One of the most common complaints seen in my medical practice is stomach bloating. This issue leaves patients feeling uncomfortable, gassy, and just plain “blah.” The second most common complaint we hear from our patients is about weight gain.
What causes these issues and how do we avoid them?
Most common causes of bloating and weight gain:
· Stress. Stress can cause bloating and weight gain. While there are a number of possible reasons for this phenomenon, the most likely culprits are poor eating habits and an excess of hormones necessary to combat stress.
· Alcohol consumption. Alcohol is not necessarily bad, however, certain types of alcohol may cause more bloating than others. Beer is often one of the worst offenders for bloating. Beer is not only carbonated but it’s made with wheat which is often treated with pesticides that can cause bloating. Consuming one to two glasses of red or white wine a night may be helpful in reducing bloating, unless you find it causes insomnia. If you are going to drink liquor, and want to avoid bloating, try Tito’s vodka or an Anejo tequila. These are the purest alcoholic beverages and probably the least likely to cause problems with your digestive system. Additionally, avoid drinks that use mixers, like margaritas and daiquiris. Very often it’s the mixers and increased levels of sugar that are the real culprits for bloating and weight gain.
· Birth control. Birth control pills and IUDs that use hormones are often a hidden reason for bloating and weight gain. If that is the case for you, talk to your gynecologist about other methods of birth control without hormones.
· Antibiotics. Essential for treating bacterial infections, these meds can also kill the good bacteria in your gut, leading to gastrointestinal issues like bloating. They also throw off the health of the intestinal wall which can make the area more porous, increasing absorption of not only sugars but also hormones, toxins and pesticides.
· Thyroid issues. Hypothyroidism or low thyroid is when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones help your body use energy properly. When there’s not enough thyroid hormone, your body’s processes can slow down. This includes metabolism so you don’t burn as many calories as someone with a healthy thyroid. This slowing of the metabolism can also affect the intestinal bacteria and can lead to SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, associated with bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort.
· Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. This issue occurs when the brain and the ovaries are miscommunicating. It is typically seen in women before the age of 30. It is relatively easy to diagnose with blood tests and an ultrasound. If you think you may have PCOS, make an appointment with a gynecologist who specializes in hormones to help diagnose and manage this medical situation.
Solutions for bloating and weight gain:
If you are experiencing consistent bloating and/or unexplained weight gain, your first line of defense is to schedule an appointment with a trusted physician.
The doctor is likely to run labs including a full thyroid panel and check your estradiol, testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels.
A six-day detox diet may be recommended by your physician. This will help get rid of the toxins in your system and improve the health of your intestinal wall, crucial to lowering the absorption of harmful hormones as a result of eating meat and dairy products. The detox diet can help improve energy, start a successful weight loss program and help decrease bloating.
Additional homeopathic options for getting your weight and bloating in check include:
· Taking a vitamin D-3 supplement at night. This is known to help lower inflammation associated with bloating and can help with sleep issues.
· Adding a probiotic to your daily routine to help with healthy bacteria necessary to break down foods and toxins and lower the risk of intestinal wall irritation.
· Including turmeric in your diet. Curcumin has been shown to be one of several factors critical to maintaining the gut wall as a barrier to fat, sugar and toxin absorption.
· Take a multi-vitamin to ensure you are getting the daily recommended dose of required vitamins and minerals for a healthy body.
Some other easy and all-natural solutions to remedy bloating and weight gain are to get more rest, take a bioidentical progesterone supplement and quality CBD dosage. For more information about any of these suggestions contact your doctor.
Dr. Webb is one of Arizona’s most recognized doctors in women’s health and intimate wellness including hormone replacement and incontinence. He is passionate about helping women of all ages with painful and heavy periods as well as pelvic problems like endometriosis, ovarian cysts and difficulty becoming pregnant. He is also an expert in the area of bioidentical hormones, with more than 30 years of experience, and cosmetic gynecology, helping the vagina and labia look and function better.
For more information about Dr. Webb, or to schedule an appointment, contact him at Vitality MDs, 8415 N. Pima Rd., Suite 210, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 (480) 210-9611 or Inside Out Aesthetics, 10900 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 608, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 at (480) 307-9901.