Why are you Bloated?

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Ep. 50 The surprising cause of your persistent bloat and how to banish it

Have you ever wondered what you need to do to actually improve your bloating? In this expert interview, Dr. Heather Finley and Dr. Jacobi discuss the common causes of bloating, the remedies to support bloating and what action steps you can take to improve your bloating. They are also discussing the link between SIBO and bloating and evidence based natural remedies that can improve bloating. If you’re looking to improve your bloating, this episode is for you.


Key Moments: 

  • Beating bloating and digestive issues [0:06]
  • Causes of bloating in holistic practice [5:03] 
  • Managing bloating through dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and supplements [9:55]
  • Digestion, bloating, and food reactions [16:52]
  • Digestive health and motility [23:20] 
  • SIBO, bloating, and binder supplements [32:23] 
  • Beating bloat and SIBO with natural remedies [40:37]


Next Steps: 

Connect with Dr. Heather Finley

Connect Dr. Jacobi: 


Resources from this episode: 




Dr. Heather Finley and Dr. Nirala Jacobi

Dr. Heather Finley 00:02

There could be hundreds of causes of bloating, but the things that I see the most would be motility issues. You know, SIBO, like you mentioned as well, stress being a cause because it shuts down the entire digestive process. Digestive insufficiencies, whether that’s deficiencies in enzymes or bile or there, we could go down a whole rabbit hole there. dysbiosis and the large intestine, hypothyroidism, there’s so many causes, but those would probably be the top ones that I see. Hey, welcome to the love your gut podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found my own relief from my own gut health issues. I dedicated my life to getting to the bottom of my own gut issues, so I can help women just like you transform theirs. Now I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformational changes. As a result you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your guts. So it loves you back right here on this podcast.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 01:23

Welcome to another episode of the SIBO Doctor podcast. I’m your host, Dr. neurologia. Coby and I’m really excited today to talk to Dr. Heather Heather Finley, Dr. Heather has a doctorate in clinical nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health. She’s a registered dietitian who helps people struggling with bloating, constipation and IBS find relief from their symptoms and feel excited about food again, Heather’s struggled with her own digestive issues for nearly 20 years and understands firsthand the impact that nutrition lifestyle and mindset have on digestive health. Just a really warm welcome to you, Dr. Heather.


Dr. Heather Finley 02:01

Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. Great.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 02:05

So I think everyone listening to this podcast, will be excited about the topic of how to beat a bloat flare up. But before we dive into this topic, can you just give me a bit more information and our listeners a bit more information about this interesting path that led you to become a doctor of Clinical Nutrition?


Dr. Heather Finley 02:30

Well, I’ll make a long story short by saying that I always tell people I was born constipated. I came out of the womb constipated and really lived with digestive issues ever since I can remember. And you know, typical story that you hear I went to countless doctors tried hundreds of things, you know, did every possible elimination diet that you can think of all the supplements all the things and found myself still wondering why am I bloated? Even went to college to study nutrition. Both because I was an athlete growing up, I was a collegiate swimmer. And so selfishly, I studied nutrition, partially because I wanted to know what I needed to eat to swim as fast as I could, but also because I wanted to figure out my own digestive issues. And to be honest, I graduated college and was still kind of scratching my head, like, why can’t I figure out my own symptoms. I remember in my first job as a dietician, I was working at a hospital, and I was so miserable I was I had the worst flare in my symptoms and I’ve ever had, it was also at a time in my life where there was a lot of things going on. My dad was very ill with colon cancer, actually. And so that was actually when the light bulbs started going off. Like maybe there’s something else that affects digestion besides just food, and realized the deep connection that the entire body had. And specifically also stress, trauma, grief, etc. And then when I went to my doctorate program, it was like this whole new world opened up. Finally, I understood health and nutrition from a completely different perspective than I had been taught previously, I realized that instead of seeing my symptoms as separate issues, so the energy issues, the gut issues, the hormone issues, the stress, I realized that instead of those being separate things, they actually all affected each other. And really, when I started seeing the body as a whole and how it worked together, I was actually able to find relief from my symptoms because I wasn’t just throwing spaghetti at the wall trying to see what stuck and I also had a deep understanding to have more the functional side of things and testing and how that worked and Um, so now I get to help other women patients, etc. Do the same. You know, typically the clients that we see are the same story, you know, tried everything probably similar to you, they’ve done everything for their digestive issues and find themselves still really struggling. So that’s a little bit about my story. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 05:21

Yeah, that’s great. You know, I think a lot of holistic practitioners, integrative practitioners would echo that sort of path in a way, you know, like they, they’ve sort of gone a conventional way. And then when they start learning about how to integrate the whole system, it’s sort of like, Whoa, it’s kind of an awakening to how things really actually work. And it makes so much sense, you know, that everything is interrelated, that it’s never just, it’s rarely just one thing, right? The people that we see, yeah, yes. So what type of patients are the typical patient that comes to see you?


Dr. Heather Finley 06:01

Yeah, so typically, the clients that we work with are, you know, women that have tried everything, they are typically the clients that, you know, potentially have been diagnosed with IBS, or they think they have IBS? And they’re like, I’ve done all the elimination diets, maybe they’ve even done antibiotics for SIBO, whether they’ve been tested or not, I feel like we get a lot of clients that were just thrown, you know, as I facts, and like, you probably have SIBO. So just take this Yeah. And so we typically get the people that are kind of at the the end of their rope, like if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what else will because they feel in their mind that they have tried everything. But typically they haven’t, they’ve just tried everything individually. So they’ve tried an elimination diet. And that didn’t work. They’ve tried reducing stress. And that didn’t work. They’ve tried, you know, one thing at a time, and they but they’ve never tried everything, addressing it all together. And that’s also where the light bulbs go off for people realizing like, okay, there’s so much more than just me focusing on food. It’s my how I need to support my entire lifestyle to support my gut. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 07:15

Hmm.Great. And listeners, you can wait till the end of the podcast where I asked Dr. Finley where she practices so and now you can get a hold of her. So you gotta wait till the end. Okay, so let’s dive into some of the causes of loading. And in my podcast, I’ve covered a lot of these individually, but I think it’s good to kind of mention them all at once. And I, before we started recording, we both compared our lists, and they’re very similar. But yeah, so that start with you, what do you mostly see? And you’ve already alluded to your top causes, but just more succinctly, in terms of the top causes of bloating that you see in your practice?

Dr. Heather Finley 08:01

Yeah, so just just the thing totally, I mean, as we were kind of laughing about before we press record, there could be hundreds of causes of bloating, but the things that I see the most would be motility issues. You know, SIBO cesifo, like you mentioned, as well, stress being a cause because it shuts down the entire digestive process. Digestive insufficiencies, whether that’s deficiencies in enzymes, or bile, or there, we could go down a whole rabbit hole there. dysbiosis and the large intestine, hypothyroidism, there’s so many causes, but those would probably be the top ones that I see.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 08:41

Yeah. And so let’s just unpack that a little bit more and so that the listener understands why there are they are causes. So, you know, if we talk about motility, for example, where the upper gut and the lower gut may have issues with either peristaltic waves or the migrating motor complex that’s disturbed by SIBO, or any any other reason, stress can really impact this. And then also hypothyroidism would be in this category, or I put this in my mind in this category. So something that causes the just a very dramatic slowdown of how food is moved through the digestive tract. And what does that cause it causes sort of stasis in certain areas where bacteria can ferment those foods that are meant for you to eat to actually break down and absorb and if that doesn’t happen, or it’s prolonged, then it definitely can contribute to bloating, especially with constipation, right? Like almost every single one of my constipated patients, regardless of whether they have SIBO or emo or not, they’re still going to be bloated because that level of motility issue can really affect this fermentation process also in the large intestine


Dr. Heather Finley 09:57

And it can really prevent to the The the relapse as well, which I’m sure you see, you know, if someone’s just focused on like clearing the SIBO you know, maybe it’s antibiotics or herbals or whatever they’ve been, you know, prescribed by their practitioner, if they can’t move their bowels, it things just don’t work and things continue to become a problem, which is why probably you and I both see all these recurrent SIBO clients that you know, they’re like this is my fourth time trying to treat this and it’s because the underlying cause usually motility was not addressed. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 10:34 

Yes, definitely. I’m going to add to your list with a couple other things. So there was a study that I found really interesting that showed that people that didn’t listen to their bodies in terms of when they needed to use the restroom to urinate. So bladder filling for some people really trigger does uploading reflex. And for all of you office workers out there are people that aren’t drinking enough water. And really only urinate, maybe, you know, a couple times a day or or four times a day, you want to urinate, ideally, every two to three hours. And so if that’s not the case, you might want to up your water intake. And upping water intake is also really important for producing saliva, which is such an important, you know, carrier of salivary amylase, which is another enzyme that you require to digest your carbohydrates. So a lot of people actually dehydrated, right, so Oh, so bladder filling is important. Sorry, drinking water is important. Bladder filling is automatic. Then I also have altered reflex muscles of the abdominal wall. So I’ve talked about this before in previous podcasts. And that’s a tough one for listeners, because it’s not, you’re not sure if that’s what’s happening to you. But there are certain reflexes that happen when you eat. So normally when you eat, the diaphragm relaxes, and the abdominal wall contracts. And when you have dysfunctional issues with your either vagus nerve, or like you mentioned the stress and things like that, you can have this kind of this the opposite happening where the diaphragm gets really rigid, and the abdominal wall relaxes. And that that gives the sensation of bloating, right. And then some people also swallow air. I think you mentioned it. But swallowing air is a real thing you don’t it’s often an imperceptible you can’t really can’t really perceive it. And then hormones. So I’m not sure how far we’re going to get into hormones, because it’s such a huge topic. But it’s just a big all let’s leave it as a podcast are there. Right, right. And for listeners, I did talk to Dr. Laura Bryden, who talks a lot about endometriosis and pms and menopause and hormones in general. So you might want to check that out. Okay, we have reached the pot time where we have to talk about what are we going to do about bloating? So lead us into the conversation. Dr. Heather? 


Dr. Heather Finley 13:13

Yeah, well,I like to think of it you know, in kind of a there’s there’s a couple of ways to approach it. Obviously, there are dietary things we can do to approach bloating, there are lifestyle modifications that we can do. There are supplements that we can use, there’s an in really for everybody, you’re probably going to need to use one of each, at least if not more, you typically you’re going to have to rely on multiple things. But I you kind of alluded to this earlier, if you’re bloated and you are constipated, I think the first thing you need to work on is getting your bowels moving, because it is really hard to relieve bloating, if you’re completely backed up. It becomes very, very hard. And, you know, typically people are coming to us with bloating as their number one complaint. And I always tell people, I’m like we can improve the bloating. However, there are other steps that need to be in place for it to fully resolve which getting the bowels moving, you know, is definitely a part of that. But if we kind of think of it, you know, from a top down approach, one of the most powerful tools I think that individuals can use to manage their Bloating is meal hygiene or what I like to refer to as meal hygiene. Not necessarily what you’re eating, but how you’re eating. Are you chewing your food? Well, you mentioned salivation earlier, you know everyone has probably had an experience before where they’ve walked by a bakery and they’ve smelled fresh bread and they they’re like oh, I wasn’t hungry and now I’m salivating because I smell this amazing bread and I I want to go into this bakery right? That is exactly what needs to happen. for your body to signal the entire digestive process. So meal hygiene really actually starts before you even take a bite of your food. It’s how you approach the meal, are you sitting there? are you smelling your food? Are you initiating that salvation to help with that amylase you were talking about, and then really, that kicks off the entire digestive process. It helps us stomach acid, it helps with pancreatic output, et cetera, everything flows from there. So you really have to approach it from the top down. And meal hygiene is one of those tools that really, regardless of where you are, or what your situation is, you can typically focus on how you’re eating, even if you can’t focus on what you’re eating, maybe you’re at a dinner party or something. So you can focus on chewing your food really well, making sure that you’re taking your time, smelling your food, and really starting that whole process. I think people are often surprised actually how well that works, and how much better they feel after a meal when they don’t rush. You mentioned office workers earlier, I think it at least in the US, I don’t know how it is in Australia. But in the US, it’s very much like, you know, the kind of a badge of honor if you didn’t take a lunch break, or if you worked through lunch, or if you are too busy to eat. And I really think that that trend needs to be gone because it’s starting to affect everybody’s else. So actually taking time to to and enjoy your meal is very important. Hydration is another thing that you mentioned, as well, but hydrating making sure that you’re drinking enough water, making sure that you’re adding minerals, if you need minerals, I’m a huge fan of minerals and water, especially if you’re drinking tons of filtered water. That’s something that we typically recommend to our clients to actually help with that cellular hydration. And that also helps with bowel movements and constipation, if that’s something that you struggle with. So those are two things kind of more like the top of the process that I think are really helpful. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 17:09 

Great! Let me respond to those because I want to add to that, and then we’ll go like step by step to the other one. So I think that’s fantastic. And I often say, you know, and people have heard me say this before, that’s so important. And as a fast eater, look, I was the youngest of three, I always felt like I never got enough, I guess when we were eating. And I was trained myself to eat very fast. And it’s a lifelong journey for me to slow down. And I still have issues. So don’t feel bad if you’re a fast eater just continue to make strides in trying to slow down. And that’s what sort of like where some of these apps are really helpful. So if you have like a breathing app that you could do for two minutes before you eat a meal makes a huge difference to just kind of get even in that mode of eating. Right. So that was what sort of grace was for before I or some people still say grace. But that’s kind of a nice not to say that you have to do that. But just a moment to appreciate and to get into the process and being present with eating, and really putting your fork down between bites and just chewing everything until you actually have almost liquefied your food that’s really important because it increases the surface area of all these molecules and food particles that can now be accessed much easier by these juices of digestion like hydrochloric acid and enzymes, etc. So that’s the chewing process is important, then this is where dental hygiene is a whole nother topic. But just as a reminder, what you mentioned before also the hydration, we produce over a liter of saliva a day, right? That’s what’s required not only to produce the, this enzyme that we talked about, but also to bathe the esophagus in this alkaline solution because a small amount of reflux is not unusual. It’s not even necessarily dysfunctional. We all get a little bit of reflux, and it ensures that we don’t get any sort of erosion of the esophagus with this Alkalyn saliva. So hydration is very, very important.


Dr. Heather Finley 19:20

Oh, yeah,


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 19:21 

That’s I just wanted to add that to your to your excellent summary. So yes, so if we think about the process of digestion, and supporting that, that would be I think that always goes a long way, you know, for or beating the bloat.


Dr. Heather Finley 19:39

And I think one thing to to add to kind of this top down approach a little bit is even fear of food or thoughts about food. This is something we often see in the clients we work with because they’ve tried so many treatments, elimination diets, whatever it is, that they almost are so jumbled in their mind about like what they you know, quote unquote should eat and what they should not eat. And so they almost approach the meal thinking like, oh my gosh, I’m gonna get so bloated and even just the mindset piece is so important. And same thing with the the meal hygiene. It’s a lifelong process. Like, it’s very hard to rewire that mindset because of maybe past experience, but also just messaging that we’re faced with all the time, you know, commercials, family, friends, etc. It’s so conflicting, and it’s hard to know what to believe and what not to believe. And so even working on your stress response, before eating, like you said, saying a prayer breathing, whatever it is, that resonates with you to help get into a rest and digest state helps not only for that peace, but also for the stress response. Because stress is stress to the body. So if your body is that, you know, the food is the threat, it’s the same thing as thinking it’s being chased by a tiger. And so we want to reduce stress response whenever we can to help the digestive process so it’s not turned off. I’m interrupting this episode really quick to tell you about our sponsor element, you know that I am a huge fan of minerals for gut health. If you struggle with constipation, bloating, acid reflux, or even poor energy. Often the best place to start is by replenishing your minerals. And as we approach the summer months, this becomes even more crucial. Minerals are the sparkplugs of our body and help us to maintain adequate hydration. And that’s why I’m so excited for you to give element a try. The ultimate mineral boost for your gut packed with the perfect balance of sodium, potassium and magnesium element helps us to restore these essential electrolytes ensuring that your gut stays happy and hydrated. It’s like giving your gut the fuel it needs to thrive. So here’s the exciting part. If you want to receive a free sample pack with purchase, be sure to check out the link, Dr.Heather finley.co/lmnt , or you can visit the link in the show notes. Now back to the episode.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 22:07 

So we covered the digestive juices, I feel right, so we covered that stress. So if those are the issues, those are some good tips for you. Let’s say somebody does have some food reactions, like they get, you know, very bloated, if they eat particular foods. First question would be What are the foods that you find? You know, I’m gonna say FODMAPs because the fermentable fibers are really frequently found to be bloated, sort of really causing the bloating. But there are others that are more in the food reactivity category. So what would you say? Are those foods that use most frequently see as a causative factor?


Dr. Heather Finley 22:48

Yeah, so totally, you know, if your gut is a wreck, FODMAPs are going to cause bloating, there’s really no way around it until you address the underlying issue. But I know you have many other podcasts on that. So we won’t go into that. But some other foods that could cause bloating, or just the cruciferous, the classification of cruciferous foods, you know, if you eat a very large plate of broccoli, cauliflower, etc. It would be in some sense normal to get a little bit bloated depending on obviously how much you ate in your tolerance. Of course, you know, things like beans, of course, those are going to bloat you. Lactose can bloat you which you know, that’s a FODMAP. But um, you know, there’s a lot of overlap here. But you know, they’re the FODMAPs for sure, the cruciferous foods, for sure. And then obviously, any food that you lack the enzyme to break down, whether that’s lactose or, or something else, the list could definitely go on. And also I would add in just tons of raw foods. I know when people are in a bloat flare, eating a huge raw salad, even if it’s low FODMAP is probably not your best option. I think soft, really well cooked mashed foods, almost smoothies, etc. Those can be so gentle on your gut and can be a great tool if you’re really struggling. So sometimes it’s not even the food, it’s the form of the food. So can you think about how you can almost break it down for your body versus having your body have to break it down all the way itself. So going from a raw salad to a really well cooked saute of some kind.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 24:34

That’s a really good point because I have a lot of super sensitive patients that just can’t handle raw foods at all. And that’s such a you know, like when we think about healthy food and live food, the raw food has all the enzymes but it just turns out that a lot of people can’t handle that.


Dr. Heather Finley 24:51

No, they can’t and and there’s a lot of things that can affect that even your stress levels or your sleep the night before or the environment in which you’re eating, like there’s so many things that can affect the the tolerance of it. There’s so many more things I could add to the list. But I guess the other thing, that the last thing I’ll add is any kind of fermented food, you know, that could cause bloating, depending on the state of your gut. Those things obviously, are really good for your gut. But depending on where you’re at, in your journey, those things may be problematic. And they could just be dose dependent as well. Maybe you can tolerate a little bit, maybe you can’t have a lot. So things like yogurt, or even, you know, fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut. Depending on kind of where you’re at, maybe those are ago, maybe they’re not.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 25:43

Right, one word, or one comment about what you mentioned before with the lagoons is if you sprout them, they’re actually a lot more digestible. So yes, that might be a good thing to consider for, for people that have issues with, with legumes. Oftentimes, it’s that tough outer cellulose coating. And there are different products, if you’re just have issues with lagoons full stop, because lagoons are wonderful, they’re great food, they’re very healthy, if you can tolerate them, right, so but even in my biphasic diet that I’ve created for the SIBO, I have a whole way of preparing lagoons so that you can enjoy the nutritional benefits of lagoons and also increase your repertoire of foods that you can eat. But often, it’s the like, there are products out there like Beano, right? That I often recommend where people just have a problem with legumes because it provides that alpha galactosidase enzyme that’s helpful for that tough outer coating. And that, and it’s also great for cruciferous vegetables. So if it’s just an enzyme issue that you you can test that easily if you can try try something like Dino or so have you found another product really helpful.


Dr. Heather Finley 27:03

I mean, there’s tons of there’s tons of supplements that contain the Alpha galactosidase, you know, but Beano is great, because you can usually get it out of drugstore. And it’s very easy to find. So I know we have tons of clients that like carry that in their purse, or you know if they’re traveling or if they’re going out to eat, or like a lactate enzyme that can be great as well. To take if you’re going to a restaurant and you’re not used to maybe having dairy in something and you just want to be safe, that can be a great tool as well. So and those are very easy to find at most stores. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 27:39

Okay,great! Next is in terms of okay, we talked about food not being properly digested different causes of digestive deficit. Let’s talk about you know, motility, should we did we talk about that already other than constipation, and what you suggest people do to overcome some, whether that’s constipation or so, are there certain tips that you have for us? 

Dr. Heather Finley 28:09

Yeah, so this could there’s many things you know, that you could do to improve motility and some of its super individualized right like there’s there’s some things that you’re gonna need to work with a practitioner on to figure out what works best for you. But in general, you know, for motility, Hydration is key. Getting water, like to the bowels is very key. Obviously, you can use something like magnesium to help loosen things, but to get things to move, you probably need something else. Ginger is something that’s very great for motility. For some people, that alone is not strong enough to move things but one very like low risk easy to try solution is drinking ginger tea in between meals, or you can take ginger capsules before you go to bed. You know, if it’s causing reflux or heartburn, there’s other things you can try. Or you may try a different time of day or increasing the dose slowly so your body can get used to it. But those are things that tend to be really beneficial, especially the ginger tea in between meals. And I know it’s summer where you are. But here in the US it’s winter, it’s easier for people to drink that. But you can drink it cold, you can cold brew it and and drink it over ice if you if you want to. You know there’s many supplements on the market that help with the migrating motor complex and have things that actually act on the gut brain access, which I won’t get into because that’s going to be where it gets pretty individualized. But those are definitely some at least starter tips for getting motility moving. And then the other thing that I think is really helpful for motility is meal spacing. So I know on my own journey, I always thought that if I just snacked all day long I could avoid bloating and really, that was only harming me, I didn’t know about the migrating motor complex. And so I didn’t realize that snacking and grazing all day long was actually making things worse. So if you can space your meals out, you know, three, ideally four hours that can actually be very helpful. And at least having that break overnight is really helpful as well to get that migrating motor complex to, to move things through. What did I miss? 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 30:28

Great. You know, there are there certain bitters can help with motility and those kinds of things, you know, so that’s helpful. And artichoke, I’ve talked about a lot of those before. But it’s, that’s artichoke and ginger together are really helpful for the migrating motor complex. Okay, now, let’s talk about the acute flare up, you know, we we’ve covered sort of the causes, we’re not going to go into the bigger topics, because that’s like, like we said, the hormones SIBO SIBO. I mean, that’s what the whole point is of my podcast, right? Like, we’ve talked about all those before. So I don’t have to talk about treatment of SIBO. But, but let’s talk about like, let’s say, especially, you know, these acute flare ups of bloating that people just want some quick tip, what what can they do to help themselves?


Dr. Heather Finley 31:23

Yeah, number one, don’t panic. And panicking is only going to make it worse. Even though I know that of course, I would panic as well and have in the past. So I know it’s hard not to but you know, if you are in a flare, some things that I find really helpful are movement. You don’t need to go on a six mile run, but maybe you can go on a 10 minute walk just around your block. Walking after a meal can be very helpful for blood sugar regulation, bile flow, motility. And so if you’re in a flare, some gentle movement, whether it’s a walk, there’s tons of digestive, YouTube yogas that you can find stretching even can be really helpful, something that’s gonna get the gut to move a little bit. You can also look up on YouTube, the I love you massage, that’s a great abdominal massage you can do to get things moving. drinking warm liquids, like ginger tea can be helpful for that flare of peppermint tea, if there’s a lot of gas trapped gas, fennel tea can also be really helpful for a bloat flare. And I actually find digestive bitters really helpful for a bloating flare, because they kind of start that entire digestive process, really, from salivation down. So you can have some digestive bitters on hand for a bloating flare if you need to. And then also just focusing on eating really soft, easy to digest foods, while you’re getting out of the flare, trying to rest as much as possible. You know, trying to decrease obligations in your life, if you can, can be extremely helpful. And then going back to the basics, like we talked about chewing food, etc. And also not skipping meals, I know that it’s very easy to think like I’m so bloated and miserable, I’m just not going to eat until it goes away. But that’s probably not the most helpful thing to do. So eat what you can, even if it’s a cup of soup, or something very easy to digest, but just not eating for a day is not going to be beneficial. So trying to get nourishment and where you can as well.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 33:37

Okay, I think this is where you and I have different experiences a little bit. Okay, it’s good, it’s good to have different experiences. So first of all, there’s, I think we’re gonna have a ton of resources at the at the end of it. Yes. I totally agree with everything you said in terms of all that I do find sometimes resting the gas for a day and just water fasting can be beneficial in certain circumstances. Not for everyone, but for certain circumstances just to if there are other issues, if it’s just a simple bloat flare, then, and you know, they can take different things like activated charcoal for a day, for example, that’s simple, but for some people that have sort of a more of an inflammatory underlying issue, then resting it can be helpful. I found so that’s interesting that you haven’t found it helpful, but we might just be seeing a slightly different patient base. The other thing is I have a video that I created a couple years ago called The commutative T video. I’ll put the link on it. It’s on YouTube. It’s a combination of fennel, anise, and caraway seeds that if you bruise them and steep them, and then drink that after each meal that’s actually really helpful to bind the gases. You can all So do completely agree with with everything else you’ve said. The other thing I find is just also review your supplements. Sometimes people take new supplements that could be causing the bloat, or I have the prebiotic in there that can be causing issues. Because prebiotics feed bacteria, that’s what they’re meant to do. And if you have SIBO, and you’ve got products in there that are feeding your SIBO bacteria is not going to be good. So, so something like that, but I think my my favorite, just for like, a day of bad bloating would be to use some sort of binder that can that is really helpful for just absorbing the gas. Have you found that as well? 


Dr. Heather Finley 35:41

Yes,definitely find that helpful. And I totally agree about the fiber or supplements. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a message from a client, like I’m totally flaring. I don’t know what’s going on. And I’m like, did you try something new? And they’re like, Oh, I tried this new protein bar. And like, can you send me a picture of it? And turns out, it has like, you know, 10 grams of prebiotic fiber. And I’m like, Well, no wonder you feel terrible. So yeah, it may not be it may be something simple like that. And, or it could be a die off reaction. I mean, there’s so many things. So that’s where the binders can be really helpful as well.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 36:19

Yes. Very good. So with the UN, I want to, I want to also say you’re triggered my memory of the protein bars, because a lot of the protein bars are like Xylitol sweet. Yes, yes. Can you talk to us about the sugar alcohols a little bit? 


Dr. Heather Finley 36:37

Yeah. Oh, my gosh, I went on a rant the other day. Some of my friends were talking about some kind of keto ice cream thing that they found. And I was on this, I ended up on this group text with a bunch of people and they’re like, oh, my gosh, that made me so bloated. I’ve never been so gassy in my life. And it was a hilarious conversation. I didn’t say a word because I was like, I just gotta see where this goes. Finally, I chime in, I’m like, send me a picture of the label. And I get the label. And it’s like, I don’t even remember it had a ton of sugar alcohols in it. And like, the reason you guys are getting bloated, is because of this. And they’re like, what’s a sugar alcohol, you know, and it just started this whole thing. But you know, all the diet products out there, all the protein bars, all the Keto products, typically, are going to have some level of sugar, alcohol, especially these like kind of dessert substitutes. And, you know, people try them and they’re like, I have never been so gassy or bloated in my life. And I’m like, Well, yeah, there’s really no way around that. That’s just what’s going to happen. So you’re trying to avoid bloat. Avoid those sugar alcohols.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 37:47

Yeah. So they’re actually a FODMAP. They’re in the group of polyols. So anything that ends with an O L typically is a sugar alcohol. So either that’s resveratrol, xylitol, what are some of the others, I can’t even remember, sorbitol. So there, those are the three most common. And so just check your products. And also I’d say so prebiotics, other prebiotics would include things like inulin, like fruit or oligosaccharides. Guys, yeah, gace galacto oligosaccharides. So those are wonderful, prebiotic fibers that are more used, I’d say, in the microbiome restoration or recovery phase of your treatment and not when you’re on an active SIBO treatment. So just be aware of that. In terms of like getting back to the binders for just a sec. So binders like charcoal is great for an acute one acute flare, and I usually dose it about three or four tablets, three to four times a day, depending on how bad the flare is. Sometimes if it’s not, if it’s like a really specific flare with hydrogen sulfide, which we haven’t really talked about, we sort of peripherally talked about it. But I find sometimes Bismuth containing products can also be sort of useful for that. But typically charcoal will do the job for just a cute stuff. So just be aware that your stools are going to turn black. That’s normal with charcoal. Yeah, just a little, just a little, you know, word of



Dr. Heather Finley 39:24

Same thing with the Bismuth too. That can change your stool color as well.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 39:30

Okay, great. Fantastic. And then I think I had also a As a tip, like, I think you mentioned the yoga poses. I think that was a great. The we call them wind relieving poses, right. So very aptly named. And part of that is not just positional, but you mentioned the exercise and really you’re getting that diaphragm. When you’re breathing and deep breathing. In particular, your diaphragm is meant to massage the transverse colon which is I’m just going to move things along and stimulate more peristalsis. So get out there and get walking, get moving. That’s a great tip. 


Dr. Heather Finley 40:11

Yeah, and I kind of alluded to this with the peppermint tea but I do find some clients find benefit from like a topical peppermint oil, obviously diluted like an essential oil that’s diluted with a heating pad. Or I don’t know your opinion on this, but castor oil packs can also be beneficial, and a bloating flare as well. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 40:30

Absolutely. So that’s interesting that you put peppermint oil because peppermint oil is great. That’s a great tip to use and abdominal topical peppermint oil, but I’ve never used it with a heating pad because because peppermint is so cooling. I can’t like it would just be such an odd experience. Like like I’m it’s kind of like the icy hot. It’s it. Yeah, yes. But peppermint oil is fantastic for that. Yeah. Massaging. You know, sometimes I mix it with a little almond oil because it can be really intense to put it straight on the skin. But that’s a really good tip. Yes, I do use a lot of compresses or the old castor oil is a good standby. Or even just a heating pad like a you know, one of those beanbags or wheat packs or so can be super helpful or hot water bottle. So and if it’s relaxing and relieving then we already know it has this sort of more, more contractive background because because he really relaxes the musculature. So if you get relief with that, then I would think also more in terms of other sort of neurological relaxers in my, in my experience, yeah.


Dr. Heather Finley 41:51

What are your thoughts on like a CBD cream? I know we’ve had some clients that like swear by their, you know, CBD cream that also has peppermint in it as well. And they will you actually use that when they’re doing something like the I love you massage and they love it.


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 42:08

I have to absolutely check out the I love you massage. I’m not familiar with it. And because we don’t, we’re just about to get more access to those kinds of CBD products here in Australia, I’ve not really had a lot of experience with using it or recommending it. So that’s really good news that that’s that’s another tip to try. If you’ve tried everything else, if you’ve tried all the things that we’ve mentioned in this podcast topicals I love topicals because it’s just it’s not going to mess anything up, you know, and it’s not going to interfere with anything. So that’s that’s always a great way to do it. And especially if there’s some peppermint in there. That’s good. Yeah, totally. Excellent. Well, Heather, this has been fantastic summary of, of the main ways of beating the bloat. Have you got any other sort of little tiny pearls that you can throw in at the end? 


Dr. Heather Finley 43:04

Oh, gosh, I’m like, what, what did we miss? I mean, there’s so many rabbit holes that we could that we could go down. But I think really the pearl is that I think sometimes we overcomplicate things, especially when you are in a state of panic, you know, when your digestive symptoms are all over the place. And so sometimes it is complicated, there’s a lot of stuff going on, and you kind of feel like you’re playing whack a mole, but my encouragement to anybody listening, if you struggle with bloating, or maybe you’re in a bloat flare, and this came at the perfect time, go back to the basics, because you’re never gonna go wrong. Going back to some of the basics that we talked about. And the basics are the easiest things to forget when you are in a flare. And so I know many of our clients find immense benefit from making themselves like a little toolkit, they’ll write it on like an index card or on their notes app on their phone or wherever. And that way, then when they are in a flare, they have a resource list of things that they know that they can go to so you can jot some of the things that we spoke about here. And next time you’re in a flare, or next time you need this, you can refer to the list and it sometimes just decreases the panic a little bit because you feel like okay, I have some tools right here at my disposal. I don’t have to go searching for them. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 44:26 

That’s an absolutely fantastic idea. And I forgot to mention, we’re going to have this, the resources at the end in the show notes but with all the different links is also Dr. Heather’s contact details. And I have a bitters called Dr. Jacoby’s digestive, bitter tonic. That is just for this purpose. You can also find the link there. But yeah, it’s been wonderful talking to you and where can people find you and your resources?


Dr. Heather Finley 44:57

So thanks so much for having me, this has been so fun to do a podcast swap. But the best way to find me is probably on Instagram. That’s where I hang out the most. My Instagram is Dr. Heather Finley, or my podcast is called the Love Your Gut podcast. And, you know, there’s links and everything in the shownotes there, but really anything that you want to find you can find on my Instagram, whether it’s my book or my website or anything else. So and I actually have tell us about your book. Yeah, so I don’t know when this podcast is being released. But my book is going to be available on January 3rd, it’s called the happy healthy gut cookbook. And it is a book all about understanding your digestive symptoms. There’s tons of recipes in the book. And there’s actually a really great toolkit in the back of kind of a daily habits checklist. And then like a weekly reflection, check in. So if you’re looking to really just establish basic habits to support your gut, that can be a great resource, but all that is linked on my website, and it’s available to order on Amazon and I think in Australia is at Book Depository where you can order


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 46:32

A book through Amazon, all that. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Perfect. Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Heather for your time. And yeah, I did a podcast with Dr. Heather. I think it was the ileocecal valve right, we talked all about the ileocecal valve, the famous


Dr. Heather Finley 46:28

Episode 29. So if you want to go back and listen to it. 


Dr. Nirala Jacobi 46:32

Excellent. Thanks so much for your time.


Dr. Heather Finley 46:35

Thanks for having me. As always, please note that this episode, or anything discussed on this podcast is not a substitution for medical advice, and you should always consult your health practitioner before trying anything new. Thanks so much for tuning into this episode of the love Europe podcast. I love to help you understand why you’re bloated. And so that is why I have created my free quiz. Why am I bloated? In this quiz, you will learn what could potentially be causing your bloat and what you can actually do to fix it. So if you want to learn why you’re bloated and how to fix it, visit Dr. Heather finley.co backslash quiz, or visit the link in the show notes. I’ll see you next time.

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Hi, I’m Dr. Heather

Registered dietitian and helps people struggling with bloating, constipation, and IBS find relief from their symptoms and feel excited about food again.

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