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Naturopath Lyn Craven suggests bloating is so common we
rarely take it seriously but it can lead to other disorders.
• Menstruation – some women also feel
bloated prior to their menstrual cycle. This
is often hormonally related and means the
hormonal system is out of balance. Fluid
retention can occur, or congestion of blood
flow to the uterus often described as stagnant
Chi energy. Hormonal activity or imbalance
can a ffect the gastro intestinal function.
Ever yone’s sensitivity and entire metabolism
will var y and some people may find they
ca n tolerate certain things mentioned here
without distress – for a while – but eventually
problems may arise if this becomes a regular
Obviously all the above exa mples of
bloating would need to be treated differently.
All of them can be resolved; some are easier
to treat than others but natural remedies
and perhaps a change in diet or lifestyle
choices would be necessary. Pharmaceutical
remedies that may be prescribed often create
va rious side effects requiring additional
drugs to help with the new set of symptoms.
Some of these antacids contain aluminum
and other unpleasant chemicals, which only
contribute to further gut derangement.
What to do
• Consider food allergy testing to see what
you may be reacting to.
• Check hormonal levels if you have cyclic
bloating for oestrogen, progesterone, LH
• Stool test – usua lly conducted by a
functional lab at your cost. A kit will be
sent out to you.
• Practise yoga, tai chi and meditation to
rela x the mind a nd body, helping with
underlying anxieties, mood swings and
a ny sleep problems
• See a naturopath who can formulate the
correct remedies to help improve gut
a nd bowel function, including healing
of mucous membranes. You will also
need the appropriate live bacteria. Many
different formulas have been created to
cater for pa rticular states of dysbiosis and
• You may require anti parasite treatments
stool tests ca n a scertain if parasites are
present. Some parasites live in the body for
decades feeding off you and breeding like
crazy. You may kill off the adult parasites
but there are often hundreds of eggs that
a re likely to hatch so remedies must be
taken consistently over a period of time.
They ca n contribute to many intestinal
problems causing bloating and sometimes
colicky pain a nd fatigue.
Once the relevant tests have been performed
offering a clearer picture of what is causing
the bloating, the right protocol can then be
put in place with natural remedies to help you
eliminate the bloating. It may mean that you
have to omit one or more of your favourite
foods! Often the food we crave and eat the
most is the major contributor to our problem.
If you feel you don’t drink enough water –
like most people – then increase consumption
to at least 1.5 litres a day. In hotter weather you
may need up to 2 litres. Room temperature is
good, never drink cold drinks.
Any woma n with hormonal imbala nce
can be helped greatly with appropriate herbs
a nd homoeopathics; often the pituitary
is slightly out of sync and requires “fine
tuning” to establish a state of equilibrium
again. Adrenals may also be affected which,
in turn, can contribute to fluid imbala nce –
remember the adrenals sit just above your
kidneys. Chronic stress can be a trigger.
Include good quality oils in your diet
such as olive oil, fla xseed oil, coconut oil and
If you realise your bloating is due to
stubborn bowel f unction, please do not use
laxatives, even if natural, as constipation
can occur for many reasons. To use laxatives
on an uptight stressed colon will only
irritate the mucous membranes f urther;
this in turn will make your belly bloat out
with irritation. Moisturising herbs need
to be included such as slippery elm and
fla xseed meal. Psyllium can make bloating
worse in ma ny people. Rela xant herbs
need to be included if it is stress-related.
If any symptoms persist see a qualified
Naturopath as there are so many herbs that
could be selected for any GIT problem.
Spices can be helpful when digestive
bloating occurs, especially if there is a lot of
trapped air, but in moderation. I find they
can be ea sily combined with herbal remedies
a nd beverages, a long with foods you cook.
A Soothing Bath
If constipation is the cause and you know
it is triggered by stress, a hot Epsom salt
bath at night with about 4-5 drops of
vetiver essential oil and a ha ndful of rock
salt can help rela x the viscera (intestinal
organs). Epsom salts are full of magnesium
a nd have a slight la xative effect yet are not
cathartic unlike taking them orally which
wa s prescribed decades ago. Epsom salts are
too harsh to take orally. The bath is deeply
rela xing and some people may even find
elimination occurs the next day and the
tempora ry bloating subsides. Make sure you
do a spot test with Vetiver on the wrist first
just to make sure you will not have a skin
reaction. Again, it really depends on the type
of colonic function you have, a nd why you
are constipated. This is more suitable for a n
uptight or spastic colon or for those with a
very na rrow colon.
Next month we’ll look at other holistic
approaches to eliminating bloating.
Sydney-based Lyn Craven is a practitioner
of naturopathy, nutrition, medical herbalism,
Bowen therapy, Reiki energy healing, meditation,
and is a corporate health presenter/consultant
with 18 years experience in natural therapies.
Disclaimer: Information presented in this column
is not intended as medical advice but to advance
the understanding of holistic nutrition and
lifestyle and its place in a balanced approach to
health. Readers are encouraged to be guided by
their own healthcare professionals.
‘Often the food we crave
and eat the most is the major
contributor to our problem.’
‘Room temperature is good,
never drink cold drinks.’
What is bloating?
unexpected gases are produced as a result of
incomplete digestion or when you are not
able to fully digest particula r foods (food
intolerance). Bloating also occurs when
you eat on the run, gulping food and drink
down. It can occur when you are mentally
stressed, experiencing anxiety or generally
uptight for any manner of stressf ul rea sons,
including inadequate sleep. A ny stress
that is affecting the gastrointestinal tract
can contribute to bloating and it can be a
painful distressing symptom that happens
after almost any meal.
What triggers bloating?
• Intolera nce to certain foods such as:
Dairy, especially cows; Grains containing
gluten – wheat, r ye, oats, barley etc
• Sensitivity to fructose (from fruit)
• Allergic reaction to yeast a nd all foods and
drinks containing it, including alcohol
• Preser vatives, chemicals a nd colourings
that are added to foods
• Plants from the nightshade fa mily –
tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum, sweet
and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos,
pimentos, paprika and pepinos.
Combining foods that a re not compatible
such as dairy and grains or pasta, or fruits
cooked with animal food. Often creative
recipes are not always conducive to our
digestive system despite high-rating TV
programs illustrating popular cuisines and
elaborate dishes and dressings!
Emotional or mental stress ha s impact
on the entire gastrointestinal f unction.
Common exa mples include:
• Eating when angry, upset, or feeling
anxious and pressured, especially in
the work environment when meeting
deadlines, eating and working at the same
• Rushing through your meal, not chewing
it thoroughly, drinking during eating.
• Drinking or eating cold foods can also
contribute to bloating if cooked food
• Bowel disorders such as ongoing
constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel
disease, colitis, diverticulitis.
• Inadequate digestive enzymes
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