If you regularly experience episodes of abdominal bloating and gas, you’re well aware that these episodes can be painful, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. In addition, your belly may look just like it feels; swollen and distended. If there’s any good news to gas and abdominal bloat it’s that it’s rarely a life-threatening condition. More often than not, this common condition is caused by your diet or your digestion—or both, but they’re factors that you can do something about.
While gas and bloating are interrelated and tend to occur together, in most cases abdominal bloating is actually caused by gas. Whether it manifests in excessive belching or flatulence, gas has a number of underlying causes, including:
- Some foods, most notably hard-to-digest vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Poor digestion, in which your stomach isn’t breaking down foods completely
- A stomach virus, or bacterial infection, such as e. coli or h. pylori
- Inflammatory bowel disease, or other chronic conditions
Indigestion can be a common cause of gas, but it’s also a problem in its own right. That’s because your body depends on your ability to break down and digest foods in order to turn it into the energy and nutrients you need to function. When your digestion is hampered in some way, undigested food can cause both bloating and gas. It can also leave you low on energy and malnourished. Indigestion has a number of underlying causes, which includes overeating, drinking too much alcohol, eating too many hard-to-digest foods, medication side-effects, and inflammation or an infection.
Other causes of abdominal bloating include:
- Fluid retention from hormonal changes or eating overly salty foods.
- Small Intestin Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Your gut is the home to trillions of microbes and bacteria that help you digest your food—some beneficial and some that can be harmful. In a healthy gut, the good microbes keep the damaging ones in check. SIBO is a condition where the harmful microbes in your small intestine overpowers the beneficial ones, upsetting your digestion.
- Food intolerances and sensitivities, the most common of which are dairy products and wheat.
- A condition called gastroparesis, in which the muscles that help your stomach empty become weak and stop functioning properly. This causes the food in your stomach and digestive tract to move slowly, which can cause gas, bloating, and even blockages.
- Constipation, which can occur due to poor hydration, low fiber intake, food sensitivities, a bowel condition, medication side-effects, or improper nutrition.
- Chronic bowel conditions are also a common cause for abdominal bloating, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Natural Solutions for Gas and Bloating
At BodaHealth, our staff features practitioners who are trained in a number of disciplines. They are able to approach your digestive problems from a number of directions. Our acupuncture practitioners look at your gas and bloating symptoms through the lens of Chinese medicine. Within that framework, digestive symptoms mean that the somewhere in the process of taking in food, converting it into energy and absorbing nutrients, and moving it through your gastrointestinal tract it is impeded. Not only is your digestion not working properly, but it will affect your energy levels and every other system in your body.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can provide an effective solution in treating digestive symptoms. Research indicates that acupuncture treatments help to promote gastrointestinal motility (movement) and help regulate gastric acid secretion. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1773431/ In addition, scientists have found that acupuncture helps support your parasympathetic nervous system, which is involved with recovering from stress. It promotes relaxation, digestion, and healing of damaged tissue. https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/acupuncture-scientific-evidence/
Chinese dietary therapy has a lot to offer as well, not only about your optimal diet, but also about how to foster good digestion. Using dietary therapy, our holistic nutritionist and Chinese medicine practitioners can help suggest the foods that are best suited to your nutritional needs and digestive symptoms. In addition to specific foods, they can direct you to cooking methods and what to drink with your meals—all as a way to help calm your symptoms and promote health.
Also under the umbrella of Chinese medicine is herbal supplementation. Our acupuncturists are knowledgeable and experienced in the use of hundreds of herbs that can be prescribed for your specific symptoms and their underlying cause. They may prescribe herbs to promote movement in your digestive system, strengthen the digestive process, enhance your energy, and reduce stress that may be affecting your digestion.
Our naturopathic physicians are also available to address your digestive symptoms in a number of ways. They are able to assess your nutritional status, the balance of your gut microbes, and your overall digestion. They may order lab or blood tests to determine if stress, a hormonal imbalance, a food sensitivity, bacteria or environmental toxins are causing your digestive symptoms. Naturopathic treatments may involve vitamin, herbal, or other nutritional supplementation, the use of pre- or pro-biotics, vitamin or nutrient injections, and lifestyle modifications. Like our acupuncture practitioners, our naturopathic physicians may also work with you to develop a dietary plan that focuses on reducing your symptoms while providing good nutrition.
At BodaHealth, we understand that digestive symptoms such as gas and bloating is uncomfortable, can affect your quality of life, and can take the joy out of eating. Our practitioners have a great deal of experience in treating all kinds of digestive conditions in an effective, safe, and natural way. If you’re struggling with gas, bloating, or other digestive disorders, contact us today. We’re here to help!