Bloating – How to Find the Right Solutions
Bloating – Why you must know where you feel the discomfort to find the right solutions
Bloating has become such a common symptom and is a cause of huge frustration.
Why is bloating such a frustration?
Because sufferers just don’t know where to start.
Shall I cut out this food or that?
I’m OK today but not tomorrow?
I can’t find any commonality between what I eat and when it occurs.
I look 8 months pregnant – and I’m a man!
It’s no laughing matter. Bloating is a sign that something is most definitely wrong in the gastrointestinal tract. It may be felt alongside other digestive symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea, wind, burping, acid reflux, heartburn and cramping. But equally, it may not.
First of all, you should rule out other causes of bloating with your GP (it may be not digestive and gut-related).
Your starting point – before you can even think about solutions – is to get to know your body a bit better. Check-in with where you’re feeling the bloating (it may or may not be visible).
Let’s start with the Stomach…
No time to read? Why not watch my video on bloating or listen to the podcast while on the go!
Bloating – Start in the Stomach Area
The stomach is quite high up under your rib cage on the left-hand side. It extends across to the middle and down towards your naval. Bloating under the rib cage, in the sternum area and above the naval is most likely to be in the stomach.
Food arrives here very quickly after swallowing and stays here for up to 3 hours. The more dense the protein food (like red meat), the longer it will be here. The more carbohydrate-heavy the meal is, the less time it should spend here.
But if there are fewer gastric (stomach) secretions available to digest your food, the stomach can feel bloated and heavy. Food may sit here for longer than ideal, food may start to ferment creating gas leading to more bloating.
These digestive secretions commence the breakdown of protein foods and the entire meal is churned up ready for the next phase of digestion.
Bloating – The Small Intestines
When semi-digested food eventually leaves the stomach it moves into the small intestines. This area is a very long coiled tube of about 7M in length that extends from slightly above the naval area to the bottom right-hand area of your pelvis. Let’s call this whole area the lower abdomen.
At the lower left-hand side, it joins the colon.
The small intestines extend across the front of the body. This is a major area for digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Why can bloating occur across the middle section of the lower abdomen? If it is in the area of the small intestines, we know that SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) can cause bloating here.
Bacteria are not meant to reside and grow in this area. And as it’s a major site of digestion, the bacteria may start to feed off the partially digested food. This creates gas and the associated bloating.
Another cause can be delayed movement through the small intestines. Sluggish motility can allow bacteria to linger and grow. And the sluggish movement of the “food” can bloat the area.
Bloating – The Large Intestine – Colon
You can think about this as the shape of an arch. It starts in the lower right-hand corner of your pelvis, sweeps directly up, extends horizontally across the abdomen just above the naval, in most people, then extends directly down the left-hand side of the body to the pelvis region. The right-hand side is the ascending colon. The horizontal section is known as the transverse colon. The left-hand side is the transcending colon.
If bloating occurs in these “outer areas” it is most likely to be the large intestines.
This is the major site of the microbiome. The trillions of bacteria, both beneficial and pathogenic, that live in us.
Bloating can be directly linked to an imbalance in the microbiome population. It may be due to very sluggish bowel movements around the colon causing constipation and residual waste coating the colon walls.
Diarrhoea can be thought of as constipation since there is no ability to cleanse the walls of the colon of residual waste.
Bloating – Starting to listen to your body
There is an overlap between the locations of the small and large intestines so it isn’t always easy to differentiate between the two.
The next time you experience bloating place your hands on your abdomen and start to locate which areas feel worse. There may be other symptoms beyond the bloating to consider too.
How soon after eating did the bloating start? If it’s within 45-60 minutes it’s typically a stomach symptom. Any longer it’s likely to be the small or large intestines.
Bloating – Is food the cause?
I rarely start with food exclusions for bloating since poor digestion, gut microbiome imbalance or sluggish motility and bowel movements may be the underlying cause that needs correcting first. Often once these are corrected, most people can tolerate and eat (possibly in moderation) most food types.
If you are suffering from bloating and just can’t find the right solution, then book a free discovery call with me? Simply visit www.peytonprinciples.com, call me direct on 07730 513303 or email email@example.com
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