Celiac and Bloating (why it happens and how to cope)
In this post on celiac and bloating I will cover what celiac bloating is, why it happens, and how to cope with it.
Celiac Disease 101
First off, let’s kick things off with a quick lesson on what celiac disease is. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the villi in the small intestine when gluten is consumed. When the villi, the hair-like projections in your small intestine responsible for nutrient absorption, are damaged it can cause a wide array of issues. Not to mention, auto-immune diseases in themselves are complex.
Essentially, celiac disease is a serious disease that impacts the functionality of your small intestine. Along with this comes over 300 reported symptoms. So what is the treatment for celiac? A gluten-free lifestyle (notice I say lifestyle, and not diet). Or in other words, the treatment involves eating gluten-free for the rest of your life (or until a cure is found).
Side note: you can’t self-diagnose celiac disease (and you shouldn’t self-diagnose anything really). Meaning if you have a symptom, like bloating, that’s associated with celiac disease, that doesn’t mean you have celiac. You have to be tested for celiac disease (an intestinal biopsy is the gold standard) to know if you have it.
What is Bloating
Now that we know what celiac disease is, let’s talk about bloating. Bloating is when your belly feels swollen and tight.
Or as Beyond Celiac puts it,
Bloating can cause abnormal swelling of the abdomen. This results in the feeling of a full or tight abdomen and is often accompanied by discomfort and pain. Gas can also cause bloating.– BeyondCeliac.org
Celiac and Bloating
So how are celiac and bloating related? Bloating is one of the 300+ known symptoms of celiac disease.
To clarify, just because it is a known symptom, doesn’t mean that if you have bloating that it’s a sign you have celiac disease. Bloating can be natural and nothing to be concern about but it also can be a sign of underlying issues. If you’re concerned about your bloating, be sure to consult an appropriate health-care professional.
Why you might be bloated
There are few reasons behind bloating. Bloating can be a symptom of gluten-exposure in those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten-sensitivity. Some other bloating causes are eating a fiber-packed meal, an imbalanced microbiome, constipation, food sensitivities, and more.
Ways to cope with bloating
- Figure out what’s causing your bloating and resolve it if you can!
- Sip on mint, ginger, or other carminative herbal teas. (Carminatives are known to help with gas).
- Rest and destress. Stress can make symptoms worse so taking time to relax can be beneficial.
- Wear comfy clothes (this one is important!).
- Soak in a hot bath or take a hot shower. There’s nothing like warm water to help relieve tension.
- Use a heating pad (I wear one around my waist when things get bad).
- Cozy up in your bed with comfy blankets and pillows. Staying as comfortable as possible is of the highest priority.
- Try some gentle stretching. Sometimes if it’s really bad, some simple slow stretching can help relief some of the tension (atleast for me).
- Consider working with a dietitian to find out if other foods are causing you distress. A lot of dietitians specialize in help people cope and manage their GI distress triggered by foods.
- Be gentle with yourself. Your body needs a moment, don’t be too hard on it OR yourself.
Lastly, my biggest tip is to develop a self-care plan for days plagued by bloating. If you need help with this I have a self-care routine planner available for free for anyone who signs up for my email list. If you sign-up, you’ll also get a free workbook on coping with celiac disease as well!
Sign up for my email list below & get your free celiac workbook and self-care routine planner!
Bloating can be a frustating thing to deal with. Hopefully this post helped you understand it better and figure out how to cope. Let me know in the comments your favorite ways to cope with bloating!