Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bloating - Causes, Prevention & Treatment


Bloating - Causes, Prevention & Treatment

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Bloating is a common, modern day complaint.
Many factors play a part in food not being digested properly and thus causing bloating/distension in the gut.
Stress, eating too quickly; food intolerance; poor enzymes production (due to medication or aging); lack of exercise; water & fresh air; improper mix of food groups - different food groups digest at different speeds, so mixing certain food groups will cause more gas build up than others.

The following information come to you courtesy of A Vogel, an well established holistic health care company that provide supplements, health aids, products and information with a few tid-bit thrown in by myself.

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Bloating - Causes, Prevention & Treatment


What is wind?

Wind is a normal by-product of our normal digestive processes. As the digestive system breaks food down, it produces gas, which is mainly composed of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and methane.

We produce wind in two ways: when we swallow air, and when the bacteria in the large intestine get to work helping to digest the food we eat.
Usually, we eliminate this gas through the mouth (burping) or through the anus (flatulence). We typically break wind around 20 times a day on average. Wind is an ordinary occurrence, but its presence can be awkward and socially embarrassing.
Carbohydrates are especially troublesome. Humans cannot digest certain carbohydrates in the small intestine because we may not have (or may not have enough of) the enzymes that can aid their digestion.  The food then moves in an undigested state from the small intestine to the large intestine. It is here that the bacteria go to work, producing the gases hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane, which are then expelled from the body.
Not everybody will suffer from wind after eating the same foods. People digest and metabolise at different rates.
We also swallow a certain amount of air when we eat and drink. This contributes to the production of wind. We usually release swallowed air by burping it out. Whatever isn't released by burping goes into the small or large intestine, where it is eventually released as flatulence.

Bloating after eating

1. Introduction

The word ‘bloating’ usually refers to the presence of excessive gas in the digestive tract. It is normal for the digestive system to produce gas, and although there is no clearly defined line between what is normal and abnormal, some people find that the amount of gas their bodies produce makes their abdomen distend or swell.
The digestive system is not the only cause of abdominal distension – for a brief summary of the other causes, go to our page on bloated stomach.
This page describes the most common causes of abdominal bloating caused by gas in the digestive system.


2. Indigestion

Indigestion is a common cause of digestive bloating. It is a poorly defined condition, but what is clear is that indigestion arises because of a disturbance in the normal functioning of the oesophagus (gullet) and the stomach.
The stomach produces a number of enzymes which help us digest the food we eat. It also produces an acid (hydrochloric acid) which is needed to help the digestive enzymes work better.
Indigestion occurs when the normal process of digestion is disturbed. It causes discomfort in the abdominal (stomach) area which starts when we eat – either soon after or within 30 to 60 minutes. Symptoms are described as mild tenderness just under the ribs in the middle of the tummy with feelings of bloating after eating and the desire to burp.
The main causes of indigestion include overeating, eating too quickly, excessive alcohol, smoking and fatty foods. If symptoms are severe, Helicobacter pylori or a hiatus hernia should be considered as causes.

3. Acid reflux

Like indigestion, acid reflux is a problem caused by disturbances in the upper part of the digestive system.
Acid produced in the stomach is prevented from moving into the gullet because of a ‘valve’ lying between the two organs. However, there are times when this mechanism fails and the acidic fluid in the stomach flows backwards and upwards into the gullet. This is known as acid reflux.
Symptoms of acid reflux are very similar to those of indigestion and sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. However, acid reflux tends to cause pain just behind the breastbone. If reflux is severe, one can also taste the acid at the back of the throat.
Acid reflux may also give rise to the desire to burp and in doing so, one relieves the sensation of bloating. What causes this is not known.

4. Food intolerances

Food intolerance appears to have become an increasingly common problem. In general, the condition involves the middle part of the digestive system, principally, the small intestines.
Apart from wheat intolerance, perhaps the most well-known food intolerance is to lactose. In this condition, the digestive system has low levels of an enzyme called lactase which is responsible for breaking down milk-sugar (or lactose).
The result of this is that bacteria in the gut works on lactose instead, and this produces an excess of wind and consequently, bloating. In some cases, stools become looser and this in turn leads to the digestive system functioning poorly.
The mechanism leading to intolerance to other food substances has not been as clearly described. However, what can be assumed is that similar factors will be involved.

5. Irritable bowel syndrome

The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is another well-known cause of bloating in the digestive system. It mainly affects the lower part of the digestive tract (colon), but can also involve the gut higher up.
IBS is a multi-factorial condition and what seems to be clear is that food intolerances may also be involved as a cause. This could be the reason that bloating is a symptom associated with IBS.

6. Constipation

This is a condition of the lower part of the bowel. There is no clear definition for constipation:
  • Some believe that you should move your bowels at least once a day and anything less is not normal
  • Others feel that it is the consistency of your bowel movement that is important. Soft formed stools are normal, whereas diarrhoea or hard pallet-like stools (similar to rabbit or sheep droppings) are not.
What is clear, however, is that constipation can cause an excess of gas in the colon and bloating. This arises because bacteria have had a longer time to ‘work’ on the contents of the bowel, producing more gas.

7. Bacterial overgrowth / imbalance in the gut

In health, our gut is filled with trillions of bacteria and these play a very important part in the normal functioning of the digestive system.
Sometimes, the numbers and types of bacteria in our gut alters. This could be the result of changes in our diet, the use of antibiotics, general lifestyle alterations or even stress.
What has become clear recently is that bacteria affect the way our gut functions in profound ways. Having the wrong types of bacteria, known as bacterial overgrowth or more accurately, an imbalance in the bacterial gut flora, can lead to malabsorption of nutrients.
These imbalances also cause an abnormal amount of gas to be produced within the gut, resulting in bloating.


  • Eat fruit 15 mins or more before your meal (rather than after meal, as fruit digest much faster than meat)
  • Eat cauliflower, broccoli, raw cabbage to reduce fat storage on stomach
  • Mix tblspn of cider vinegar, tspn of honey, 1/4 tspn turmeric, 1/4 tspn ginger, 1/4 tspn chilli powder in hot water 250ml and drink every morning to flush through system and settle stomach/digestion
  • Include multi-enzyme supplement to daily diet - include bromelain; lycopene; luteine; Pancreatin;
    Protease; To break down fats: Lipase; To break down carbohydrates: Alpha-Amylase,  Amyloglucosidase - To break down fibre: Cellulase, Hemicellulase; To break down milk sugar: Lactase.
      Essential Enzymes by Biovea.
Enzymes have extremely interesting properties that make them little chemical-reaction machines. 
The purpose of an enzyme in a cell is to allow the cell to carry out chemical reactions very quickly. These reactions allow the cell to build things or take things apart as needed. This is how a cell grows and reproduces. At the most basic level, a cell is really a little bag full of chemical reactions that are made possible by enzymes!
Enzymes are made from amino acids, and they are proteins. When an enzyme is formed, it is made by stringing together between 100 and 1,000 amino acids in a very specific and unique order. The chain of amino acids then folds into a unique shape. That shape allows the enzyme to carry out specific chemical reactions -- an enzyme acts as a very efficient catalyst for a specific chemical reaction. The enzyme speeds that reaction up tremendously.
For example, the sugar maltose is made from two glucose molecules bonded together. The enzymemaltase is shaped in such a way that it can break the bond and free the two glucose pieces. The only thing maltase can do is break maltose molecules, but it can do that very rapidly and efficiently. Other types of enzymes can put atoms and molecules together. Breaking molecules apart and putting molecules together is what enzymes do, and there is a specific enzyme for each chemical reaction needed to make the cell work properly.

  • Regular colon cleansing - recommended once a month to remove build up of toxins, gas, metals, debris and detoxify your sytem. Oxypowder Colon Cleanse by The Finchley clinic is a highly recommended method of easy to use cleansing in capsule form.
  • Look after your liver, kidneys and spleen - Milk Thistle is highly recommended for supporting these sponge like organs... and plenty of water.
  • Give up/Reduce smoking - inhalation also takes in air into the stomach. Smoke restricts proper oxygen air exchange, thus causing a deficiency in nutrients in bloodstream, thus effecting all cell renewal and health.
  • Experts debunk some common myths about the stomach, including misconceptions about where digestion actually takes place and whether eating at a certain time of day can boost weight gain. Read Full Article

There are many causes of abdominal bloating or distension, but perhaps the most common of these relate to abdominal bloating after eating because of the production of excess gas in the digestive tract.
Gas is normally produced in the gut. It has been estimated that more than 5 litres of the stuff is produced each day, which is gently released downwards as flatus (wind) or alternatively, upwards when burping.
An excess of gas, either immediately or a few hours after eating, gives rise to bloating and discomfort in the abdomen. Some of the more common reasons for excessive digestive gas are described in our page on what causes bloating.
This article describes what you can do to help yourself if you suffer from bloating after eating as a result of too much gas in your digestive system.

2. Chew your food

There are certain lifestyle changes you can make to help yourself avoid the bloat after eating.
The first, described in this page, is perhaps the most important. It is very simple advice but paradoxically, in our rushed modern world, it is perhaps one of the more difficult things to achieve successfully.
Take care when chewing your food - chew each mouthful a minimum of 30 times. This takes time to do and you won’t be able to eat quickly. However, taking the requisite time means that your stomach will be allowed to produce good amounts of digestive juices. In addition, every time you swallow, you will be introducing food into your stomach that is properly mashed up.
The result is that food is broken down naturally, easily and more efficiently. This improves symptoms of indigestion you may be experiencing, acid reflux as well as reducing gas and bloating after eating.

3. Other lifestyle changes

There are other things in your lifestyle you can look into, including:
  • If you smoke, cut this out – it is not only your digestion and bloating that will improve
  • Drink plenty of water as it will help your general health. However, avoid drinking water 30 minutes before your meal and try to limit the amount of fluid consumed during each meal so as not to dilute your digestive juices
  • Reduce or cut out alcohol. If you do feel a need for a drink, do so in moderation and stick to wine rather than spirits
  • Avoid stress. Remember that stress (‘fight or flight’) hormones increase the amount of acid in your stomach, giving you indigestion or worse, ulcers
  • Learn to handle stress better. It is not always possible to avoid stress, so managing it better is the logical next step. Ask yourself – what were you like the last time you were late for an appointment because of being stuck in a traffic jam?
  • Exercise more. Not only will this help you relax, it will also improve your digestive function in general


Watch what you eat

Certain foods can make bloating worse:
  • Fizzy drinks (including fizzy water) – they contain a lot of carbonated gas
  • Sugary drinks - high levels of sugars will encourage gut bacteria to produce more gas
  • ‘Diet drinks’ – contain sugar substitutes such as sorbitol and also leads to an increase in production of gas as the body cannot absorb these well
  • Dark beers or real ales
  • Vegetables are good for you, but minimise consumption of brussel sprouts, leek, onions, turnips, cabbage, beans
  • Fatty foods, if your bloating after eating is due to indigestion or acid reflux
  • If you are intolerant to certain foods such as lactose, avoid them
  • Avoid dairy cream or dishes made with lots of the stuff, even if you are not lactose intolerant
  • Avoid using straws, drinking from bottles or chewing gum as they can introduce an excessive amount of air into your digestive system

Also Check out the following links for Nutrition Tips with BONUSES


Complementary remedies can help those experiencing digestive bloating after eating:
  • Try using a bitter herb such as centaurium to ‘wake up’ your stomach
  • Or take Digestisan, a licensed herbal remedy containing cynara or dandelion, before each meal
  • Use a prebiotic such as Molkosan Vitality – it should be considered before using any probiotic supplement or taken together with probiotics
  • If you are having difficulty managing your stress, try a licensed herbal remedy containing valerian herb

Depending on the cause of your bloating, there are certain foods you can eat to help yourself:
  • Live, natural yoghurt
  • If you are constipated, foods rich in fibre as well as prunes can help
  • If you suffer from IBS, drink peppermint tea

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