With all the gut problems I see, abdominal bloating is the most common.

It’s also the one that often bothers them the most. (I don’t want to downplay the impact of things like accidental bowel leakage, though). It’s incredibly common. Even if people don’t suffer from tummy pain, diarrhoea or constipation, or heartburn, they often do notice abdominal bloating.

Wondering how you would know if you have abdominal bloating?

Then you probably don’t have it. People who have bothersome abdominal bloating tell me things like:

“I look like I’m three months pregnant!” (Which, if you’re not, is abdominal bloating.)

“I struggle to do up my pants at the end of the day.” (Your tummy gets bigger as the day goes on).

“I have to wear pants with an elastic waist.” (And this often makes people feel bad. Abdominal bloating can affect your mood and self-esteem.)

Technically, abdominal bloating is actually called “abdominal distension” in the medical world. Meaning, you can see it, not just feel it. (It’s possible to feel bloated but actually have no change in your stomach size). But who cares what it’s called? If you have it, you know about it, and it bothers you.

So what causes abdominal bloating?

At Equilibria we have a very structured way of figuring this out.

We look at musculoskeletal causes of your abdominal bloating.

This might strike you as strange. But certain physical things can make you look more bloated. Things like poor abdominal muscle tone, abdominal muscle separation (diastasis) and even poor posture.

We look at your gut function.

Obviously! There’s a swathe of digestive problems that cause abdominal bloating. These are things to do with your digestive power, your gut flora, your gut chemical signals (neuroendocrine system) and the health of your gut lining.

We look at your abdominal fat and estimate your visceral fat.

It’s hard for you to tell sometimes how much of your protruding tummy is fat. This can be measured! Not everyone’s idea of fun, but important so we know if that fat-blasting regime you’re doing is just barking up the wrong tree.

The bottom line is, abdominal bloating matters. Your doctor may not care too much (to be fair, they need to focus on more life-threatening issues) but it’s a problem. It can be a sign of a number of conditions (click for more information):

It’s better to think of all of these as processes, not conditions. I treat them based on findings in the individual patient, not in a “textbook” way. They are not simple and straightforward. It’s difficult to figure them out yourself. Sometimes the plethora of information at your fingertips on the Internet makes it worse. Dr Google can lead you on a wild goose chase for years!

For proper evaluation and a solution to your abdominal bloating, make an appointment.