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I vividly remember this one time that I had a huge presentation at work. I was so nervous the entire day imagining everything that could possibly go wrong. I could forget what I am suppose to say, the PowerPoint could mess up, the audience would find me boring, etc. We’ve all been there right?
As if all of this worrying wasn’t enough…BAM I get hit with a terrible case of bloating. Not only did my stomach look bloated, but the pressure on my stomach was extremely uncomfortable. So now on top of all of my other worries, I had this wonderful distraction. After my presentation was over (and of course all of my worries were foolish and it was smooth sailing), I vowed to do my research and uncover how to finally put an end to my abdominal bloating.
Experiencing abdominal bloating has become such a common occurrence these days, that I feel like most people just accept that it is normal. While it isn’t usually harmful, that doesn’t mean we just need to live with it. There are many different things you can do to banish it for good! Let me share with you some of the top reasons we experience abdominal bloating, and then how to get rid of it!
What usually causes bloating?
There are several different reasons that might cause you to bloat, that it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact culprit. Some of the different reasons are food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, digestive trouble, stress, sleep, dehydration, and more.
More often than not, gut troubles are what causes bloating. Unfortunately this is still a very broad reason, so it still doesn’t nail down the exact cause. It’s easy to throw your gut and digestive system out of whack. Oftentimes bloating can be caused by improper digestion of food, or gut bacteria being out of balance.
Here is a list of some of the most common causes of bloating. While this list doesn’t contain every single cause out there, it should give you an better idea of what is causing your stomach bloat.
Anybody diagnosed with a gastrointestinal disorder like IBS, colitis, or celiac disease is more sensitive to bloating and gas. According to a study, 23-96% of people with IBS report stomach bloating.
This is usually the first question I ask my clients who report chronic bloating. How much water do you drink each day? Contrary to popular belief, drinking a lot of water does not cause bloating. In fact, when you don’t get enough fluids your body retains water which then causes bloating. I mean think about it. Your body needs water to survive. So if you never drink water, your body starts to get smart and retain it for use later. Therefore bloating occurs. This can also occur from too much alcohol, caffeine, and ingesting really salty foods.
Any foods that aren’t being properly broken down and digested are going to cause some digestive discomfort, usually resulting in bloating. Foods that commonly cause sensitivities are dairy, gluten, and high FODMAP foods (click here for a list of foods high in FODMAPs). Try doing an elimination diet of foods that you think might be the culprit. For example, try eliminating dairy for a week and then reintroduce it into your diet and see how your body reacts.
How to reduce bloating
Looking at the list above of common causes of bloating, we can start to figure out some ways to reduce bloating. Here are some of my common tips for my clients who experience chronic bloating:
- drink more water (I usually recommend half of your bodyweight in ounces)
- do an elimination diet to identify food sensitivities
- start taking a probiotic to balance out your gut bacteria
- drink more herbal teas that reduce inflammation and aid digestion (check out my blog post on herbal teas here)
- try to go for a walk or do some light exercise (physical activity helps clear out air pockets in the digestive tract)
If you try everything on this list you should be able to get some relief from your abdominal bloating. However if your bloating becomes chronic and painful, you should always contact your doctor. If you’re already bloated and need a quick and immediate fix, check out my blog post for 6 ways to get rid of bloating ASAP!