Bloating is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints and a typical symptom that IBS sufferers experience. It can be described as the feeling of increased pressure or gas in the gut, causing it to stretch. As well as feelings of discomfort, it is often a visible protrusion, almost looking like a pregnant belly! How bloating presents in everyone is different, and can depend on your intestine’s sensitivity and how well your body absorbs the gas produced by your unique gut microbiota. Intestine hypersensitivity is a symptom of IBS and may explain why IBS sufferers experience heightened pain associated with bloating.
If you’re someone suffering from IBS, you’re far too familiar with the frustrating symptoms of constant constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and every gastrointestinal (GI) complaint in between. But did you know that inflammation is increasingly recognized within the research community as a possible cause? Although the level of inflammation in the GI tract of a patient with IBS may not be as high as it is in patients with IBD, low-grade inflammation still has the potential to contribute to the intestinal damage in the GI tract that leads to GI motor dysfunction.
The Root Cause
Factors believed to be linked to IBS are; gut sensitivity, altered gut motility, an imbalance between the good and bad gut bacteria, ‘leaky gut’ and infections.. Genetic factors are also thought to play a role, as well as diet sensitivities (e.g. high FODMAPs) and stress exposure. Stress is of particular importance, due to the role of the gut-brain axis in maintaining the pathways of communication and controlling the movement of the gut, which is necessary for healthy digestion.
Some studies suggest that the low-grade inflammation may result from immune system dysfunction, while others indicate a possible role of an imbalanced gut microbiota, contributing to the vulnerability of the intestinal lining caused by free radical species.Whatever the source of the inflammation with someone suffering from IBS, it’s important to consider therapies that combat the oxidative damage induced by the inflammatory processes. One very promising option that I use frequently with my IBS patients, is the most abundant antioxidant in the body, (and one of my favorites) known as glutathione!
The most important thing to do is to get a correct diagnosis. This is important not only to allow symptoms to be managed and improve quality of life, but also to rule out other conditions that share similar symptoms like Coeliac Disease or Endometriosis. Diagnosis is made using the Rome IV criteria, which is a symptom-based classification system that assesses ‘chronic symptoms’ – symptoms that have been present at least one day a week for at least six months.
Glutathione is an extremely powerful antioxidant which protects tissues from the inflammation that would otherwise result from their exposure to damaging free radicals, which can trigger inflammation. If inflammation is involved in either IBS or IBD, consider supplementing glutathione daily and if you’re experiencing regular bouts of IBS/IBD receiving glutathione via an IV, should be a serious consideration. But it doesn’t stop with just glutathione. Researchers have also found that other natural antioxidants, such as dietary polyphenols including quercetin and curcumin, can reduce inflammation and combat GI symptoms as well! Keep in mind that glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant in the body, so directly giving your body glutathione orally on a daily basis and frequently via an IV, may prove to be more powerful!
If you’re bloating is out of control, then consider my top tips to beat the bloat:
*Limit your intake of high FODMAP foods, in particular, foods high in fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides. Some foods I suggest you reduce are onion, garlic, wheat, legumes, pistachios and cashews. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
*Aim to have regular meal times.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
*Chew your food well and eat slowly and consider starting a digestive enzyme.
If you have IBS, know that you can confidently manage your symptoms and live a normal life.