Why Am I Bloated and Gassy All the Time? Digestive Health Answers
7 minute read
We are all familiar with the occasional bout of gas or a bloated stomach, especially after large meals. Gas and bloating are common digestive issues that may be related to eating too much or may have a deeper underlying cause.
There are several common causes of gas and bloating that people are largely unaware of. Getting to the root cause of your gas is the best way to relieve it, minimize it in the future, and improve your overall digestive health.
The Problem With Gas
Many consider bloating and gassiness after eating normal, and in some cultures burping after a meal is considered to be a compliment to the chef. Not all gas and bloating is a good thing, however.
The truth is that excessive gas, bloating, and the associated distended stomach can be caused by a number of other health issues. Because of the range of potential causes, it is important to understand what may be causing the gas, so you can take care of it.
Throughout the day, your stomach naturally becomes slightly distended as you eat meals. This is normal, as is an occasional feeling of fullness for a few hours after a meal.
Bloating occurs as a result of gas building up in your stomach and intestines. If it lingers, there could be a problem. Bloating and gas that does not dissipate could be indicative of serious conditions such as:
♦ Celiac disease
♦ Cancers like ovarian, uterine, and colon
♦ Liver disease
♦ Congestive heart failure
♦ Kidney disease
♦ Crohn’s Disease
♦ Bowel obstruction
Most cases of bloating do not have to be that sinister, however, as there are a number of common triggers for gas that you can rule out first.
To get to the bottom of the bloating, you need to understand that there are triggers, and these triggers cause gas for individuals with certain conditions. The triggers themselves are confused as the culprits, but in actuality, there is an underlying cause that is awakened at the presence.
Most Common Gas Triggers
The main triggers for gas and bloating are fermentable foods, foods that are difficult to digest, and mealtime practices. Diet is the most common trigger for gas and bloating, though, and there are specific food groups that are commonly known culprits.
By a process of elimination, you can determine if any of these groups cause you to be gassy, and then you can eliminate them and enjoy being gas-free.
These are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that are not easily absorbed by the gut. These are found naturally in some foods as well as in food additives.
The inability to digest them triggers gas and bloating in many people. Commonly eaten FODMAP foods that may be triggering your gas include onions, lentils, beans, apples, dried fruits, wheat bread, dairy, nuts, and artificial sweeteners.
Raw vegetables are a healthy food choice but they contain a large amount of insoluble fiber that may be difficult to digest. If you notice that raw foods cause you bloating, then there may be some bad bugs in your gut that you need to address. Probiotics supplements can help relieve the problems of bad gut bacteria.
Red meat has long been known to cause digestive issues. Large chunks or extra fatty red meat can be hard to digest, even when properly chewed.
It sits in your stomach and slows digestive processes, as food gets backed up behind it. While this happens, gas builds and so does your discomfort.
This is only a problem for those individuals that cannot produce lactase, the enzyme needed to break down lactose. The undigested lactose is acted upon by your gut bacteria, which leads to the production of gas and often cramping or diarrhea as well.
This is found in wheat, barley and rye and is another common cause for digestive troubles. Gluten proteins can be difficult to digest and many have sensitivities or intolerances to it too. Gluten can cause cramping and bloating.
Bad Mealtime Habits
Mealtime behaviors commonly contribute to the creation of excess gas and bloating too. Specifically, you should not rush your meals and be sure to thoroughly chew your food.
Eating too fast can lead to overeating because your brain doesn't have time to register that you are full, so you eat more. This puts pressure on your digestive system, which leads to bloating.
Adequate chewing breaks down your food which promotes efficient digestion, whereas undigested (and unchewed) food increases pressure and bloating.
Other Reasons for Bloating
There are also functional reasons that can cause bloating: You may have low levels of digestive enzymes, bile, or gastric juices which prevents efficient breakdown of your food.
The more undigested food that ends up in your intestines, the more gas and bloating you will experience. Digestive enzyme supplements can help these issues and as for increasing your stomach acids, your best bet is to limit the use of antacids.
An imbalanced gut microbiome can also influence digestive function and health. Undigested foods that make it to your gut will be broken down by bacteria, but not always the beneficial ones.
Certain foods can encourage bad bacteria to flourish, which increases gas bloating, and digestive issues. Probiotics and a healthy lifestyle are the best way to ensure you maintain a healthy gut balance, and to prevent excessive gas and bloating when you eat.
| Related: The Top 5 Vitamins You Need for Constipation Relief |
SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a similar problem that commonly causes gas, burping, acid reflux, and bloating. SIBO can result from a lack of stomach acid or when the resident bacteria grow out of balance.
Probiotics can help to regenerate a healthy balance, but you also need to avoid foods that trigger disruptions in the digestive tract.
The Bottom Line
While some gas is a regular aftermath to eating certain foods and may be a sign of appreciation to the chef. Frequent bouts of gas, bloating, and discomfort are not regular.
Diet or functional reasons could be behind the gas and bloating, and discovering the cause is the only way to bring permanent relief. Pay attention to what your gut is telling you and if gas is showing up all too often, then you need to find the trigger, remove it, and promote better gut health.