Perhaps a chief complaint amongst patients visiting their general practitioner is they can’t seem to make it through the day without getting gassy and bloated.
Many times, they’re unaware of what’s causing the symptoms, but some of them have a reasonable assumption it’s diet-related but still can’t get rid of the painful condition.
If you fall into either camp, here are six medical explanations of why your stomach may feel gassy and bloated all the time.
6 Proven Reasons Why Your Painful Stomach Persists
The health of your gut is critical for maintaining optimal wellness. If your stomach isn’t working at its highest-efficiency, not only could it cause health issues down the road…
A painful stomach may also make day-to-day life miserable.
Here are some of the more common (but less-known reasons) your stomach may always feel gassy and bloated
1 – You’re Eating Too Much of This Kind of Fiber:
Everyone knows you’re supposed to eat fiber to maintain a healthy gut. What the vast majority of people don’t know is there are two kinds of fiber, and one of them makes you gassy and bloated.
The two types of fiber found in foods are soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fibers are the kinds of fiber your body can breakdown and pass through in stool with ease.
Insoluble fiber, while necessary for health, can hurt the stomach. That’s because insoluble fiber does not breakdown in the stomach. This isn’t a bad thing since by not breaking down it can draw digested food with it and help move it out of the body.
However, if you overeat insoluble fiber, your body has a tough time trying to digest it, which can result in gas and bloat.
2 – You Don’t Drink Enough Water:
Being dehydrated is a leading cause of gas and bloat.
Your body needs sufficient levels of water to digest food properly and then excrete it. If you’re dehydrated two things happen. Your body can’t properly digest food, which causes you to become backed up and constipated. This can create bloat and pain.
Secondly, the food that’s now stuck in your bowels begins to ferment, and that fermentation releases large amounts of gas which cause you to become puffy and filled with gas.
Fixing dehydration will often help to fix digestive issues that lead to gas and bloat.
3 – You Have SIBO
Everyone interested in gut health has heard of probiotics now.
What most people have never heard of is SIBO. SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
SIBO is the opposite of what a healthy gut looks like, i.e., there are too many harmful bacteria alive in the small intestine and not enough good bacteria (bacteria). SIBO generally comes about as a result of antibiotic use, stress or trauma, or a diet consisting primarily of processed and artificial foods.
SIBO is exacerbated when you eat foods that contain certain structures known as FODMAPS. FODMAP containing foods contain sugar molecules that SIBO feed off of. When they feed on those sugars, they release gas as a byproduct. That results in swelling, bloat, and pain.
A corrective course for taking on SIBO usually requires a consult with a physician (to diagnose if you have it) as well as a cleansing diet that restores probiotic levels.
4 – Changes In Hormone Levels
Hormones are the chemical messengers that tell your body what to do.
And hormones have a role in the healthy function of your gut.
For many women, a change in periods involved with the menstrual cycle or menopause can result in gut health change.
During the menstrual cycle, a woman’s estrogen levels will rise, and the lining of the uterus becomes thicker. Bloating may result when this happens because fluids are retained in the body as ovulation takes place and blood collects in the midsection. Once the uterine lining is shed, and the fluid releases the gas and bloat dissipate.
5 – You eat FODMAPS:
We mentioned FODMAPS in point 3, referencing SIBO.
As it turns out, FODMAPS may present a problem even when SIBO isn’t an issue.
FODMAPS stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols.” These “ols” as they’re known, are forms of short and long-chain sugars that don’t fully digest inside of the intestinal tract.
Once they pass from the large intestine and into the small intestine and colon, the unfermented material ferments as a result of bacterial digestion. The fermentation process releases gas which remains trapped inside the gut where it can cause pressure and bloat.
Avoiding foods with FODMAPs is an unappealing prospect; thousands of people find relief in doing so.
Are Gas and Bloat Normal?
Now that you know what causes gas and bloat (or at least what may contribute to it), the question to ask is, are gas and bloat normal?
The answer is “Yes.” and “No.”
Yes, they’re normal, in that there is always going to be some gas and bloat associated with digestion.
They’re not healthy when they always happen, or when gas and bloat persist for days and weeks on end.
If you notice you can’t go more than two days without gas and bloat, it’s time to look into root causes (like the ones listed above) and ascertain what may be causing the problem in the first place.