getting to bed an hour early with a book, taking a long bath. Self-care is really whatever brings YOU joy.
And that Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen already mentioned? Collagen has also been shown as having brain health benefits, so if you’re looking to improve your mood and destress, definitely add some to your diet.
Not sure how to add collagen to your diet? Learn more about the benefits of collagen and how to use it!
Here is a picture and review from one of our customers - Kim, as she has had some success with the Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen powder and her bloating.
“I have found my stomach doesn't feel bloated now, my nails are looking more healthy, and my hair is feeling thicker. I'm also getting comments on my skin.”
Just don’t think you have to live with bloating. Most of the time, there is a way to beat the bloat and enjoy better digestive health. Use this article as a place to start, then talk to your doctor to come up with a strategy that addresses your symptoms and conditions.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome can cause bloating and I can say this as someone who has suffered from IBS for many years.
According to Medical News Today, a “disrupted communication between the gut and the brain causes the signs and symptoms of IBS”. The bloating comes from an abnormal collection of gas in the gut.
Lots of things can cause IBS symptoms
When you have IBS, it is vital to look closely at the foods you are eating, what you are drinking and your habits around eating (such as being distracted by technology). Being distracted when we eat negatively affects how our food is digested and this can lead to fermentation and fermentation in the gut = gas = IBS symptoms (i.e: BLOATING!)
It’s important if you think you may have IBS and are experiencing bloating, pain or another digestive issue regularly to go and see a doctor and even a gastrointestinal specialist where you may be recommended to have a colonoscopy done, just to rule out anything more serious. I did this myself and it gave me so much peace of mind.
Other Supplements that Can Help Bloating
Something else that may help with bloating greatly is Baobab powder. Baobab is a super fruit from the African Tree of Life. It's a fruit that contains prebiotic fibre that helps to feed the gut microbes (gut flora), this helps our overall gut health to be better and can also help to reduce bloating. Just ensure that you are drinking extra water as fibre needs water!
Learn more about Baobab below.
- Are we putting too much on our plate?
- Am I putting everyone else's needs above my own and becoming unhappy and depleted in the process?
- Am I taking time to enJOY the things I once loved?
- Am I taking time to just rest and BE, away from technology, TV and busyness?
- Am I trying to be perfect so that others will love me or so I won't be rejected?
*Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.