The Misery of Bloating


It’s more than a little depressing when somebody smiles at your stomach and asks when your due date is, and you’re not pregnant. Especially if you’re a guy.

And trying to explain about bloating isn’t much of a comeback, to tell the truth.

These people also don’t understand when you moan about how you can’t believe you ate the whole thing, and you’re sporting a washboard stomach–a lesser-known form of bloating.

Bloating is abdominal discomfort, with or without distention, a polite word for looking like you swallowed a watermelon. Whole.

And odds are excellent you know exactly what I’m talking about and how it feels. I mean, what with nearly 100% of us having experienced it from time to time. Or even all the time.

Details can vary from person to person because we’re all different. What affects you might not be a problem for somebody else, even a twin.

But as you read about things that cause bloating, you’ll probably see yourself.

Some causes of bloating

•    Digestion problems lead this parade. It may be diagnosed under different names, but if you’re rushing to the bathroom on frequent, unexpected occasions, it means the lining of your small intestine is shot and needs your help. Healing the small intestine is a do-it-yourself job because there’s no prescription drug that helps.

•    But there are prescription drugs that not only cause small intestine woes, but make them worse and worse: Antacids. More than 90% of people with heartburn (etc.) symptoms actually have low stomach acid, but the only drugs in medicine’s arsenal treat high stomach acid, so that’s what you get–which makes things worse. Plus, antacids are addictive, so saying adios takes some doing, but to avoid swooping downhill to disaster, you have to do it.

•    Foods our bodies don’t like: Food sensitivities. For instance, I have a mold allergy, so my body gets hissy about fermented foods, mushrooms, grapes, kombucha, etc. Others struggle with lactose, peanuts, pretty much anything.

•    Sugar substitutes, especially sorbitol and Xylitol, cause bloating.

•    Carbonated beverages can cause havoc for many folks.

•    Candida, a mold that lives in all of us, roars out of control and causes all sorts of chaos. Candida is part of life, but  sugar or a heavy carb diet can make it go wild. Also, antibiotics crank up the mess–especially if you take them for very long.

•    Endocrine problems can cause bloating all on their own. For instance,  underperforming adrenal glands make for a perpetually poochy belly. Endometriosis. Thyroid problems. Pituitary problems, including tumors.

•    Swallowing air, perhaps while chewing gum, eating too fast (especially broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower), or eating and talking at the same time. Mouth-breathing can be a problem. Smoking, too.

•    A bloated abdomen that feels like a rock points to liver problems.

•    Intestinal parasites can make a belly bulge, too.

•    Diverticulitis

•    Some medications, such as Phentermine (appetite suppression) or Acarbose (diabetes).

The folks at Brigham and Women’s Hospital assure us that bloating is normal, but “having a perfectly flat stomach all the time isn’t normal.” Sigh.
Bloating’s Close Friend

Oft times, the discomfort of bloating is accompanied by the embarrassment of intestinal gas. Since belching or tooting in public is considered a social no-no, the pain of containment can become physical as well as social.

As you try to figure out how to prevent the bloating, it’s good to know that a heating pad to the abdomen can hurry gas on its way. There may be days when you’ll want to make it a part of preparing for social events; sometimes you really don’t want to leave home with a full tank.

Some Serious Possibilities

•    Stomach cancer in its later stages.

•    Ovarian cancer.

•    Peritonitis, an inflammation caused by bacteria or fungus.

Stomach cancer, ovarian cancer and peritonitis all start with damaged epithelial cells. You may have never heard about epithelial cells, but now you get a chance to fix them! Good nutrition, as discussed in my Moving to Health program, repairs these pesky cells, but it’s not about what you read in magazines, etc.

God is good,

Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette Dowdell defines determination. In a really deep health ditch, with doctors who couldn’t help, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. She never intended to be a health expert, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. You can subscribe to Bette’s free e-mails on how to recognize and solve health problems at


1.    “Principles of Integrative Gastroenterology,”
2.    “Treating the Yeast Syndrome,”
3.    “What Causes Intestinal Gas,”


Bette Dowdell
A drunk driver pretty much destroyed my health a month before my first birthday. Doctors said I was fine--for years. Finally realizing my health was up to me, I started researching. I got out the health ditch I was in, and found my future: Giving people the information they need to understand how to take control of their own health. It's been an amazing journey, and I look forward to all that is yet to come.