Bloating is one of the most common problems that people complain about today. The good news is that once you have determined what is causing your stomach to bloat, that it is almost always treatable. Bloating is uncomfortable, especially for women, because it affects their confidence and how they feel about their bodies.


Here are some of the most common things that cause bloating:

  • Intestinal yeast overgrowth
  • Food intolerances
  • Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease
  • Insulin resistance
  • Poor food combining
  • Irregular meal-times
  • Deficiency of digestive enzymes (including lactose intolerance)
  • Other causes of dysbiosis – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or parasites

Some of this causes may be tested,  but the others are treated based on the symptoms and history.

  1. Intestinal yeast overgrowth

Antibiotics are the main reason that causes intestinal yeast overgrowth. Using antibiotics for a long period of time may alter your digestive flora, allowing yeast to attack your body.

Too much yeast in the body makes you bloated and gassy. This is because it ferment foods, causing gassiness. Some other symptoms that people also experience are: very high sugar or carb cravings, tendency for binge eating, brain fog, fatigue, vaginal yeast infections, and possibly fungal skin infections.

The good news is that you can treat this type of bloating by rebalancing your intestinal flora with a yeast cleanse: eating a no-sugar diet, taking supplements to kill yeast, and replenishing your intestinal flora with probiotics.

  1. Food intolerance

The difference between food intolerance and food allergies is that food intolerance is postponed reaction to food, unlike food allergies that causes immediate itching, swelling or anaphylaxis. Food intolerances lead to immune stress and inflammation, and irritates the intestinal tract causing bloating. The most common food that can cause intolerance are dairy, eggs, certain fruits (banana, citrus, pineapple especially), sometimes nuts (almonds and peanuts are most common), wheat, gluten, corn or others.

Food intolerances can be easily tested with a blood test. Food intolerance is more common for people with a history of allergies, eczema, asthma or a family history of autoimmune disease, but can also be related to many other skin conditions, digestive disturbances, and low energy. It takes from 4 to 6 weeks for the bloating to stop after eliminating the aggravating foods.

  1. Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease

Gluten intolerance and celiac disease, a more serious form of gluten-intolerance, are on the rise, mainly because of the great changes in wheat over the past 50 years.Another cause for this condition is the high consumption of grain products. A lot of people with a gluten sensitivity will complain of bloating, with or without gassiness, constipation or diarrhea.

Gluten intolerance and celiac can be tested. However,  many people who test negative, still feel much better off gluten. There are various markers for gluten intolerance, such as low vitamin B12 levels without a vegan or vegetarian diet.

In a case you think that gluten may be a problem for you, firstly you need to do appropriate blood tests to confirm, or to start a 5 week strict gluten-free trial. Some of the best alternatives to gluten are millet, rice, sweet potato, quinoa, and squash.

  1. Insulin resistance

Insulin is the hormone that is released from the pancreas in response to glucose (sugar) in the blood. The levels of the insulin increase after eating a meal. In a healthy person when insulin is produced it activates the body’s cells to use the sugar and fats from the bloodstream. Insulin resistance happens when the cells do not react tothe insulin signal.

Common symptoms of insulin resistance are: weight gain (often rapidly in a period of 2-3 years); intense cravings for carbohydrates and sweets; increased appetite; and feeling tired and bloated after eating.

The good thing is that insulin resistance is treatable and reversible with diet changes and exercise. The most important thing is to lower your intake of sugar and carbohydrate foods, and consume more vegetables, proteins, fiber and healthy fats; and also to start exercising regularly.

  1. Poor food combining

Many people do not know that food combining can also cause bloating. When you combine your food improperly it slows down your digestive process which can cause bloating.

The first rule when it comes to combining food is to eat your fruits alone, and not to combine them with other foods, especially proteins. For example, never eat melon or a fruit salad directly after a fish dinner.

Other combinations you should avoid is proteins and carbohydrates. This may be difficult for vegetarians, but for those of you who eat meat, poultry or fish, try separating your starches and proteins and see how it feels. You will be able to notice much more ease of digestion. For instance, have a breakfast consisting of juicy fruits; have a mid-morning snack of nuts; eat a lunch consisting of meat, poultry or fish with lots of vegetables; and then have a more carbohyrate-heavy dinner such as a baked sweet potato with grilled vegetables.

  1. Irregular meal-times

Skipping meals is acommon cause of bloating. The worst thing is when you go for long hours without eating, or have large amounts of food at bedtime, your digestion (and metabolism) will suffer. For instance, skipping breakfast, and then eating a large lunch will almost always lead to bloating. In this case you will be bloated and tired, searching for caffeine to stay productive in the afternoon.

Our bodies work the best when we have regular and consistent meal times, and our digestive system also functions better with consistency. Make sure that you consume your breakfast,  one hour after you wake up every morning, and take your last meal before 7p.m. If it is necessary, you can include mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.

  1. Deficiency of digestive enzymes

The function of digestive enzymes that are produced by the pancreas is to help with the breakdown of food into forms that can be absorbed by your body. Enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates, fats and lactose.

If this process does not happen,we feel discomfort such as pain, irregular bowel movement, bloating and indigestion. Some of the major causes for deficiency of digestive enzymes are the following: 1) food intolerances causing low-grade inflammation in the intestinal tract; 2) overgrowth of bacteria / yeast / parasites; 3) low stomach acid; 4) chronic stress; and 5) aging.

Another form of enzyme deficiency is lactose intolerance. In this case there is an insufficient lactase enzyme to breakdown lactose, which results in poor digestion of dairy products. It can be tested with a breath test, or with a 2 week dairy-free trial, followed by a challenge (meaning eating dairy products to watch what happens).

The temporal solution to this problem is to avoid dairy if you have lactose intolerance, and to take digestive enzymes with your meals. But, the most important thing is to get to the root of the problem.You should treat any imbalances in order to encourage the production of sufficient enzymes.

  1. Other causes of dysbiosis – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or parasites

Having an imbalance in the organisms in the intestinal tract is a very common problem. This is more likely if you have traveled recently, especially to Asia, Africa or South America, but even eating out in Toronto you can pick up some nasty bugs. This digestive imbalance typically goes with diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss.

There is a comprehensive digestive stool analyses, which can accurately test for bacterial overgrowth. Once the organism is identified, the treatment is much easier.


We can conclude that there are numerous causes of bloating that a Naturopathic doctor is looking for. This condition is usually treatable. You should understand that it is not normal to be too bloated by the end of the day, or to loosen your pants every night after dinner.




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