Stomach aches, swollen abdomen, feeling of heaviness, gas... They are commonly called "bloating".
These can manifest themselves in different ways, each more pleasing than the other, and have a real impact on daily life.
How to explain that some of us are more affected than others?
What happens in our intestines?
Is the content of our plates the only culprit?
Read alsoWhat to eat when you have a stomach ache?
Not that easy.
A first information is to know, according to Martine Cotinat, gastroenterologist (1): "Bloating results from a bad fermentation of gases present in the intestines".
And this poor fermentation itself comes from an imbalance in our microbiota.
“The latter is made up of bacteria that control transit, continues Lætitia Proust-Millon, dietitian nutritionist.
Ideally, it is balanced with good and bad bacteria.
But when the bad ones are more numerous, an imbalance of the digestive system is created, causing this bad fermentation.
In video, the keys to taking care of your intestine
Leeks, mushrooms, sweeteners
In some organisms, foods called FODMAPs (the acronym for “Fermentable by colonic bacteria Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols”) can cause bloating.
Leeks, mushrooms, apples, cherries, peaches, pears... the list is (very) long.
“When we eat them in excess, they are sometimes poorly absorbed by the body.
They then pass into the large intestine or colon and ferment, creating bloating”, comments Martine Cotinat.
Of course, food intolerances, such as gluten, lactose, fructose, or sweeteners can also cause bloating.
During meals, the time taken to eat also plays an essential role in digestive well-being.
“When you swallow food too quickly, it will be less well digested, which creates too much gas production,” concludes the gastroenterologist.
Constipation can also cause discomfort.
“If we do not evacuate the stools well and completely, the circulation of gases slows down, they increase in volume and create bloating”, specifies Dr. Martine Cotinat.
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Poor functioning of the abdominal muscles
Apart from the contents of the plate, the culprit can also be found on the side of the abdominal muscles, and more precisely on the side of their functioning.
Martine Cotinat explains: “Normally, when the volume of gases increases, a reflex mechanism is set up to improve their circulation: the stomach contracts and the diaphragm relaxes.
In some, this mechanism does not trigger (without us being able to explain it), which creates gases”.
The intestine is lined with nerve cells.
Under the influence of stress, it is then easily disturbed.
“Stress also produces two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which will have an influence on the microbiota.
For example, cortisol will promote sugar cravings and water retention, which will then disrupt digestion and create bloating,” adds nutritionist dietician Lætitia Proust-Millon.
Stress has an influence on the microbiota
Lætitia Proust-Millon, nutritionist dietitian
Bloating can also be due to irritable bowel syndrome.
"Here, there is irritation of the intestines which leads to inflammation, which upsets our intestinal flora, and thus disturbs digestion", explains dietitian nutritionist Lætitia Proust-Millon.
Solutions to end bloating
To prevent inconvenience, a first rule must be respected: ensure that you have the most balanced diet possible.
“It must be as natural and raw as possible.
Avoid ultra-processed products, additives, too much sugar and bad fats (refined, cooked, etc.).
All of this can be harmful and disrupt the system,” explains Lætitia Proust-Millon.
Logically, we can also simply avoid ingesting foods that cause us bloating.
In addition to this, you can consume probiotics, "strains of positive bacteria that help rebalance the intestinal flora", underlines the nutritionist dietician.
These are present in fermented foods such as yogurt or sauerkraut but can also be consumed as a cure, in the form of tablets or capsules, to be found in pharmacies or organic stores.
"Taking coal or clay, for example, is very effective in absorbing gas in the intestines," advises Martine Cotinat.
Always ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
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Sports and hypnosis
Of course, if you are subject to stress, you should try to work on this issue, with sport or even breathing techniques.
Meditation, hypnosis, can also be of great help.
Finally, if the bloating is too frequent and handicaps, it is advisable to consult “a specialist who will look for the bacteria that are the sources of the problems and will make a diagnosis, underlines Lætitia Proust-Millon.
He can then offer appropriate treatment, such as antibiotic therapy to correct transit disorders.
(1)Martine Cotinat is a gastroenterologist and author of
I rebalance my microbiota - Fermented foods, probiotics, chrononutrition
, Edition Thierry Souccar, 95 pages, €12.90.
(2) Lætitia Proust-Millon is a dietitian nutritionist and author of
Le grand livre de l'alimentation anti-inflammatory
, Éditions Leduc, 378 pages, €18.