ADVERTISING: Advertorial — HOLLY CARLING: Full of hot air: Belching and bloating

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Way too commonly people are full of hot air. That air may come out your mouth in the way of belching or burping, or out your back end as gas or flatulence (and a few other nicknames). Although a minor amount of gas is normal, there comes a time when the excess build-up is not only uncomfortable, but an indication that something is wrong in your digestive tract.

Constipation is a common cause of gas. Gas builds up (for other reasons, which we’ll discuss) and the packed stool makes it difficult for the gas to pass. This causes more and more gas to accumulate, leading to bloating. When the gas pressure builds up enough and finally slips by the compacted stools, the results can be embarrassing. Emptying your bowels is a quick remedy.

Gas primarily is caused from incomplete digestion. Insufficient enzymes in your stomach results in food that ferments (or rots) in your stomach, releasing organic acids (which is where heart burn comes from) and gas — which puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, eventually resulting in reflux. Small amounts here and there are not a big deal, but persistent poor digestion can lead to disease processes.

The food that you eat makes a big difference. Broccoli, cauliflower, beans, onions and dairy products have the worst reputation for causing gas. Difficult for many to digest, the addition of enzymes to the meal that you know for sure will cause gas is a simple remedy. Some people will get gassy if the food is raw, but not from cooked foods. Beans soaked overnight or sprouted (better yet) help in avoiding gas and bloating.

Then there are food sensitivities. Gluten is one of the biggest, followed by dairy products. Starchy foods in general, such as corn and potatoes, are common triggers. High fiber foods, dehydrated fruits (including raisins), and foods flavored with fructose or artificial sweeteners are high-probability gas producers.

Drinking carbonated beverages, particularly sodas, will invariably cause gas. Also, you can swallow too much air. This is usually because you are gulping your food or drink because of eating too fast or on the run, ingesting air along the way.

Another cause is an imbalance in the gut flora. Probiotics and cultured foods can help with this. Speaking of flora imbalance, antibiotics, which are the biggest contributors to an imbalance in gut flora, can cause excess gas. Statins, drugs used to reduce cholesterol levels, is another medication that can have a side effect of gas and bloating. Other medications can as well.

So, whichever orifice it departs from– and whatever the cause — gas and bloating are not just offensive and embarrassing, it can be uncomfortable and a red flag from the body that something is wrong within the digestive system. So if you are full of hot air, it’s time to do something about it!

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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.

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