There are four leading causes for abdominal pain caused by gas.
SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is when there are too many bacteria in the wrong location. Most gut bacteria should be in the large intestine, not the small. When you have too much bacteria in the small intestine you get a lot of gas when you eat. Gas created by these microbes is hydrogen and methane.
These gases will cause belching, burping, and bloating. You can check if you have this condition by doing a SIBO breath test, which will check your hydrogen/methane levels. Doing this will quickly rule out if you have this condition.
You could also have an imbalance of microbes. High levels of methanogens are ancient microbe bugs that make methane and hydrogen gas. These can also cause belching and flatulence.
The methanogen microbes consume polysaccharides, which are starches and sugars. An imbalance of bacteria will cause excessive fermentation as fibres and sugars produce a lot of gas.
Low stomach acid. Consuming a lot of protein can also cause abdominal gas, bloating, and possibly even SIBO if you don’t have enough stomach acid.
Decreased bile production. Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. If you don’t have enough bile, you will definitely get belching, bloating, and gas because you are not going to be able to digest the fats in the foods you consume.
If you usually eat a decent amount of nuts or oils, without bile, the food will remain undigested and will eventually block up. This can also result in pain on the right side of your body, possibly up your back, neck, and right shoulder, which may indicate gall bladder issues.
Here’s some help to reduce symptoms:
Firstly, and most importantly, reduce carbohydrates. This will reduce the sugars, stress, and inflammation in your gut.
By lowering your sugars (carbohydrates), the microbes can’t feed on them ultimately, reducing your stress and inflammation.
Secondly, you will also want to reduce fibre and may even want to cut it out entirely for perhaps a month. This includes vegetable fibre, so your system can rest and reset itself.
Why? Because if you have SIBO and the microbes are in the small intestine, they are going to want to eat the fibre to feed themselves and create more gas!
The problem is that you have excessive microbes in the wrong place. You don’t want to feed them and keep them there, you want them to die off and go away.
Thirdly, do intermittent fasting regularly so your system can rest, reset, and clear itself out between meals. Intermittent fasting is vitally important. To start seeing good results, fasting from 7pm until 11am the next day will give you a minimum of 16 hours.
Some people don’t need to cut out all fibre, but just need to cook vegetables first. This will reduce the amount of fibre they are getting from the vegetables.
Fourthly, include betaine hydrochloride before your meal, which helps increase the hydrochloric acid your body produces for you to fully digest your meal. You need a good amount of this before a meal, say, 4-6 tablets to increase your hydrochloric acid.
It could take months to re-establish the acid in your stomach, especially if you have a history of taking antacids, antibiotics, or low salt diets.
Many people have low stomach acid, and naturally, as you age, the acid reduces.
Fifthly, a lot of people have a low tolerance for dairy or allergies to casein, which is the protein in dairy. If so, this can create gas and bloating, so it is highly recommended to remove all dairy from your diet at the same time.
Lastly, add purified bile salts after your meal and betaine hydrochloride before your meal. How would you know if you don’t have enough bile? You would have pain in your right shoulder, down your right side, or just below your right rib cage.
Trudy Kither is a naturopath at Nature’s Temple. Visit naturestemple.net