This is probably the leading cause of bloating. Gas builds up in the stomach and intestines leading to bloating, mild to even quite severe pain, excessive burping, flatulence and sometimes an urgent feeling of needing a bowel movement. The most common cause are foods like cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
Other common causes of gas build up can be indigestion, constipation, a stomach infection, a disturbance within the gut bacteria populations that live in the gut or conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Normally gas goes away by itself after a few hours but for a quicker resolution or if you often experience excessive gas, bloating and cramping, A.Vogel’s Gastronol tablets can be very helpful.
Indigestion is generally caused by eating - too much, too fast or certain kinds of foods. Aside from stomach bloating and cramping, indigestion is often accompanied by heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest and oesophagus that’s worse when bending or lying down. Wearing tight clothes or belts can also trigger indigestion and heartburn.
Common food triggers are fatty foods and meat, red wine, black pepper, garlic, raw onions, coffee and caffeinated drinks, tomatoes and, surprisingly, chocolate and peppermint. Like gas, a few hours is generally all it takes for the discomfort, bloating and cramping to resolve, but since many of us experience indigestion after dinner, there are some very effective fast-acting natural remedies that can save us the lost sleep and hours of lying awake in pain. Try A.Vogel’s Multiforce Alkaline Powder (to relieve the acidity causing the heartburn), Boldocynara (to address the indigestion) and Gastronol to relieve the bloating and cramping.
Our guts are home to billions of gut bacteria which are essential to our health. They help us digest food, play a role in immune health and also protect us from invading pathogens. Often, due to our diets (too high in sugar and refined and processed foods), a bout of gastroenteritis, or use of medications like antibiotics, these healthy gut bacteria populations become disrupted resulting in an increase in harmful bacteria within the gut, one of the major causes of a condition known as irritable syndrome or IBS.
IBS is estimated to affect one in every five people, and more women than men. Common symptoms are bloating and cramping, flatulence, constipation and/or diarrhoea. While not life-threatening, IBS is uncomfortable, unpredictable and embarrassing and the condition is often present for a long time, even years.
Many people can control their symptoms through watching their diet and avoiding foods that trigger outbreaks, lifestyle changes like relaxation techniques, meditation and exercise, and managing their stress levels.
While probiotics are often touted as the solution to IBS, fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut can often be far more effective. The reason is they’re prebiotics that contain L+ lactic acid, which is food for good gut bacteria. Once they digest this L+, the gut bacteria release a substance called butyrate which has numerous gut health benefits, including reducing the frequency and severity of the common IBS symptoms.
If a daily spoonful of sauerkraut isn’t too appealing to you, A.Vogel’s digestive tonic Molkosan might be more convenient and palatable. Molkosan contains the highest amounts of L+ lactic acid available. Used daily this tonic can quickly curb your IBS and used longterm, it will support healthy gut bacteria and digestion.
Another frequent cause of bloating that many people overlook, is constipation. Constipation is difficulty having a bowel movement or infrequent bowel movements. You should be having a bowel movement at least once a day. Yet many people only visit the bathroom every couple of days, some only once a week which can have some serious repercussions on your health.
When stool builds up in the large intestine, it can cause bloating. Also gas can build up behind the stool, increasing the bloating and cramping.
Common causes of constipation are not drinking enough water each day, not having enough fibre in your diet, being inactive, certain gut conditions (like IBS in point 3), pregnancy or a magnesium deficiency (magnesium helps increase the amount of water in your bowels helping to promote easy bowel movements) and some medicines.
While constipation usually resolves itself in a few days and certainly adapting your water and diet habits can help greatly, for some a little extra ‘kickstart’ is required to get things moving again. A.Vogel’s Linoforce is a natural laxative that helps address occasional constipation. Many people also find a daily dose of Multiforce Alkaline Powder, thanks to its magnesium citrate content, helps to keep them regular.
5. Food intolerances
Lactose and gluten intolerances are increasing globally, and so are their symptoms which include stomach bloating, pain and diarrhoea. People who are gluten intolerant often manage it by reducing the amount of gluten-containing foods they eat, like pasta, breads and moving to gluten-free foods.
Lactose is a sugar in milk, cheese and yoghurts that’s broken down by lactase, an enzyme produced in the gut. If you don’t have enough lactase, you can become lactose intolerant. (Note: An intolerance is not an allergy. A food allergy causes an immune system response that affects numerous organs and can be severe or life-threatening. Food intolerances are less serious and generally result only in digestive symptoms.)
A healthy gut bacteria composition and gut barrier (the filter which keeps unwanted substances out of your body) help to prevent and deal with food intolerances. Molkosan containing L+ Lactic acid supports these as does the butyrate it helps to form in your gut. This makes Molkosan very helpful for people who are lactose intolerant.
6. And lastly, just for the ladies - hormones
Due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, women can often experience bloating, cramping and abdominal pain just before and during their periods. Avoiding salt, coffee and alcohol, drinking lots of water and exercising in the days before your period can go a long way in helping to prevent this.
Stomach bloating and cramping is something we all experience from time to time (or maybe more often than we’d like in the case of IBS or premenstrual bloating). In most cases its nothing to worry about if you know it is linked to eating and drinking or a certain time of the month, and it resolves itself in a few days. And as outlined here, most causes can be easily addressed and resolved with some lifestyle changes and natural products.
If you’re unsure, always consult your doctor, especially if other symptoms are present, like vomiting that continues longer than 24 hours, blood in your stool or fever.