Why does our bowel produce gas in the first place?

 
On average one adult produces 1 to 3 pints of gas and passes gas 6 to 20 times on a day to day basis. After eating a meal your digestive tract is busy with processing and breaking down the ingested foods and nutrients. During this digestive action a kind of intestinal fermentation occurs through which various metabolic by-products are produced that cause an increased gas formation in the bowel. Your body can perform gas-eliminating operations, including belching and burping to dispose these sorts of gases.

Causes of Bloating

There are many reasons why our digestive tract produces gas. Listed are a few factors regarding our diet and habits that can have a major impact on the intestinal gas production.

 

1

Swallowing air
 

This usually happens unconsciously and can either be associated with emotional stress or unfavorable eating habits like eating large amounts of food or eating too fast.

2

Bacteria-induced gas production

Semi- digested food passes from the small intestine to the colon where microorganisms further break down the food remnants and produce gas as a by-product. These gases can then result in bloating and the feeling of fullness.

3

Gas-promoting foods
 

Eating high-fiber food, when your body is not used to it can sometimes cause a bloated abdomen. 

Eating “gas-promoting” foods such as those containing certain short-chain carbohydrates, (also known as FODMAPS) can cause digestive complaints like bloating.

4

Hormonal changes
 

Women during their menstrual cycle experience hormonal fluctuations, which can result in poor digestive processes and increased gas retention. 

Other health-related
causes of bloating

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS patients may react oversensitively to normal intestinal gas volumes due to disrupted nerve conduction in the gut. That way normal amounts of gas can cause uncomfortable or even painful sensations in the bowel area.

Learn more about IBS

Food intolerances

Some people have digestive systems that find it hard to tolerate certain carbohydrates. Two of the most common carbohydrates that are known to cause digestive issues are lactose (a type of sugar found in milk and most milk-based products) and fructose (a type of sugar found in fresh and dried fruits, honey, agave syrup, onions or artichokes).

Celiac disease

Some people show an autoimmune response to a protein named gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, spelt, barley as well as rye (and in some smaller amounts in oats). The careless ingestion of gluten leads the loss of a proper digestive functionality. Bloating, diarrhea, and inadequate nutrient absorption as well as nutrient deficiency are the results. 

Learn more about Celiac Disease

What is Bloating?

 

Being bloated is defined as sensing an uncomfortable tightness, fullness and distention in the belly area while noticing a visible increasein the abdominal girth. 

While it is important to keep in mind that an increased abdominal girth together with belching and burping are natural and normal reflections of our digestive processes (especially right after meals and at the end of the day) some cases of bloating and abdominal distention can be related to more serious underlying health issues.

If these symptoms turn into consistent uncomfortable complaints causing mental distress, it is advised to see a professional health practitioner to clarify your concerns. 

Natural ways to prevent bloating

 

 

 Diet

  • Avoid foods and drinks that potentially provoke intestinal symptoms.These may include milk and dairy products, artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages and certain fruits and vegetables.
     
  • A low-FODMAP diet may improve bloating and abdominal distention. Food products that are poorly digestible and rapidly fermentable should be avoided (e.g. legumes, sprouts, broccoli, dairy, garlic, onion, cashews, pistachios, brussels, beets, apples)
     
  • Chew less gum or don’t chew gum at all
     
  • Refrain from consuming white flower products and fried greasy foods that can be hard for your body to digest and that slow down the intestinal flow.
     
  • Add more fiber to your diet which is very important for maintaining a healthy gut. It is highly recommended to gradually add fiber-rich foods to your everyday diet on to help your digestive tract get used to it.

 

Habits & Lifestyle

  • Appropriate eating habits can often prevent or reduce bloating
     
  • Overeating can cause abdominal bloating.  That is why portion control and eating in moderation is important.
     
  • Eat meals on a regular basis and avoid skipping meals. This keeps the digestive tract going and can prevent excessive gas accumulation.
     
  • Eat slowly and savor your food rather than gulping it down as fast as you can. Also chew your food thoroughly as this makes it easier for your digestive system to break down ingested foods.
     
  • Exercising may help to avoid gas and bloating, when performed regularly. It gets the intestinal system going and can encourage proper digestive processes.

Side note:  It is strongly advised to see a health care practitioner to rule out any underlying diseases that cause your chronic abdominal distress.

"Health must at all times come from and be maintained by digested food."

- Henry Lindlahr -