Why Am I Always Bloated?

Bloating is a common digestive complaint, which most of us have the misfortune of experiencing at some point.

It can leave us feeling uncomfortable, frustrated, and sometimes confused about what has caused it.

Although a little bloating can be perfectly normal, if it becomes persistent or painful, we look to seek answers. Read on for common causes and tips to help beat the bloat.

Why Am I Bloated in The Morning/at Night?

Digestive health can be incredibly complex and daunting to navigate and treat.

At times it feels as though there is no rhyme or reason for bloating, and it can occur at any time of the day, including when you wake in the morning or late at night.

Bloat upon waking can stem from eating trigger foods the night before, eating too late, or dehydration. Bloat at night may be caused by foods you’re ingesting that evening, irregular mealtimes, and can be seen particularly in those with IBS.1

Why Am I Bloated After Eating?

Gases are produced when digesting a meal to help break it down, leading to temporary post-meal bloating.2 This is a normal reaction whilst the gut digests a meal.

Another cause of post-meal bloating is overeating during the meal. Large quantities of food entering the digestive tract can overwhelm it and slow down digestion.3

Food intolerance could also be the culprit; read on to find out why and find out the common causes of bloating to help relieve symptoms.

What Causes Bloating?

Food Intolerances

The gluten from grains and lactose from dairy products are the two most common food allergens. Bloating, cramping, loss of appetite, fatigue, and diarrhoea can also be experienced if you have an intolerance.4

The Foods Standards Agency lists the common 14 food allergens here. This may be an excellent place to start if you suspect a food intolerance. It may be best to track when you are consuming these foods and note any digestive symptoms experienced.

Stress

Recent evidence supports a clear link between our gut microbiome and mental health, with constant communication through what we now know as the gut-brain axis.5

Many hormones and neurotransmitters are produced in the gut, including serotonin (our happy hormone) which also affects gut motility.6

If motility is impaired, food may not move as efficiently through the GI tract and cause a build-up of fermentation and gas, which, you guessed it, leads to bloating.

Dehydration

It is essential to consider and rule out the basics regarding digestive health.

Inadequate water intake can lead to poor bile flow, which helps break down our food. This leads to constipation and a build-up of gases in the GI tract.

Aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day or 1.5 litres to help reduce bloating.

Swallowing Too Much Air

Smoking and sipping drinks through straws cause more air to enter than is typical.

The act of sucking in causes us to take in large gulps of air which may cause a build-up of air in the gut, leading to bloating and distention.7

IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an umbrella term for undiagnosed digestive complaints; therefore, treatment can be hard to pinpoint.

An imbalanced microbiome, food sensitivities, inflammation, or digestive infection can all be drivers of IBS.8

If a previous diagnosis of IBS has been given and you are experiencing bloating and distention. As a result, identifying and tackling the underlying causes may be beneficial.

Not Chewing Food Properly

Taking the time to chew food properly into small chunks before swallowing is more important than it seems when it comes to digestive health.

Larger chunks of food entering the digestive tract requires more work from the body to break down, which leads to poor protein digestion and fermentation of undigested food.

Simply chewing your food 10-15 times per bite may significantly help reduce bloating.

Skipping Meals

Skipping a meal causes your blood sugar to drop, stimulating our hunger hormones and causing us to overeat during our next meal.
Eating a large meal strains our gut and can lead to bloating, cramps, and unpleasant symptoms.

A Low Fibre Diet

Roughage from fibre moves food through the tract and reduces constipation, thereby helping minimise gas build-up and bloating.9
Aim for a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre food sources for good gut health.

How to Get Rid of Bloating

Avoiding straws when drinking, chewing food thoroughly, and having adequate hydration can all be easy ways to help reduce bloating.

Peppermint oil has been shown to be a great digestive aid and particularly beneficial for bloating in IBS sufferers. Be warned, however, it may increase the severity of symptoms in those prone to acid reflux!10

Bitter foods are beneficial as they stimulate digestion and reduce the fermentation of any stagnant food in the gut.11 Aim for a daily serving of bitter foods like rocket, dandelion, artichoke, and ginger to boost digestion and reduce bloating.

If you find the cause of bloating particularly difficult to pinpoint, keeping a food diary along with tracking stress, sleep, and mood and how your gut reacts may help you to investigate and unearth potential triggers.

If you suffer from IBS or a diagnosed digestive complaint, tackling the underlying drivers, such as a poor microbiome, can significantly reduce bloating. A licensed health practitioner will be able to help you navigate causes and drivers.

Suppose your symptoms continue or are particularly pervasive and get in the way of everyday life. In that case, it may be best to consider seeking the help of a qualified and trained health practitioner.

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