If you wake up in the morning and feel fine, but by the end of the day, you’re going to bed with a swollen, bloated stomach, most likely it’s not weight gain but your digestion.
It’s that the gas in your gut has increased during the day. The five common reasons for bloating are:
- SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). This is when there is an overgrowth of too much harmful bacteria in the small intestine, when in fact, it should be in the large intestine. If so, you will experience too much gas due to those microbes being in the wrong intestine.
You usually experience either too much hydrogen or methane gas. A breath test will tell you which one.
SIBO will steal all of your nutrients and you can’t absorb them. The gas it creates causes burping, flatulence, a bloated and swollen stomach, and abdominal pain.
If you have SIBO, following a FODMAP diet is recommended, but it’s not the only fix. You will also require a specific, targeted herbal tonic to kill the gram-negative or positive bacteria living in the wrong area of your body.
These bacteria feed off sugars (carbs) and undigested food. Sometimes they have a double-celled wall to protect themselves from antibiotics they may be treated with.
- Too many methogens can be created by an actual imbalance of microbes because your gut flora balance is crucial. This is similar to a mild version of SIBO.
- Low stomach acid. As we get older, our bodies naturally create less stomach acid. This causes abdominal gas, bloating, constipation, and pain in your abdomen. It can also help to create SIBO.
Low stomach acid cannot break down protein properly for it to be digested, so it can’t be moved from stomach to small and large intestines quickly.
- Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. It is one of the most essential yet forgotten fluids of the body. If you don’t have enough bile, you will experience bloating, abdominal gas and perhaps even nausea. Bile digests fats, which include nuts, oils, fatty proteins, avocados, cream and cheeses.
What you can do about this is to first lower your carbs and fibre. Carbs make inflammation and stress occur in your gut. They turn into sugar, which creates acidity, inflammation, then the fermentation and bloating starts.
Suppose you don’t have enough of the good bacteria in your gut to digest the fibre you are putting into your body. In that case, the fibre will also ferment, create gases, and your abdomen will bloat out, causing pain and swelling.
Try to cut down on fibre (including vegetable fibres). If you don’t have extreme symptoms, cut out the fibrous vegetables but try to leave in some of the less fibrous ones. This can help reset the system.
- Dairy is another hidden source of abdominal bloating and gas. Some people have an intolerance to lactose or casein, which is the protein in dairy.
Other treatments include intermittent fasting to clean unwanted debris more quickly, along with adding betaine hydrochloride. This is a natural amino acid compound that will help create more hydrochloric acid, which your body obviously lacks. Supplementing is the best option and should always be taken 5-10 minutes before main meals.
It’s a common misconception that having too much stomach acid is a bad thing, but in reality, it is one of the most vital fluids for your body. When you have bloating and/or abdominal pain, you actually need more stomach acid.
Remember, as we get older, we naturally create less stomach acid.
Taking a digestive enzyme with betaine hydrochloride will help digestion. To be effective, you need to be consistent with your digestive enzyme and betaine hydrochloride regime for at least a couple of months. Never take calcium at the same time, as it will neutralize your acid.
This article is meant as general information only. Consult a registered, accredited naturopath for further personal advice.
Trudy Kither is a naturopath and owner of Nature’s Temple. Visit naturestemple.net