Viscerosomatic Gut Bloating: Everybody has healthy bacteria in the gut, but it can get thrown off balance with unhealthy bacteria that start taking over. Stress, viruses, and antibiotics can disrupt healthy bacteria levels. The bacterial balance known as the microbiome in the intestines is an essential factor in body wellness. The connection between intestinal and overall health is an important one as the gut is responsible for producing serotonin, a primary chemical necessary for emotional wellbeing. A viscerosomatic reflex is an organ/s causing pain to show up in the area where the injured, infected, dysfunctional organ is or, as referred pain in other areas of the body. Stress and unhealthy foods contribute to weight gain, organ stress, and chronic pain.
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Viscerosomatic Gut Bloating
Bloating is the feeling of pressure or gas in the abdomen. Distention refers to the physical expansion of the abdomen. However, these symptoms can present separately or in combination. Bloating can be a symptom on its own but often presents alongside other gastrointestinal disorders like:
- Chronic constipation
- Stomach ulcers
- Gallbladder dysfunction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
After eating, flatulence, belching, bloating, and distention are a normal part of the digestive process. These issues are not considered problems until they cause pain and/or disrupt everyday life.
Stress can cause inflammation in the digestive tract, increasing pain receptors and distress-related bloating. Stress can disrupt the normal microbiome, creating intestinal dysbiosis and bacterial overgrowth. This can lead to digestive problems and symptoms that include bloating. This can be partly from excess gas production causing the sensation of bloating and physical distention combined with stress, creating an increased perception of bloating.
Foods Can Cause Inflammation
Animal products can cause inflammation because meat, poultry, and fish contain endotoxins/lipopolysaccharides found in the outer membrane of bacterial cells. These compounds are classified as toxins as they can cause health problems. No matter how these foods are cooked or prepared, the endotoxins are still present, absorbed into the body, and can trigger immune responses like inflammation. Eggs can cause inflammation because they contain high levels of cholesterol and arachidonic acid, which is an acid that is part of the inflammatory response. Excess cholesterol in the blood can trigger inflammation as well.
Dairy products can also trigger the inflammatory response in individuals that don’t produce the lactase enzyme, which breaks down the lactose in dairy products, are intolerant of casein and whey, two proteins in cow milk, or from the hormones and antibiotics given to cows to stimulate milk production and prevent infection. Dairy consumption has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and inflammatory conditions that include:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
Other Causes of Bloating
Other health conditions can present with visceral gut bloating and distention. This includes disorders and other underlying causes that include:
- Ovarian cysts
- Type-2 diabetes
Musculoskeletal disorders can increase bloating and abdominal distention and can be triggered by stress. Two include:
Abdominal Muscle Dysfunction
- These are abnormal contractions of the diaphragm and belly muscles that can occur after eating that can cause the nervous system to create a sense of bloating.
- This viscerosomatic reflex leads to unhealthy postures and enlargement of the abdominal muscles that can worsen bloating sensations.
- Exercises can be recommended to retrain the muscles to contract, usually after eating, which can help reduce bloating.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
- Stressful situations naturally cause muscles to tighten, leading to increased contractions in the pelvic floor muscles.
- These muscles control the bladder, bowel, and sexual function.
- Overly contracted/tight muscles can create a condition known as high-tone pelvic floor dysfunction.
- The opposite can happen when the pelvic floor muscles become too relaxed. This can make it difficult to have regular bowel movements.
- Increased tone and/or over-relaxed muscles can lead to various symptoms, including bloating.
Chiropractic and Health Coaching
The nervous system controls the digestive process. Properly aligning the spine releases the stress and strain on the bones, muscles, and nerves to work correctly. Chiropractic body adjustments, diet/lifestyle adjustments, supplemental recommendations, and exercises can reduce the underlying causes of viscerosomatic gut bloating. Digestive problems such as:
- Chronic heartburn
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Chiropractic offers a medication-free approach to treating digestive issues.
Descompresion Espinal DRX9000
Dragan, Simona, et al. “Dietary Patterns and Interventions to Alleviate Chronic Pain.” Nutrients vol. 12,9 2510. 19 Aug. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12092510
Fifi, Amanda C, and Kathleen F Holton. “Food in Chronic Pain: Friend or Foe?.” Nutrients vol. 12,8 2473. 17 Aug. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12082473
Lacy, Brian E et al. “Management of Chronic Abdominal Distension and Bloating.” Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association vol. 19,2 (2021): 219-231.e1. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2020.03.056
Mari, Amir et al. “Bloating and Abdominal Distension: Clinical Approach and Management.” Advances in therapy vol. 36,5 (2019): 1075-1084. doi:10.1007/s12325-019-00924-7
Rice, Amanda D et al. “Decreasing recurrent bowel obstructions, improving quality of life with physiotherapy: Controlled study.” World journal of gastroenterology vol. 24,19 (2018): 2108-2119. doi:10.3748/wjg.v24.i19.2108
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