What causes bloating?

Bloating is a common symptom I see time and time again with client’s. It can be embarrassing due to excess gas and the fact that you can look 6 months pregnant but the reason for the bloating can be linked to more serious health concerns. If you are frequently bloated don’t just put it down to ‘the norm’ as you may need to investigate a little further as to what is going on in your gut.

There are many different reasons as to why a person may be bloated which include:

  • Candida – bloating is the most common symptom of Candida overgrowth in the gut. Candida can be very detrimental to health and can cause autoimmune conditions. You can easily test for Candida by doing a yeast culture and sensitivity test. This costs £81. Targeted antimicrobial supplements and a specific candida diet will be advised if the test results are positive.
  • Digestive disorders – IBS and inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, crohn’s or coeliac disease often come with bloating as a symptom. Addressing the disorder will help to reduce the bloating. A stool analysis would be helpful in this case.
  • Ascites – this is the term used to describe fluid retention in the abdomen which may be the result of an infection or liver problems. A check up for a liver scan as well as a liver function test would be beneficial if you suspect fluid retention around the abdomen. At it’s worse it can indicate cancer but this is rare.
  • Constipation – this is an obvious one as you will know if you are constipated and when you last passed a stool. You should be opening your bowels daily. Constipation can be down to low fibre diets, dehydration, little movement, stress and imbalanced gut bacteria.
  • Food sensitivities – intolerances to certain foods for example lactose in dairy commonly cause gas and bloating. The best thing to do if you suspect this is to do a food intolerance test. I offer one which tests for over 200 foods which is really comprehensive. You are advised to remove the foods that are flagged in the test for a period of time then bring them back in slowly and one at a time to see if the immune system has calmed down and you are able to tolerate them again.
  • SIBO – this stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and is such a common reason for bloating. The small intestine gets taken over with bacteria that feed on your food producing lots of gas. The small intestine shouldn’t contain much bacteria, it is the large intestine where the bacteria should reside. SIBO commonly occurs with people taking antacids and PPI’s such as omeprazole, Tums, Gaviscon etc and also antibiotic use. You can test for SIBO by doing a SIBO breast test screen.
  • Hormonal issues – many women do experience bloating and water retention around the menstrual cycle. This is because when ovulation takes place fluids and bloods build up. This usually subsides with the start of the monthly bleed. Bloating in time with your menstrual cycle is annoying but it is nothing to be worried about unless you are getting irregular periods, severe cramping or have or suspect fibroids. You can always get a scan to check whether you have fibroids if you are concerned.
  • Cancer – this is not usually the main cause of bloating but uterine and colon cancer can cause severe bloating. It is best to rule out all of the above first. All of my patients have fallen into one of the above categories.

The key to addressing bloating is understanding the cause. When we know this a targeted nutritional therapy plan can be put in place.

For further information please email me at naomi@gutnutrition.co.uk or phone me on 07850897304. I am available for 10 minute free consultations if you would like to discuss anything with me but please book in via email.