Bloating is one of the most common symptoms going around. So many people have experienced this at one time or another and it is usually attributed to the digestive system but it's not the only reason.
Here's my bloating checklist:
- Foods that are harder to digest or cause inflammation- gluten, dairy, sugar in particular, but also beans, legumes, onions. Food triggers are often different for everyone so do some food intolerance testing if you haven't pin pointed it yet.
- Medications over a long period of time, like antibiotics or the oral contraceptive pill. These can disrupt the gut microbiome which can then lead to poor digestion of food and subsequent bloating.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Constipation. A sluggish digestive system causes food to sit in the gut and ferment creating a build up of gas (bloating). Increasing regular bowel motions can improve bloating associated with sluggish or irritable bowel very quickly.
- Inherited poor digestive function- we receive the same gut bacteria as our mum when we are born so if her's was compromised during this time, all of her gut issues may have been passed on. I always ask questions about family health history as it can predict so much about our own health.
- Hormones. Yes, often we quickly jump to it being all about the digestive system but hormones can trigger bloating as well. Have you ever noticed a cyclic pattern to your bloating? Usually it's around ovulation time as oestrogen rises and fluid retention is more likely to occur. So if you've been doing all the gut work and not seeing any changes have a think about what role your hormones might be playing in your bloating.
- Stress. When in a fight or flight state our body shuts off body systems that aren't needed when under stress. The digestive system is one of those. If your body is commonly in a state of high stress then secretion of digestive enzymes can be compromised, leading to poor break down of food and bloating. Remember to eat in a relaxed environment, away from work or stress so your digestion can do its job uninterrupted.
As always listen to your body and how it responds to different foods, environments and at different times in your menstrual cycle. We can learn so much about our health just by taking time to be more aware of how it's going.