Just a Little Bloated?
David Pollack, DC, says he regularly hears his patients talk about feeling bloated. “It’s a very common health complaint,” he affirms. “Some are completely frustrated with it. Others dismiss the mild bloating they have as no big deal.”
However, Pollack asserts that bloating is a big deal. “Whatever the reason for the bloating, it’s an indicator that their function is compromised,” he explains. “If they’re bloated, they’re inflamed. And we know that inflammation is the root cause of most health problems and diseases.”
According to Pollack, most bloating is rooted in our digestion, but in some cases, hormonal imbalance is the cause. “These two categories actually comprise dozens of potential functional imbalances,” he says.
Virtually any part of our digestive tract can cause bloating. “The stomach lining may be compromised from stress or poor diet. The gallbladder could have diminished output due to bile that’s become thick and sludge-like; this sludge can back up into the pancreatic duct and lower pancreatic enzyme output. The small intestine may have SIBO—which is small intestine bacterial overgrowth—or some excess fungal growth, such as candida.”
Since approximately 70 percent of immune-system and neurotransmitter production occurs in the small intestine, any imbalance in those functions can cause bloating. “In regard to the large intestine, any constipation, loose stools or other abnormality may cause bloating as well,” says Pollack.
From a non-digestive perspective, many types of hormone imbalance can cause bloating. That includes thyroid imbalance; both hypo- and hyperthyroid can affect digestive function. “The adrenal system, which manages our steroid hormones, such as cortisol and the precursors to testosterone and estrogen, can have a massive impact on bloating and digestion,” Pollack explains. “Certainly, women already know their reproductive hormones have a massive effect on digestion and bloating, but men, too, are affected by gonadal hormone balance.”
There are many other associations between physiological function—both digestive and non-digestive—and bloating. “In all cases, the bloating can be improved, and often it can be eliminated,” assures Pollack. “Generally, a combination approach of functional medicine techniques, such as enzyme and herbal care, along with dietary modification, acupuncture and even bodywork can help alleviate and many times resolve these health issues, whether they are subtle or extreme.”
Dr. David L. Pollack is the founder of Pollack Wellness Institute, located at 66 Commack Rd., #204, Commack, NY. For appointments or information, call 631-462-0801, email [email protected] or visit PollackWellness.com.