No one enjoys feeling bloated. It’s uncomfortable, painful and often embarrassing. Bloating can be caused by a number of things. Some causes can be remedied with a lifestyle change, such as a change in diet, while others are a little more complicated. If you suffer from excessive bloating, it could be a sign of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. Too much bacteria moving through your small intestine can end up fermenting food that is travelling through, which causes gas and stomach bloating. In mild cases, SIBO causes stomach bloating only after eating. But in moderate to severe cases, SIBO can cause constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Severe SIBO can lead to chronic diarrhea, unwanted weight loss and anemia.
SIBO can be caused by several different factors. If you are constantly battling stomach bloat, consider talking to your doctor about some of the following causes:
1. Low Stomach Acid
Stomach acid helps you digest your food. It also acts as a disinfectant to prevent harmful bacteria from making its way into your gut. Low levels can end up causing SIBO.
Antacids might help relieve heartburn, but they also weaken your body’s ability to digest food. Constant or long-term use of antacids or proton pump inhibitors including Nexium and Prilosec can cause SIBO.
3. Previous Surgeries
Previous surgeries in the abdominal area can increase your chances of developing SIBO. The healing process from the surgery can result in small formations of adhesions as the scars heal, which can end up affecting normal bowel function.
4. Slow Transit Time
Some people develop SIBO due to a low transit time. This means that food takes longer than usual to move through the GI tract. When food is left sitting in the small intestine for long periods of time, bacteria is able to feed on and ferment in undigested food, causing gas and bloating.
5. Environmental Factors
Diet often plays a large role in stomach bloating. If you regularly consume meat that has antibiotic residues, an excess of bacteria could grow in your gut, causing SIBO.
Herbs That Help Reverse Bloating
1. Peppermint Leaf
Peppermint works wonders for relieving stomach bloating, thanks to its natural muscle-relaxing properties. Simply make peppermint tea using fresh peppermint leaves, and drink to help relieve painful and irritating symptoms of bloating.
2. Horse Chestnut
Horse Chestnut contains a natural antibacterial known as saponin, which helps reduce gas production. To use horse chestnut for bloating, look for it in supplement form. The raw form contains a poisonous compound.
Ginger is known for its ability to soothe an upset stomach. It has the ability to calm down intestinal activity while expelling gas from the digestive tract. Make ginger tea using fresh ginger root and some lemon to reduce bloating symptoms.
Garlic helps stimulate digestion, which helps the body pass gas and clear the digestive system. If you use fresh garlic to help with bloating, consider following it up with some fresh parsley to freshen your breath!