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Tackling Bloating

Updated: May 10

a woman with painful bloating

Bloating is an all too common and uncomfortable condition, but understanding its root causes is the first step towards lasting relief. In this blog, we delve into the factors contributing to bloating and provide actionable advice to alleviate the discomfort.

Unraveling the Causes of Bloating

  1. SIBO: A Bacterial Imbalance

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when bacteria from the large intestine colonize the small intestine. This bacterial shift can decelerate the movement of food, causing the fermentation and gas production that leads to bloating.

2. Dysbiosis: When Good Bacteria Go Bad

Dysbiosis is the imbalance of gut flora, which can be triggered by medications, diet, and stress. This imbalance often results in 'leaky gut,' where toxins escape into the bloodstream, causing inflammation and, subsequently, bloating.

3. Enzyme Deficiency: Processing Problems

The body's inability to produce sufficient digestive enzymes such as amylase, protease, and lipase leads to undigested food attracting bacteria in the small intestine, culminating in bloating.

4. Food Sensitivities: Delayed Reactions

While different from immediate allergic reactions, food sensitivities, can cause inflammation and bloating, presenting a unique challenge due to their delayed manifestation.

5. Lactose Intolerance and Dairy Sensitivity: Milk Matters

Individuals lacking the lactase enzyme consequentially experience undigested lactose in their gut, leading to bloating. Proteins in dairy can similarly inflame the gut and cause discomfort, even for those who are not lactose intolerant.

6. Yeast Overgrowth: The Candida Culprit

An overgrowth of Candida yeast in the gut can contribute to bloating, with risk factors including weakened immune systems and certain medications.

7. Hormonal Swings: The Monthly Cycle

Fluctuating hormones during menstrual cycles cause water retention and swelling, adding to bloating sensations.

8. Carbonated Drinks: Fizzy Isn't Always Friendly

Carbonated beverages can increase abdominal pressure through the buildup of gas, which causes bloating.

Eight Strategies for Combating Bloat

  1. A Diet Tailored for SIBO

For SIBO-related bloating, a low FODMap diet, which avoids rapidly fermentable carbs, is recommended. Individualized herbal treatments based on gut microbiome analysis can also make a significant difference.

2. Mediterranean Diet: Balancing the Gut Microbes

A diet high in diverse plants, like the Mediterranean diet, promotes a healthy shift in gut bacteria, reducing dysbiosis and associated bloating.

3. Supplementing Digestive Enzymes

Taking digestive enzymes can provide temporary relief from bloating, while the underlying cause is investigated and addressed.

4. The 4 R Process

Combat food sensitivities by removing irritant foods, replacing them with healthier options, repopulating your gut with probiotics, and repairing the gut lining with targeted supplements.

5. Stress Reduction: A Pathway to a Happy Gut

Yoga, meditation, and other stress-reducing activities can lower cortisol levels, decreasing bloating.

6. Sodium: A Hidden Source of Bloat

Excessive salt often hidden in processed foods can cause water retention and bloating. Monitoring sodium intake is essential for managing symptoms.

7. Eating Mindfully: Slow Down to Deflate

Mindful eating practices, including slow chewing, can improve digestion and decrease bloating.

8. Partner with a Functional Practitioner

Lastly, consulting with a functional medicine provider can be a game-changer in identifying the precise causes of your bloating and creating a personalized treatment plan.

Final Thoughts

The journey to overcoming bloating starts with pinpointing the exact issues your body is facing. With a blend of dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments, and professional guidance, you can say goodbye to the discomfort of bloating.


CEO, FNP, Functional Wellness Coach

Wellness with AO

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