I had never experienced what it felt like to not be bloated until about 7-8 years ago. We’re talking about decades of bloating!
I tried to pinpoint what might be the culprit to this uncomfortable and embarrassing symptom. I started paying closer attention to what I was eating and then began implementing some new strategies. The moment came as I was putting on a pair of pants. The pants were not new but this time, things felt different. There was no struggle and no super snuggle. I just stood in the closet and felt a sense of huge accomplishment.
What I learned over the years was that there are several different reasons someone might be experiencing bloating after meals:
- If you feel bloated after a meal with protein, you might be low in something called Hydrochloric Acid
- If you feel bloated after a meal high in starches, you could be low in pancreatic enzymes.
- If you feel bloated after a meal that has a lot of fat (good or bad, makes no difference) you could have gallbladder issues. (more on this topic soon)
- There are some people that actually say they are bloated after every meal, regardless of what they eat. All foods cause issues. You might be looking at a case of what is known as Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO for short. More on this in a future post.
- If your bloating is dependent on portion size, you could be looking at an issue with the Gut-Brain Axis.
- Lastly, chronic constipation can lead to dysbiosis (imbalances in the microbiome) which can cause bloating.
To be honest, it can be tricky to determine which of these (or groups of these) could be the cause of your discomfort.
My first course of action would be to start journaling. I recommend including what you ate throughout the day, how you felt before and after each meal, snack or even fluid intake, consistency and frequency of your bowel movements, daily exercise, stress and any other symptoms you may have experienced throughout the day.
No fancy journals are needed (although if that motivates you, go for it). Just use a post it note or pad of paper, your calendar, even an app if you are technically inclined. Journaling can bring awareness to so many of our daily habits that we aren’t even thinking about and in turn, you could uncover some areas that might be causing your symptoms!
If after you have tried to pinpoint the culprit, you come up empty handed, give us a call! There is usually more to the story than meets the eye and we can guide you through the process of moving past your bloating once and for all.