Bloating is an unpleasant symptom of intestinal distress. Sometimes it’s only temporary and occurs because of something you ate or drank. However, in some instances, bloating can be related to a more serious health concern. The following seven ailments are known to cause chronic bloating, gas, and constipation.
1. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease results from an immune reaction to eating grains that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley or rye. Individuals suffering from celiac disease experience bloating and constipation as initial symptoms.
Researchers have determined that long term damage from celiac disease can occur as a result of tissue inflammation of the small intestine.  One study also found that celiac disease can lead to inadequate nutrition absorption.  The long term effects of inadequate nutrition are well documented, so those suffering from celiac disease must regularly monitor their health.
While a gluten-free diet currently offers the only means to treat celiac disease, individuals should also be certain to avoid other gastro-intestinal irritants that could aggravate the condition.
2. Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance
Research has recently identified gluten as a source of digestive problems with symptoms such as bloating and constipation – very much like celiac disease.
One study found that individuals who did not have celiac disease but experienced the symptoms of gluten intolerance improved when placed on a gluten free diet.  Another study indicated this gluten intolerance may result from molecules in the grains stimulating an immune response. 
For now, the only remedy to this condition is to adhere to a gluten free diet.
3. Lactose Intolerance
Bloating, gas, and cramping are only a few of the unpleasant experiences associated with lactose intolerance. Anyone who has experienced these or other symptoms associated with this condition know how awful they can be. Lactose intolerance occurs as a result of too little of the digestive enzyme lactase. It is this enzyme that allows the body to break down lactose into its digestible components. 
Many food intolerances such as this one result from a lack of digestive enzymes. Often the simplest way to improve the symptoms of bloating and gas can be to increase enzyme levels to aid digestion.
The causes of IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, continue to be researched. This condition presents many symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain. Researchers have found immune activation and inflammation to occur routinely in individuals experiencing IBS. While dietary factors can contribute to this immune response, researchers also note that stress contributes as well. 
One study found that individuals with IBS attributed their symptoms to foods eaten. When examining these individuals, researchers found incompletely absorbed carbohydrates in 70% in of the individuals. They also found histamine-releasing foods (histamine is a product of allergies) such as wine and beer in 31% of the individuals; 52% of the individuals reported IBS symptoms after eating fried and fatty foods. 
There is good news, one 15 year study reports that with the appropriate remedy, the prognosis is good. 
5. Crohn’s Disease
This medical condition occurs when the body generates an immune response specifically directed at the digestive tract. This results in inflammation with common symptoms of bloating and abdominal pain. Some researchers have suggested it occurs as a result of the body attacking all the bacteria in the intestines.  Other researchers have reported that the initiating cause may be different from those causes that keep it going. 
In many cases the best way to avoid a condition like Crohn’s disease from developing is to constantly maintain the health of the intestines.
Colitis, as well as ulcerative colitis, occurs as a result of chronic inflammation of the colon. Symptoms typically include bloating, abdominal pain, cramping and diarrhea. Researchers have found that this continued immune response changes the environment of the bowels, leading to growth of unwanted bacteria. This change may account for the potential to develop ulcers and other sores on the colon wall. 
Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Excessive alcohol consumption, extended use of NSAIDs (ibuprofen or aspirin) can wear down the lining of the stomach and lead to inflammation. Bacterial infestation by H. pylori can create a chronic condition, as well as stress and bile reflux.
Creating bloating and abdominal pain, this medical condition can be controlled by moderation and a focus on maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
If bloating is a problem for you, check out these five natural remedies for bloating to learn how you can protect the health of your digestive tract.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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