Bloating, Gas, and Fullness: How to Care for the Small Intestine
The feeling of fullness.
Each a digestive upset that isn’t fun.
So why does it happen and what can you do about it?
Say hello to your small intestine and learn to give it some love.
A crucial part of the digestive system, the small intestine measures around 22 feet and is responsible for absorbing nutrients from the food and drinks we consume.
Digestion starts in the mouth and continues until contents are eliminated through urine and stool, with the small intestine playing a very important role.
When we eat, digestive enzymes are released in the mouth and begin to break down food (along with chewing). After swallowing, the contents travel to the stomach where additional enzymes and stomach acid continue the breakdown before it moves into the small intestine.
Once in this long tube, the liver and gallbladder secrete bile and the pancreas releases digestive enzymes for the small intestine to deconstruct the matter even more. Throughout this process, nutrients are absorbed into tiny blood vessels nearby – some of which move through the liver while other nutrients travel to areas of the body which need them.
The remaining contents are pushed through to the large intestine where they get processed and eliminated. For more understanding, visit our article on how healthy digestion works.
When there are a lack of digestive functions in the small intestine (such as not having enough enzymes and/or juices to break food down), it can lead to:
- feelings of fullness
- diarrhea/loose stools
and can even develop into:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Small Intestine Fungal Overgrowth (SIFO)
- Leaky Gut
So what causes a lack of digestive enzymes and juices?
Much of the American way of life such as:
- poor diet
- too much alcohol
- microbiome imbalance
Fortunately, there are a multitude of things you can do to support this organ!
Acupuncture – this therapy can activate the parasympathetic system (which restores and regenerates) to improve the overall function and motility of the small intestine. Click here to schedule an appointment.
Plant and Digestive Enzymes – for support in breaking down food properly, supplements such as:
- Similase® by Integrative Therapeutics®
- Digestion GB by Pure Encapsulations®
- Liver C™ by Mountain Peak Nutritionals
- Quiet Digestion™ by Health Concerns
- Stomach Caps™ by Health Concerns
can all assist in the digestive process and are available at the CNMA office.
Microbiome Support – to eliminate unwanted bacteria and fungus in the small intestine, natural anti-fungals and anti-bacterials can work to control overgrowth. These options can include:
- A.D.P.® by Biotics Research®
- CandiBactin-AR® by Metagenics®
- CandiBactin-BR® by Metagenics®
- Berberine-500 by Thorne®
available as well in the CNMA office. Note that additional prescription antibiotics may be needed depending on the severity of bacterial overgrowth.
Lifestyle Changes – everyday choices can help support digestion and the small intestine. Whenever possible, try:
- a relaxing walk after meals to support motility
- looking at your food as well as smelling and tasting it while chewing slowly for release of digestive enzymes
- consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, antioxidants, and fiber
- eliminating foods and beverages that are hard on digestion and that may cause inflammation such as alcohol, coffee, fried and fatty foods, dairy, and gluten
- being mindful of food sensitivities and staying away from them
How do you know if your small intestine needs extra care?
Between symptoms and lab tests (such as a breath test for SIBO, comprehensive stool test to examine good and bad bacteria levels and parasites, and food sensitivity testing), a functional plan can be created in which Dr. Graves likes to see improvements within one month.
Do you think your small intestine or digestive system as a whole needs attention?
To schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves in order to talk further about your symptoms and what may help (such as testing, acupuncture, and/or supplements), please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule online.
The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area. For those outside of these areas, telehealth appointments are available.