Beat The Bloat: Tips to Help Combat Bloating
If you are currently struggling with bloat, it can be challenging to identify what might be at the root of your bloat. Many times, individuals are experiencing bloating because of a variety of reasons. While there might be multiple factors driving bloat, there typically is one main cause.
To understand what might be driving your bloating, take a look at these leading causes of bloat and ask yourself if you think that any of these leading causes sound like your situation. While this is not a substitute for working with a functional practitioner, it can be eye-opening to learn about what causes exist, and it might help you move closer towards answers.
Water Retention (and imbalanced minerals)
The leading cause of bloat is water retention, which can be caused by an imbalance of minerals. The main minerals, also called "macrominerals" (sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium), can be imbalanced, leading to water retention that causes bloat. The best way to have more insight into your mineral status is through an HTMA, which is a hair mineral analysis that shows how your body responds to stress. When interpreted by a practitioner like me, you will have insight into what needs to be done to have balanced minerals.
Tips: if you already know that you are low in sodium, you can try adding salt to a mid-day adrenal cocktail (orange juice + salt + collagen), or if you know you are low in potassium, you can add potassium to an adrenal cocktail as well by using cream of tartar. Suppose you are a fast metabolizer and lose minerals quickly. In that case, being aware of not having too many diuretics will be helpful. Depending on your health goals, it might be beneficial to break from anything that causes mineral loss, even temporarily.
A secondary leading cause of bloat (which can often be seen with imbalanced minerals) is SIBO, which is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth will almost always lead to bloat, which will most likely not go away until SIBO is addressed. Although, depending on your specific situation, you might need more support, it can be helpful to reduce foods that are high in fermentable fibers. Onion, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables can be among the most triggering. It can also be beneficial to temporarily reduce probiotic intake, as SIBO can also include an overabundance of good bacteria in the intestinal tract. Pausing probiotics can provide relief for some, based on their situation. Because gut health is so complex, I highly suggest working with a practitioner to address SIBO or get a test if you want to have more insight into your GI microbiome.
Tip: although some various diet styles are promoted for SIBO, it's essential to know that you might need a different approach than the next person. When I work with clients with SIBO, I create a custom protocol for each individual who is struggling. Many things can trigger SIBO - from a C-section birth to food poisoning and even the birth control pill. Although it can feel like a big step to invest into your health, SIBO is a situation that calls for more support. I often see low stomach acid when my clients struggle with SIBO, and digestive bitters are a beneficial tool for this.
Pelvic Tilt or Prolapse
Also often seen with both water retention and SIBO, a pelvic tilt can also be the cause of bloat. If you have ever visited a chiropractor and if they have looked at your pelvis, you might have been told that your hips are twisted or simply not in alignment. For any issues related to the pelvic floor, I suggest working with a pelvic floor therapist. Core workouts, waiting as long as possible to pee instead of going every time there is an urge, and using period panties or organic pads instead of tampons or menstrual cups are all great ways to support your pelvic floor health due to the positive impact these steps have on the pelvic floor.
Tips: try to avoid lifting weight if you struggle with a tilt or a prolapse that is not being addressed. If you do not have strength in your smaller muscles, then it can be challenging to avoid injury, which can cause a back injury on top of pelvic floor struggles. If you want to get pregnant in the future, working on your pelvic floor can help you prepare to have a more successful birth.