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Hard To Stomach: The Hidden Causes Behind Bloating

Bloating is a common symptom with many possible underlying causes.

While most people experience either occasional, regular or frequent bloating, not all understand bloating is likely a sign of more than just over-eating or “feeling full”.

Our body is communicating to us that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.

The first thing to consider when addressing bloating must always be what we are consuming. The foods and drinks we put into our body are the primary drivers of both health and disease, and the foundation upon which we build our healing path forward.

Removing gluten, grains, alcohol, sugars, sweeteners, conventional dairy, vegetable oils, food chemicals, and processed/packaged foods entirely from the diet is essential for truly beginning to repair the gut. In many cases, these changes alone can resolve digestive issues entirely on its own.

If this first and critical step has been taken and given adequate time, but there are still lingering issues, running labs is a worthwhile investment to help identify precisely what needs to be addressed at a deeper level.

A Comprehensive Stool Analysis is an essential lab to start with that evaluates a long list of potential digestive imbalances. Let’s take a look at exactly what this test covers and why it's so useful:

Inflammatory markers evaluate the presence of inflammation damaging the intestine. The results can be anywhere from mild and easily treatable to much more advanced with a need for more significant interventions.

Bacterial imbalances can show up as either too much bad bacteria, too little healthy bacteria, or often a combination of both. Identifying each patient's commensal and pathogenic bacterial balance allows us to treat in a targeted and specific way that will most benefit their unique microbiome.

Yeast, fungus and candida markers alert us to overgrowths in the gut that are very common, in large part due to the overconsumption of sugar in its many various forms that have become ubiquitous in the standard American diet.

Parasites are a common invasive organism that in some cases can wreak havoc on digestive systems. Parasites can be acquired through contaminated water, food, waste, soil, blood, sexual contact and insects.

There are many different types of parasites and their presence in our gut can vary from minimal and benign to mild and moderate to many and severe. Depending on which parasites are found and in what amount, targeted treatments can be incorporated to rid the body of these disruptive invaders.

Digestive insufficiency is very common, in large part due to the imbalanced diet and lifestyle inherent to modern living. Evaluating pancreatic enzyme output and the need for HCl, bile and supplementary enzyme support can simply and effectively improve the body’s digestive process.

Maldigestion and malabsorption are by-products of a weakened digestion and must be assessed to ensure a patient is getting the vital nutrients their body needs from the foods they eat. We look at various markers of protein and fat breakdown to evaluate how efficiently the body is digesting macronutrients.

Intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut) occurs when the tight junctions in our intestinal wall that are supposed to protect our body from invasive bacteria, viruses, toxins and food particles become dysfunctional.

Having a “leaky gut” can lead to chronic systemic inflammatory diseases, mood imbalances, skin issues, neurodegenerative disorders, hormone dysregulation, asthma and allergies, autoimmune disorders, plus much more, and must be treated in order to heal the body completely.

Beyond a Comprehensive Stool Analysis, running Food Immunology labs and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) breath testing is incredibly useful for resolving digestive issues.

Food Immunology labs can help identify antigenic intolerances through blood work, revealing dietary triggers that may be covertly exacerbating health problems. Without removing these problematic foods, every meal can be like pouring gasoline on the fire of our body’s internal inflammation.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the small intestine that generates gasses, such as methane, hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide.

Patients with SIBO can experience a long list of symptoms, including bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, skin issues, depression, anxiety, fatigue, malnutrition, indigestion, gas and nutrient deficiencies.

A SIBO breath test can tell us exactly how prevalent a pathogenic bacterial overgrowth may be and guide a customized treatment plan for SIBO that can often alleviate a myriad of digestive and systemic health issues.

So, as you can see, there’s really a lot more behind bloating than one might think. Utilizing lab work to identify the specific combinations of imbalances unique to each patient is essential for putting together a targeted, customized treatment plan that will help the body return to a place of health and homeostasis.


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