Thursday, 1 November 2012

Why Swollen Stomach Causes Unnecessary Pain

Abdominal bloating or swollen stomach is a very common digestive complaint that many people have. The most common reason that causes bloating is too much gas.

All of us experience gas because it’s a natural by-product of the digestive system. We often get it by breathing in oxygen through the mouth or nose and we expel this air by burbing.

 The other gas is caused by the intestinal bacteria that break down the food we eat. This gas is expelled through the anus.

The gas contained in our stomachs can be a mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. These gases or odourless, however bacteria can also produce methane which produces a strong sulphur unpleasant smell.

Gas is a sign that food is not being digested properly. Undigested food will eventually begin to ferment and rot as it slowly moves through the large intestines.

The fermentation of undigested food matter creates a build up of gases as bacteria have to work very hard to try and break it down. Undigested food in the gut is often caused by a combination of food not being chewed properly or a lack of digestive enzymes.

You’re Chewing Habits

Most people think their digestion of food begins in the stomach and that’s why they give little thought to chewing their food properly.

The fact is, digestion begins in the mouth. The mouth contains glands that secrete enzymes into the saliva as you begin to chew your food. These enzymes begin the process of breaking down carbohydrates in preparation for the final digestion in the lower digestive tract.

Unfortunately, very few people chew their foods thoroughly. Busy lifestyles means that people rush their meals or eat when they are stressed out. These eating habits only lead to poor digestion and over time results in indigestion and swollen stomach caused by bloating and gas.

Chewing your food thoroughly requires that you chew at least 30 to 50 times until the food has reached a paste-like consistency and then you swallow. If more people followed this simple rule many of the digestive disorders that afflict people in the western world would decrease dramatically.

A Lack Of Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are a vital component of a healthy digestive system. Without them  you would not be able to digest and absorb nutrients or would you be able to function effectively.

Unfortunately, the body’s ability to produce these essential digestive enzymes declines as we get older. A lack of enzymes eventually leads to a compromised digestive system. Undigested food slows down the digestive system causing the build up of gas, constipation and diarrhea.

A lack of enzymes can also mean malabsorption where the body is not able to absorb enough nutrients from your diet. Over time this can weaken the immune system and increase the rate of aging.

To overcome this problem you can either take digestive enzyme supplements or eat more fresh fruits and raw vegetables as these contain a rich source of natural enzymes that will aid your digestion.

Other Causes

In addition, to gas there are other causes of swollen stomach. These can be chronic inflammatory diseases such as Celiac Disease or common disorders such as IBS or even food intolerances.

Photo courtesy of SuperFantastic

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