Belly Bloat

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Are you bloated? So many say yes. Before going further, let’s make sure we are on the same page. There a several different issues people call bloating. There’s digestive bloating and distention; pressure or discomfort in the abdomen, sometimes with it blowing up. Many use months of pregnancy to describe how much distention is going on. There is hormonal bloating, as many women describe preceding, during or following their menses. This bloating often coincides with changes in digestion—often constipation or loose stools. Some use “bloating” to describe the fact that their whole body has a bit of swelling; the skin just seems puffy. Urinary issues also often create bloating. Chronic bladder issues will appear as lower abdominal bloating and often can influence digestion, generally slowing or hastening the stools. There other forms of “bloating” as well.

The common factor with any form of bloating is inflammation. Bloating, swelling, distention, hormone imbalance; these are all imbalances that either produce or are caused by inflammation. The thing about inflammation is that it makes it really hard, if not impossible, to lose weight when chronically inflamed.

What happens is that if inflamed a few hormones of the body leave the normal homeostasis (balanced level) and try to help heal the issue. The side effect of this in chronic situations is weight gain and swelling. The most common hormone causing this mess is cortisol. Cortisol is one of several dozen hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Many have heard of it with regard to stress. When stressed, especially chronic stress, cortisol levels generally rise, causing swelling, bloating and weight gain as a side effect to attempting to balance the stress. Stress, as we generally think about it, is an emotional state. To your adrenal glands and body, in general, this is only one of three major stresses. We have emotional as well as physical and chemical stresses. An example of a physical stress is a trauma, bad posture, or chronic pain from an injury. Chemical stresses can include poor diet, toxicity or a hormone imbalance. Any of these stresses: physical, chemical or emotional tends to cause rises in cortisol levels. This again usually causes swelling. Bloating and inflammation most often contribute heavily to weight issues. I mention all the different ways to cause cortisol rise because to truly unlock the body’s potential to lose weight and keep it off, the actual cause of our cortisol imbalance must be identified and repaired.

Depending on the source—or, more often, sources—of the cortisol imbalance, many therapies may be used to coax the body to heal its stress. Nutrition, enzymes, acupuncture, detoxification, bodywork, functional medicine techniques, and so many other fantastic modalities exist to help the body heal. The first step is accurate and timely diagnosis to treat the real source of the body’s imbalance.

Source: Dr. David Pollack, of Pollack Wellness Institute (66 Commack Rd., Ste. 204, Commack). For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit

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