The number one digestive complaint I hear about from people I work with is bloating. For most people who suffer from bloating, gas comes along with it, and this makes sense because most bloating is caused by gas production so the two come as a package deal.
The million dollar question is always WHY am I so bloated and gassy, and what causes it?
If you are struggling with bloating and gas, keep reading, because this post is going to cover what actually causes that bloating and gas, and understanding the root cause of it is the key to overcoming it.
What is bloating?
Bloating is the sensation of feeling full, and can range from normal bloating you may feel after eating a large meal, to abnormal bloating that comes frequently, with distention and can be painful or just very uncomfortable.
The definition of bloated is “swollen with fluid or gas”. Which makes sense as bloating is usually caused by gas production, which is then expelled through burps or farts.
What’s normal and what’s not?
Some bloating is considered normal, and usually comes after eating a large meal, often heavy in carbohydrates. We’ve all experienced that feeling of overeating and then having to lay down afterwards. This type of bloating is more associated with large amounts of food in the intestine, which results in more gas production, as there is more food to be fermented. This type of bloating is considered normal. Similarly with gas production, we all fart and burp from time to time.
Abnormal bloating happens frequently, and often feels like it doesn’t matter what you eat, the bloating comes. I’ve even had clients tell me that they get bloated after drinking a glass of water. Some people wake up bloated, for others it builds throughout the day. Abnormal bloating often comes with distention and is described as looking six months pregnant (or nine, depending on how bad it gets). For others, the bloating may not be that noticeable, but the gas is. Abnormal gas production is usually very frequent, often smelly, and sometimes painful to pass.
What causes it?
There are many reasons and contributing factors for constantly feeling bloated and gassy. Some can be more serious and need to be ruled out by a doctor, such as Celiac Disease, ovarian cancer, liver disease, IBD, diverticulitis and bowel obstructions.
However, the majority of people have less sinister reasons for bloating and gas, which will be covered in this blog.
Food triggers for bloating
Certain foods can trigger bloating, usually because of over fermentation, or because your body is having difficulty breaking them down.
Fermentable foods: Foods that we cannot fully break down ourselves, and instead broken down/fermented by our gut bacteria can lead to bloating, because gas production is a byproduct of this. This is a normal process, but it can cause abnormal bloating and gas if you have a bacterial overgrowth, have slow motility (constipation), or bacterial