Posted by Joe Downer | | Posted
A buildup of gas in the stomach and intestines is known as abdominal bloating or distension. Bloating episodes can affect the pancreas, liver, spleen and kidneys, thereby impacting the digestive processes.
Low stomach acid and/or stomach enzymes are a common cause. Either condition impairs the digestion of proteins, with the subsequent slowing of protein movement out of the stomach into the intestines.
Undigested protein reaching the intestines undergoes putrefaction, which produces the abdominal bloating. Also produced are toxic end products, which can cause constipation, and histamines, which can cause hives and other allergic reactions.
Bloating often is caused by stress, smoking, or eating high-fat foods in excess. Change in habit or lifestyle will directly eliminate the distress here.
Other causes include emotional upsets, overeating in general, and various pathogens.
Temporary bloating can be caused by swallowing air when eating or drinking, or by excessive gas produced by a faulty digestive process (especially for meats and other proteins). In such cases the excess gas may slowly dissipate naturally or may be expelled as flatulence or belching.
More serious factors leading to longer-term distress are gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or weight gain. Abdominal bloating also can be a symptom of a tumor or ovarian cancer.
Treating Abdominal Bloating
When abdominal bloating is a temporary condition, the usual treatment consists of taking an over the counter preparation.
Medications containing simethicone (an anti-foaming agent) or charcoal tablets can reduce bloating, discomfort or pain caused by excessive gas.
Antacids often are taken to clear up the feeling of “indigestion” but this not only often does nothing to reduce the discomfort, it can aggravate the condition by slowing the digestive process even further.
Avoiding sugar and sorbitol, and eliminating gas producing foods such as dairy products, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage, beans, and lentils is an obvious move to avoid abdominal bloating.
How Acupuncture Helps Abdominal Bloating
Acupuncture acts to balance and revive healthy organ function, thereby improving the overall digestive process. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, acupuncture also can directly reduce bloating.
As well as correcting common chronic bloating, acupuncture is an ideal partner with conventional treatments for the more serious conditions causing abdominal bloating.