Bloating, often referred to as meteorism in medical terms, is a common yet down-to-earth problem many face. It involves sensations of abdominal distension, often accompanied by an increase in abdominal size or volume, explains Pauline Gouth, a nutritionist at Dijo according to 20 Minutes.
Causes of Bloating
Bloating typically results from a buildup of gas in the digestive tract, leading to discomfort or distension. While not immediately alarming, recurring and painful bloating necessitates identifying its causes.
"The stomach is one of those friendly organs that communicate with us, letting us know when something is amiss. So, let's listen to it!" encourages Gouth.
Physiologically, bloating can be due to several factors:
Excessive fermentation of certain food types by intestinal bacteria.
Aerophagia, or excessive air swallowing, which can occur when eating or drinking too quickly.
Nutrient absorption issues and digestive problems, often manifesting as food sensitivities and intolerances. "Even seemingly healthy foods may not suit our digestive system," Gouth warns. Foods like beans, cabbage, lentils, dairy, or highly processed gluten, may require closer monitoring for stomach reactions.
An imbalance in the microbiome, or dysbiosis, which is an excess of harmful bacteria over good bacteria.
Diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or celiac disease, where bloating can be a frequent symptom. Gouth strongly recommends professional guidance in these cases.
Ways to Alleviate Bloating As each body is unique, so are the causes of bloating. "It's hard to say if it's possible to get rid of bloating permanently," Gouth cautions. However, she offers some basic tips to avoid it:
Eat slowly, as slow chewing reduces the amount of air swallowed during meals, thereby decreasing the risk of bloating.
Avoid carbonated drinks, chewing gum, and candies, as these can introduce air bubbles into the digestive system and lead to more air swallowing.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, which stimulates intestinal movement, aiding in more effective digestion and reducing bloating. A balanced diet with adequate fiber intake (30 to 35 grams per day) is also recommended.
Consider natural remedies and supplements, such as a probiotic course, to quickly complement other solutions. Active ingredients like caraway and fennel are known to help reduce digestive discomforts, including bloating. Activated vegetable charcoal can alleviate flatulence and bloating, and the enzyme Alpha-galactosidase can help reduce fermentation processes and gas production.
Gouth also suggests keeping a "food diary" for at least two weeks each month.
This diary should include all consumed foods, sensations, any digestive troubles, and pains to better track the progression of bloating and tackle it more effectively.