arrow27 Comments
  1. Darden Burns
    Jan 30 - 6:17 pm

    This is an interesting article on a subject I wrestle with myself. I think excess gas does induce bloating at least for myself. When I am severely bloated and I do an enema a lot of air or gas is released and the bloating goes away. Of course this is not a solution because following the next meal more gas and bloating is produced again. I am curious about the statement that unusual populations of gut microbes are found in bloaters. Recently I participated in the American Gut Project, a crowd funded study that compares the populations of gut bacteria in the American population with comparisons of gender, age, BMI and diet. Interestingly my results were radically different than any of my comparable groups. 50% of my bacteria was Verrucomicrobia – ” a relatively new phylum with only a handful of described species. Although not the most abundant, they seem to be always present in soil, aquatic environments and feces.” I am wondering if this is true for others with CFS.

    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 01 - 1:18 pm

      Very interesting Darden! It sounds like your gut has been kind of been taken over by this group of bacteria. The same was true of people with autism but it was a different type of bacteria. The CAA gut study should be published sometime. I can’t remember what they found.

  2. Darden Burns
    Jan 30 - 6:23 pm

    I find that bloating is indeed worse when eating foods with lots of fiber i.e. whole grains, beans and nuts. A good solution is to soak these foods for at least 24 hours before cooking them. I do this with rice, oatmeal, etc. and it is a big help. For nuts I soak until they start to sprout and then dry at very low temperature.

    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 01 - 1:16 pm

      Thanks. Have you ever tried soaking oats and then eating them raw? I seemed to do a bit better with that.

      • Antoinette Carver
        Feb 11 - 12:31 pm

        Standard store-shelf oats are glutenous. There is, however, one strain/variety that is gluten free. I must avoid wheat and all gluten, and have found Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free steel cut oats digestible without soaking.

  3. Laura B
    Jan 30 - 6:51 pm

    In my case, I have eaten gluten free for the last few years and have much less bloating and upset stomach. I also take a probiotic. I do eat a little gluten here and there and when I have too much the bloating comes back quickly. It is very clear in my case that gluten is a factor and the thing I am most sensitive to. I also have problems with dairy and eggs and limit them somewhat. Over Thanksgiving this year I had a LOT more gluten than usual and I was extremely sick for a couple of days. Lesson learned!

    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 01 - 1:20 pm

      I’m really surprised that the authors didn’t mention gluten in their overview. It was pretty cut and dry for me. First there was dairy – my bloating improved greatly…but then I had bloating with my daily eggs… bloating went down again and then it came back – even worse. Removing gluten, which was no difficult at all actually – has really helped. I still have bloating but it’s much less frequent than before.

  4. Sheena Hewitt
    Jan 31 - 1:11 am

    Another possibility to consider is Gastroparesis. I was diagnosed last year. I didn’t have any vomiting and one of my main symptoms was having a swollen tummy, which felt particularly tight high up. Check out Richard R Burnet’s paper in 2004 which found a significant proportion of CFS people had Gastroparesis.

    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 01 - 1:20 pm

      Thanks. I had never heard of this.

  5. Hope
    Jan 31 - 2:28 am

    Thank you for this interesting article. I have ME and a hiatus hernia, which was not improved by food sticking in my asophogus and causing acid, pain and eating problems. Ant acids were unsuccessful, until I was given Esomeprazol. This drug actually moves food through the stomach, but only works if I personally take it at night. I am given to understand that it can work better on a morning, for some people though.

    I must avoid high fibre, carbohydrates and dairy to a certain extent. Now my digestive system is much better and find having just a small amount of these foods and avoiding them inbetween days works well for me.

    I do take pro biotics and find them very helpful, especially, if I feel I am becoming unwell with an infection, when I double the dose for a while.

    My 3 daughters also suffer from IBS and this information is very helpful for us all.
    Thank you Cort

    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 01 - 1:21 pm

      Thanks Hope. Glad you found something that worked and thanks for spreading the news. :)

  6. tandrsc
    Jan 31 - 2:54 am

    This is a problem for me as my waist is usually 2 inches bigger at the end of the day than at the start.

    However, I am much better than I used to be and rarely experience pain with it anymore. The solution for me has been to eat as many different (nutritious) foods as possible. Cutting out foods has often made the problem worse.

  7. Katherine
    Jan 31 - 5:19 am

    For five months now I have been food combining to get rid of the bloating and I take Aloe Vera gel 3 or 4 times a day to heal my damaged esophagus.

    My bloating is now at a minimum. I have stopped my PPI medication which was my goal. Unfortunately for me I have also lost 10 lbs when I didn’t need to. I had already eliminated gluten, dairy and eggs. I find that sticking to food combining at least six days of the week has made me feel much better.


    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 01 - 1:23 pm

      Food combining – do you mean things like not eating protein with starches or proteins with oils?

      I do notice that some meals – perhaps because of poor combining sit on my stomach like a log – and increase my fatigue.

      • Katherine
        Feb 02 - 12:16 am

        Yes. Meat or fish with vegetables or starch with vegetables. I try to make every meal nutritious.

        I make thick vegetable soups for lunch and freeze them. They are plain with few ingredients but spicy and tasty – roasted beet, sweet potato and spinach, squash, carrot and many different combinations.

  8. K. Brown
    Jan 31 - 9:17 am

    I agree that that the bloating is usually after dinner and not a problem after breakfast or lunch. My remedy is simply a half teaspoon of baking soda in a 4-6 oz glass of water when the bloating feeling begins and in 30 minutes or less it’s gone. I also take magnesium pills in the am and pm which stops the lifetime misery of constipation I’ve dealt with – no more straining. The 3rd part of the remedy is taking a probiotic in the am and again in the pm, and an occasional one if dinner was too large. I’ve taken over a dozen different brands of probiotics and not even half of them do anything for me. I now stick with one called PB-8 I get from Amazon and it is excellent at reducing the amount of gas. I also try to eat a lot of olive oil with various foods and I find this to be soothing to the feeling of stomach lining irritation that comes with the bloating, or keeps it from happening as well. I’ve noticed that plain yogurt is also a stomach soother for me.

    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 01 - 1:24 pm

      I’m glad you stuck with probiotics until you found one that worked for you! I imagine that many people give up too early.

  9. Helen
    Jan 31 - 10:52 am

    I have found that Heather’s Tummy Fiber Organic Acacia Senegal has been quite helpful for me. This is the only fiber that seems to work for me, and it has been a powerful help.
    I have also used their fennel tea, but it is the fiber that has made a big difference. I do not agree with much of their diet information, for instance I think fats are essential, but they must be the right fats.

    Another aspect that has been key for me is learning about the extensive ramifications of Non Celic Gluten Sensitivity and it’s accompanying dairy, soy, egg, and (for me) other related foods including beans and any grains. There is a four day webinar in progress which explains more. It started on the 30th, and goes through 2/2, but it is not too late to sign up, and it’s free:

  10. tatt
    Feb 01 - 1:22 am

    I haven’t found a cure for this but did notice it reduced if I swam in the sea, perhas down to the magnesium present in sea water? Magnesium is great at avoiding constipation. Floradix is a good UK magnesium supplement.

    There have been studies showing that many probiotics do not in fact contain many live bacteria. I found bimmuno (a pre-biotic) better. I now make my own live yoghurt. Faecal transplants re being trialled and seems very effective in changing gut flora.

  11. Pack
    Feb 01 - 7:48 am

    Buscopan tablets work for me for milder cases, especially if the cramps and bloating is low down in the abdomen.

  12. Kristi
    Feb 01 - 10:43 am

    I didn’t see any mention of digestive enzymes. Everyone I know w/CFS/ME has some kind of digestive problem and take these. I’ve noticed a BIG difference between taking these with meals and not taking them. They make all the difference.

  13. derek
    Feb 02 - 11:36 pm

    I have suffering from IBS for bout 3 years and having trying all sorts of medications and diets but to no avail . This time I have finally got cured in merely a span of bout 1 month…

    • Cort Johnson
      Feb 03 - 10:51 am

      What did you do?

  14. Hannah
    Feb 03 - 2:52 pm

    I suffered from bloating for many years. I went to see a holistic practitioner and he told me I had to much yeast in my gut. I followed a yeast and sugar free diet and it worked, I am now free from bloating and pain.

    Feb 04 - 6:40 pm


  16. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt
    Feb 07 - 10:30 am

    You trivialize the bloat complaint when you illustrate this post with an image of men whose problem is fat accumulated on their abdomens.

    That is not bloat; it may or may not be gluttony; but it is definitely unappealing – especially displayed that way.

  17. Lucy Macdonald
    Feb 25 - 9:29 am

    I have always had a bloating and ‘farting’ problem (too much of it) evr since I was a child and years before my ME/CFS.
    However I think my problems are recently getting worse and this article may be indeed helpful. I particularly find that the bloating is more irritable at the start of my monthly cycle i.e. a day or two before I start bleeding. It has been suggested to me I go on the pill but I’m not sure that that will help the pain of the bloating or just the pain of the other stuff involved with monthly cycle.
    I also find that I can eat fibre but I do get bad bloating after eating dried fruit or any drinks with artificial sweeteners and wonder if the chemicals in both these processed foods are to blame.
    I shall continue to research and maybe try a strict diet if I have the discipline!!

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