Abdominal bloating and excess gas – they happen to everyone at some point. In addition to a bulging stomach, symptoms can be embarrassing and upsetting. For some people, this condition stems from an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria. For others, the source can be something else such as one’s diet, food sensitivities, yeast/candida overgrowth, parasites, eating habits, lack of adequate enzymes, prior surgeries, malabsorption, etc.
If you feel like you’re experiencing abdominal bloating and excess gas, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition for a comprehensive assessment of what’s causing your abdominal bloating and excess gas.
Abdominal bloating occurs when the stomach feels full and tight. Often, the abdomen is visibly swollen as well. At LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition, we understand how uncomfortable and embarrassing this issue can be. Not only do patients feel too full, but those around them can see their distress.
While abdominal bloating can occur due to a variety of causes, some of the most common include:
- Swallowing too much air while eating or drinking
- Eating too much, fast eating habits, and inadequate chewing
- Food sensitivities
- Imbalance of bacterial flora of the gut (dysbiosis)
- Weight gain
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
- Poly-Microbial intestinal infections (candida/yeast, SIBO, parasites, all combined!)
- Low stomach acid or the so-called hypochlorhydria
Painful or Excess Gas Symptoms
It is estimated that most people pass gas between 10 and 20 times a day. When this gas has an odor, it generally comes from the bacteria in the large intestine. These bacteria release a small amount of gases that may contain sulfur or methane.
Gas in the digestive tract can come from a number of sources. Some of the most common causes are swallowing too much air or the breakdown of food by bacteria in the large intestine. If you have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), your gas may be more severe. Foods that are known to cause gas include:
- Certain vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, cabbage, asparagus, and artichokes
- Certain fruits, such as peaches, pears, and apples
- Whole grains
- Milk and dairy products
- Sodas and fruit drinks
Treatment for Abdominal Bloating and Excess Gas
If your bloating stems from overeating or consuming certain foods, then the answer may be simply to alter your diet. But if you suffer from small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, then the solution might be more complicated. In fact, most people with SIBO don’t even know they have it, which makes solving the root problem next to impossible.
SIBO is a condition where an abnormally large number of bacteria are present in the small intestine. This occurs when something interferes with the activity in the small intestine and keeps it from clearing away the bacteria as it normally would, thus allowing the bacteria to spread backward from the colon and into the small intestine.
At Los Angeles Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition, we perform an intestinal breathing test to diagnose your abdominal bloating and excess gas problem. This test measures the amount of hydrogen and methane gases in your digestive system and lets us determine whether or not you have SIBO. Despite the simplicity of the test, the measurement of the gases is a complex process. Being able to properly interpret the test also requires skill and expertise.
In addition to a hydrogen and methane test, we also offer a Heidelberg pH test to measure the stomach acidity of our patients. This test tells us whether our patients have reduced stomach acid, which can also cause bloating and excess gas, especially following a meal.
Once the correct diagnosis for your gas and bloating is reached, the healing can begin.
Abdominal Bloating and Excess Gas FAQ
Q: When should I see a doctor about my gas and bloating?
A: If you’ve never experienced severe gas or bloating before and the problem comes on all of the sudden, you may want to see a doctor. Although rare, for some women a swollen abdomen can be a sign of ovarian, colon, or other cancer. Otherwise, you should visit a doctor if the gas or bloating make you uncomfortable or negatively affects your life.
Q: How can I reduce gas and bloating?
A: The best way to reduce unwanted gas and bloating is to visit a gastroenterologist. Your doctor will help you determine the exact cause of your symptoms and how to treat them.
Q: How does a high fiber diet affect gas and bloating?
A: As more and more people turn to a high fiber diet, many find that it causes gassiness, especially in the first few weeks. For most people this will pass. For others, it can be an ongoing problem.
Q: Is my gas and bloating related to lactose intolerance?
A: The best way to determine if lactose intolerance is a problem for you is to stop consuming dairy and see if your symptoms improve. A lactose breath test and genetic testing are also available to determine if you could be lactose intolerant; we rarely order these tests.
Consult an Expert Los Angeles Holistic Medicine Doctor
Do you experience excessive abdominal bloating and gas? You don’t have to feel ashamed and uncomfortable. At LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition, we take a “whole-person” approach to bringing bodily functions back in harmony. By combining a holistic method with the best techniques of Western Medicine, our experts can help you optimize your health. Contact LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition at (310) 289-8000 or by emailing us.
Next, read about abdominal pain.