Prior to reaching for that antacid to stop your heartburn, or Gas-X to alleviate your gas and bloating, take a time out for a second and actually think about the repercussions, as you could actually be making matters worse. Can something that stops your discomfort so quickly, end up making matters worse?
The usual digestive relief medications do not target the root cause of the ailment, they only temporarily alleviate the symptoms. An example of this is when we take medications like antacids, they reduce the concentration of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, which can alter the whole environment of the gut. The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms called the "gut microbiota." When their environment is thrown off balance by powerful drugs, it can trigger more afflictions down the line.
Gas and bloating are some of the most common digestive issues that individuals suffer from today. Did you know that between 10 and 30 percent of Americans struggle from these symptoms? That's approximately 97 million people!
So what is the true relief for gas, bloating, and other digestive concerns that don't have the same long-term effects of using different over-the-counter medications? You need to consider that it may be the food you are consuming that is contributing to the issue. And, you need to start addressing the source, rather than masking the symptoms. The simple solution is in restoring balance to the gut for gas and bloating relief.
Bloating occurs when gas builds up in the digestive system-- this can cause great pain and discomfort. Laxatives provide a quick, but short-lived remedy for bloating by causing a bowel movement. Unfortunately, this does not prevent bloating the next time you reach for gas-triggering food.
Sometimes people know which food triggers their bloating, and try to avoid them, but for others it is a little more complex. Figuring out which food causes your stomach problems is a tedious process. Not to mention, even if you have identified a food or two that causes bloating, this does not indicate you've remedied the underlying gut issue.
This is mainly because gas and bloating can occur when there is gut dysbiosis. Dysbiosis occurs when there is interruption or imbalance in the environment of microorganisms living in your gut. When the environment of the gut changes, the levels of microbial by-products such as methane and hydrogen can increase, which can be the true source of your digestive issues.
Naughty Methane Producers
- Methane causes problems due to the fact that it can slow your gastrointestinal system down. Minimized motility of the whole system, can result in constipation, stomach cramping, and inflammation.
- There may be ancient bacterial family members called archaea residing in your gut. Some of these are methanogens, which means that they are capable of producing methane in the gut if they exist and are active.
- Having some archaea populating your digestive system may be an advantage, but it depends on the rest of your microbial ecosystem. In some cases, germs which include archaea can come from the large intestine to the small intestine where it doesn't exactly belong. This may contribute to small digestive tract bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which can provide an unpleasant experience of bloating and gas
- Up until recently, SIBO was a misconstrued condition, which left lots of those who suffered without any proper treatment. Today, the primary treatment for SIBO is an antibiotic called rifaximin, which targets the germs in the small intestine.
- Sometimes we have to take antibiotics, but the truth is that they can interfere with the balance of the gut's ecosystem, and can potentially trigger brand-new digestive issues.
After taking antibiotics, it is important to work on restoring balance to your gut as best as possible. Antibiotics cause extreme changes to the gut microbiota, that future treatments might look at new methods to treat underlying intestinal issues without antibiotics.
* DISCLAIMER: The information in our articles are for academic purposes only.
Why Probiotics Aren't Always Good for Gas and Bloating:
Digestive concerns are typically successfully treated with over-the-counter supplements like probiotics. Probiotics have an excellent track record as an alternative to severe pharmaceuticals and other drugs for problems like gas and bloating. For some individuals, symptoms do not improve, and often they worsen with probiotics.
Everybody is unique, and the underlying cause for gas and bloating may be different for every individual, which warrants a more specific intervention. Using probiotics without comprehending what is actually going on in the gut is similar to blindfolding yourself and reaching for any supplement on the counter.
Probiotics are produced with many different bacterial strains that have a particular function in the microbiota. With zero insight into your gut, your response may tell you if your probiotics are assisting or hurting. People have reported that probiotics actually add to their bloating, which can be extremely frustrating.
While there is evidence that improving microbiome balance can be achieved through using probiotics, in some cases using probiotic supplements for gas and bloating may not be the best answer.
When trying to discover true digestive relief, it is best to determine the underlying cause to target the root of the issue. It’s important to know what's going on in our own gut microbiomes so we can take proper measures to better our gut health, and hopefully find relief for our troublesome bellies.
Real Digestive Relief Begins with a Balanced Gut Microbiome
If you want real relief to gastrointestinal issues, you should try to work on restoring balance to the gut microbiota.
How do you do this you may ask? Everyone's gut microbiota is distinct to them, therefore, it is up to you to discover precisely what works best for you! Nevertheless, here are a couple of suggestions that you should take note of.
- Reduce stress in your life - Gut-brain connection is a phenomenon that means stress and anxiety can lead to digestive issues. To decrease stress levels, activities like meditation and yoga are great start. Getting rid of toxicity whether it’s a job or people, is another bigger step you should take for overall health.
- Consume less sugar - Sugar feeds a lot of the harmful germs, they absolutely love it and thrive off of it. When you consume less sugar, you're starving the harmful germs and giving them less energy to trigger your problem.
- Take a gut microbiota test to check your gut - Taking a gut microbiota test to find food that’s best for your gut microbiota. There are fantastic health and wellness tools for discovering your ideal diet plan. You just have to do your research and find the best match for you.
- Exercise (but not too much) - Exercise is beneficial for your gut microbiota, however not if you're working out too much. Overexertion is like stress in the body and can add to microbial imbalance.