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Posted on: November 2 2017

Lots of different things can cause bloating. It’s important to rule out more serious causes by seeing your health practitioner, but there are some simple causes to consider in the first place:

Are you bowels moving every day?

Yes, they are intended to move every day, and if they don’t you may be feeling pressure from the simple reality of a bowel full of poo! Make sure your water intake is adequate (at least 1.5L/day) and you are eating plenty of fibre. Stress is another common cause of constipation, so create a daily mindfulness practice; there are plenty of resources around, including apps such as Calm, Headspace and Smiling Minds.
If your bowels still aren’t moving every day, see your naturopath for a treatment that will address the cause. Avoid using over the counter bowel stimulants – they’re only a short term solution and can be harmful if used long term.

Are you intolerant to certain sugars, such as lactose or fructose?

If you blow up like a balloon after drinking a glass of milk, and are left with either an urgent run to the toilet for a bowel motion, or days of no action there at all, you may be lactose intolerant. Fructose intolerance is a bit trickier to identify, because foods as common as garlic, onion and apples contain fructose, and our tolerance to it can vary depending what else is going on in our gut at the time. Be sure to consult your naturopath before cutting any food group out permanently – remember the cause it not the food, but the state of your gut which can’t handle that food. A naturopath will help to re-balance your gut so you can tolerate most foods most of the time.

Are you digesting food properly?

If we don’t break down food properly in the first stages of digestion (chewing our food, and having adequate digestive power in the stomach to break down proteins), food gets sent down to the small and large intestine in a form that cannot be properly dealt with. This can lead to a significant imbalance of bacteria in the gut which releases a lot of gas – and leave you not only a bit smelly, but with an uncomfortably large abdomen! Start by chewing your food properly (eat slowly and mindfully, sitting down and not in front of a screen!). If that fails, go see a naturopath.

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