What are you bloating and what naturopathy can do for bloating

Unravelling the Mystery of Bloating – A Naturopathic Perspective

Whether digestive symptoms and discomfort are a patient’s reason for visiting a naturopath or not, it’s surprisingly rare to encounter someone with health issues who doesn’t also experience some form of digestive distress, and stomach bloating is one of the most common complaints we get in clinic. Let's work out what we can do about it and understand what causes bloating.

Hippocrates, the original ‘naturopath’ of ancient Greece said ‘all disease begins in the gut’. It may be a little more complex than that, but from a modern naturopathic perspective, it would certainly be safe to say that ‘all disease involves the gut’. That’s why we tend to ask so many questions about digestion in initial consultations, and at New Leaf we have gleaned through sitting down with hundreds of patients over the years that perhaps no digestive symptom is more common than bloating.

In fact, the most common questions we receive as naturopaths – whether in formal consultation or at a dinner party – are: ‘What can I do/take to stop bloating after meals?’ and ‘what are the foods that cause bloating’. The answer is never straightforward and always requires digging much deeper, because stomach bloating is a symptom of a great number of digestive issues. In other words, where there is bloating, there is a mystery to be solved.

What causes bloating?

Just some pieces of the bloating puzzle for you could be:

  1. Poor Digestive Enzyme Production: inadequate production of digestive enzymes (which in itself can occur for many reasons) can lead to incomplete breakdown of food, which causes fermentation and gas production in the digestive tract;
  2. Imbalanced Gut Microbiota: an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in ratio to the beneficial stuff can contribute to gas production and bloating. We recommend a Co-Biome gut exploration to work this out;
  3. Food Sensitivities and Intolerances: food sensitivities or intolerances can trigger inflammation and gas production in the digestive system, so properly identifying and eliminating them is crucial;
  4. Hydration Habits: dehydration can slow down digestive processes and lead to constipation, contributing to bloating. Adequate water intake is essential for a healthy digestive system at every level;
  5. Slow Bowel Transit Time: sluggish movement of food through the digestive tract can result in the fermentation of undigested food, leading to gas and bloating. You can actually work out how long it takes your food to travel from end to end by eating something identifiable in the toilet bowl (corn, sesame seeds and peas work well!) and calculating how much time passed after eating. A healthy transit time should be less than 15-17 hours, but it shouldn’t be too quick either;
  6. Stress: chronic stress impacts the nervous system, which can lead to issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which commonly causes bloating;
  7. Lack of fibre: we need enough dietary fibre, from fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and other fibre-rich foods, to form healthy bowel movements. Without it, we can experience constipation and associated bloating;
  8. Artificial Additives and Preservatives: some food additives and preservatives can disrupt the natural balance of the digestive system, leading to bloating in some individuals.
  9. Impaired Liver Function: a well-functioning liver takes care of the processing of toxins. If the liver is sluggish, this can lead to digestive disturbances and bloating;
  10. Hormonal Imbalances: fluctuations in hormones, particularly during menstruation, can affect digestion and contribute to bloating in some individuals, especially folks with endometriosis;
  11. Reduced physical activity: regular exercise can prevent bloating by promoting bowel regularity and a healthy transit time. Even a 15-minute stroll each day can make a difference;
  12. Antibiotics: prolonged or frequent use of antibiotics can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to digestive issues and bloating;
  13. Incomplete Chewing: if we don’t chew our food thoroughly, larger food particles entering the digestive system, can make it harder for the body to break them down, causing bloating;
  14. Low stomach acid: we need ample hydrochloric acid to break food down in the stomach before it makes its way into the small intestine. Hindered food breakdown can cause bloating and discomfort after eating;
  15. Pathogens: whether its parasites, viruses or a bacteria like Helicobacter pylori, there are a number of pathogens that can cause bloating among other digestive symptoms. Determining pathogen type and appropriate treatment is critical in these cases, and requires extensive investigation.

Can Naturopathy help your bloating?

Most people who experience bloating do so for a number of reasons and it can be a complex riddle to solve. Luckily, this is an area where naturopathic care excels, both in figuring out the cause and formulating the right treatment.

Just remember – digestion should be smooth, comfortable and definitely bloat-free! If it’s not, naturopathy offers significant benefits and often full resolution of digestive problems, getting to the bottom of what causes bloating.

Supporting gut health is the start-point for managing so many conditions, so it’s a special area of interest for us. That’s why our practitioners have gained certification as Microbiome Analysts and Healthy Gut Practitioners.

At New Leaf Naturopathic we are experienced telehealth practitioners, so don’t let geography get in the way of your health. We’re here to help solve your bloating issues in the privacy and comfort of your own home, wherever you live.

Elevate Your Health Journey with Our Expert Naturopaths: Schedule Your Appointment Clinic Bookings at New Leaf Naturopathic Health Today!

certified Healthy Gut Practitionercertified Microbiome analyst