Beating the Bloat

We have ALL been there…that uncomfortable, full feeling in your stomach that makes you want to put on your comfiest sweatpants and not leave the house. Sometimes the bloating resolves within a few days, but other times it seems to hang around ALL THE TIME. This, understandably, is exceedingly frustrating. So, why does this happen, and what can we do to prevent or resolve it?  

Bloating can occur for numerous reasons. The most common reason is excess gas or air in your intestines. It could be due to something as simple as eating too quickly and taking in too much air, or something trickier such as a food intolerance. Too much fiber rich foods too quickly can cause bloating & discomfort. Lifestyle, sleep, stress, hormonal changes, and medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) & irritable bowel disease (IBD – Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s) can influence the severity & presence of bloating as well. The treatment and prevention of bloating depends on the cause. 

I’m sure we have all seen various supplements & diets that tout you can “beat the bloat,” if you just take this pill or omit this food. This is…potentially true. But because bloating is so individualized, a blanket supplement or omitting random foods doesn’t usually help. Some supplements MAY (big emphasis on “may”) help.  Probiotics, magnesium, ginger & psyllium husk are commonly used to help decrease bloating.  As for omitting foods – I have a story for you. When I was in college, I was vegan, & I consumed a tonnn of soy milk & tofu.  I remember being so aggressively bloated & uncomfortable all the time. I eventually noticed a pattern and figured out I had an intolerance to soy…after I figured that out & omitted soy-based products, I have been happily bloat-free since 2017. I had another client a while back that had been struggling with extreme bloating. After some digging, we were able to determine this client was eating too quickly and sucking in too much air during mealtimes. Once we focused on slowing down during meals their extreme bloating was no longer. Remember – you don’t have to figure this out alone, our RDN’s at New Leaf are here to help! 

Long story short, there are a ton of reasons you could be feeling bloated & it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason it is occurring. The good news is that once you can nail down the cause of bloating, it becomes much easier to come up with both a prevention and treatment plan. MORE good news, you don’t have to do this alone! Come see one of our wonderful RDNs who can help you along in the process to feel better. Better news, you can register for our self-paced gut health class to learn more about the causes of boating & how to best treat/prevent it! 

-Alex Grbcich, MS, RD, LD, CPT

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