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Bloating, burping and farting - is it normal ?

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

A smelly gas habit can affecting your intimacy. A bloated belly can make you feel uncomfortable and self conscious.
Who let one rip ? Surely, it wasn't her. Girls don't fart ! (says who!)

Bloating, stomach pain, cramping, constipation, gas, burping, diarrhea, nausea... symptoms that people of all ages experience at one stage or another. Perhaps you have noticed that in some families and households, these issues tend to be more pronounced - usually that is because of shared food and behavioral habits.

Did you come from a family of "champion" burpers or farters ?

Chances are you would think big loud belching, burping and smelly farts is normal ! Then imagine you meet a man or a woman, fall in love, move in together and find out that they don't think this is a skill or talent you should be proud of. If you have been surrounded by it your whole life you wouldn't think it was a problem. If you haven't, you certainly would ! Afterall, a build up of gas is a sign your food is not being broken down properly.

So what is the difference between a "little gas" a "tummy bug" and a severe and chronic problem that warrants further testing and investigation?

Start by asking yourself these questions :

1) What is the impact of these symptoms on your everyday lifestyle? Do you find yourself avoiding certain situations that may make you uncomfortable? It is common to have gut symptoms flare or get worse during times of increased stress, such as job interviews, exams, or while performing on stage or in front of work colleagues when required to lead, speak or present.

2) Are you nervous being around people or social situations at certain times because you're worried you might burp or pass wind?

3) Does it affect the types of foods you can eat and when you eat?

4) How long have you had the problems? Is it a week, two weeks, months or years? How long do the symptoms last when they happen?

5) Did the problems occur after a stint in hospital, a trip overseas or never well since having another type of illness ?

6) How would life look like for you if these problems weren't impacting you as they are now?

What's the problem ?

Digestive symptoms can have a variety of causes:

- low digestive enzymes

- nutrient deficiency,

- parasitic infection

- bacterial or yeast overgrowth

- poor gut tissue integrity,

- inflammation and low immunity.

Gut health problems can originate from any part of the digestive system, from either the stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder, small intestine or bowel.

Even posture has some impact on good digestive function. Long hours spent sitting at a desk without movement can affect normal bowel movements.

However, unless a full medical investigation is completed, there is a risk you may only be masking the symptoms and not adequately addressing the cause. Ignoring the real issues makes the problem more chronic, damaging healthy gut function. Malabsorption problems and nutritional deficiency may result from long-term food elimination.

Seek medical attention immediately if you have blood in your stool, sudden excessive digestive pain, with or without stool changes and fever.

Even so, unfortunately, it is far too usual for clients to reach out to me after a recent trip to the hospital emergency room or a visit to their GP. This is because there is insufficient evidence of infection or anything needing treatment. They are either placed on proton-pump inhibitors, given laxatives or dismissed their discomfort and told it is in their head. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common diagnosis but, unfortunately, has no straightforward treatment that can be prescribed, medically speaking.

As a naturopath, I've listened to dozens and dozens of case histories. Gut health issues is a common complaint that clients come to me seeking advice for. I know such symptoms are genuine and disruptive.

As part of working with me, I can create a tailored wellness plan, focused on gut health that targets the cause of your issue and is designed to suit your body and lifestyle. I can refer you to get further testing like comprehensive stool analysis, a breath test for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), food biocompatability testing, and checking digestive enzyme levels.

Following this, you might gain symptomatic relief and digestive support with:

  • professionally prescribed herbal and nutritional supplements

  • dietary advice such as trial elimination of certain foods. Avoiding fermented foods like yoghurt and beer, carbonated drinks, and certain starches in fruit, rice, and other grains may be a good starting point. Rather playing guessing games with your health - book a Food Biocompatability Challenge and finally know what foods are right for you.

  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as Buteyko Breathing can assist in activating and toning the vagal nerve. This switches off the "fight or Flight" nervous system response and activates the "Rest and Digest" phase, enhancing digestion. Book a 5 session course with me here to aid relaxation and support digestive health.

While there are many over-the-counter medicated and natural remedies for common digestive problems, there are also associated risks, such as taking proton pump inhibitors or calcium-containing antacids, both designed only for short-term use. For long-term and lasting relief and measurable health outcomes, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced health practitioner. Don't stop until you find the answers you are looking for. Ignoring the problem is not a solution. Help is always at hand !

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