Bloating is definitely something lots of us are experiencing. It feels really uncomfortable. Having some bloating can be a normal part of life. If you experience excessive bloating and you start to be very concerned about your gut health, talking to a doctor is important to rule out some serious health issues. Finding out the reason for bloating can be complex. We are going to talk about a few common causes:
1. Do you think your bloating is related to your stress level?
Our brain and digestive system has a two-way communication. When we are stressed out, we tends to have more digestive issues such as bloating, abdominal discomfort and etc. My recommendation would be check in with yourself constantly and see whether there is any correlation between your stress level and your abdominal discomfort. For example, when you are preparing for your exams, do you have more bloating during that period of time? When you are stressed at work, do you feel gassier than normal? How would you rate your stress level right now from 1-10?
2. Do you have constipation?
Constipation and bloating sometimes go hand in hand because of the slow gut mobility. Do you normally eat out? Is your diet usually low in fiber food sources? Try to have a healthy and balanced diet and see whether the constipation and bloating issue are resolved.
3. IBS and food intolerance.
IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) is a very common issue nowadays, and the symptom of IBS usually involves bloating, either constipation or diarrhea. FODMAPs food– fermentable carbohydrates (oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), which are short-chain sugars that our small intestine absorbs poorly and attracts water. In Large Intestine, these sugar are fermented and produce gas. Some people are quite sensitive to FODMAP food group. Before you avoid these food in your diet, it is important to find out whether these food actually trigger your symptoms. Lots of FODMAP food are healthy part of our diet, and we don't want to avoid these food unnecessarily from nutrients perspective. Speak to a registered dietitian and find out whether any food triggers your digestive distress.
Finally, there are some other causes for bloating such as medication, eating too fast, swallowing too much air or chewing bubble gum. Having too much sugary food like juice, smoothie and drinking it quickly can also lead to GI discomfort and bloating due to the osmotic effect.
Elaine Zhang, Registered Dietitian