Dr Heather Finley

Dr Heather Finley's Top Tips for Bloating - Listen Now

Transcript

Top Bloating Tips with Dr Heather Finley

Nirala Jacobi:

Welcome to another episode of the SIBO Doctor Podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Nirala Jacobi, and I'm really excited today to talk to Dr. Heather Finley. Dr. Heather has a doctorate in clinical nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health. She's a registered dietician who helps people struggling with bloating, constipation and IBS find relief from their symptoms and feel excited about food again. Heather struggled with her own digestive issues for nearly 20 years and understands firsthand the impact that nutrition, lifestyle and mindset have on digestive health. Just a really warm welcome to you, Dr. Heather.

Heather Finley:

Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Nirala Jacobi:

Great. I think everyone listening to this podcast will be excited about the topic of how to beat a bloat flare up. But before we dive into this topic, can you just give me a bit more information and our listeners a bit more information about this interesting path that led you to become a doctor of clinical nutrition?

Heather Finley:

Yeah. Well, I'll make a long story short by saying that I always tell people I was born constipated. I came out of the womb constipated and really lived with digestive issues ever since I can remember. And typical story that you hear, I went to countless doctors, tried hundreds of things, did every possible elimination diet that you can think of, all the supplements, all the things, and found myself still wondering, why am I bloated? Even went to college to study nutrition, both because I was an athlete growing up, I was a collegiate swimmer. And so selfishly I studied nutrition, partially because I wanted to know what I needed to eat to swim as fast as I could, but also because I wanted to figure out my own digestive issues. And to be honest, I graduated college and was still kind of scratching my head. Why can't I figure out my own symptoms?

I remember in my first job as a dietician, I was working at a hospital and I was so miserable. I had the worst flare in my symptoms than I've ever had. It was also at a time in my life where there was a lot of things going on. My dad was very ill, with colon cancer, actually. And so that was actually when the light bulbs started going off, like maybe there's something else that affects digestion besides just food, and realized the deep connection that the entire body had, and specifically also stress, trauma, grief, et cetera. And then when I went to my doctorate program, it was like this whole new world opened up. Finally, I understood health and nutrition from a completely different perspective than I had been taught previously. I realized that instead of seeing my symptoms as separate issues, so the energy issues, the gut issues, the hormone issues, the stress, I realized that instead of those being separate things, they actually all affected each other.

And really when I started seeing the body as a whole and how it worked together, I was actually able to find relief from my symptoms because I wasn't just throwing spaghetti at the wall trying to see what stuck. And I also had a deep understanding, too, of more of the functional side of things and testing and how that worked. And so now I get to help other women patients, et cetera, do the same. Typically, the clients that we see are the same story. Tried everything, probably similar to you. They've done everything for their digestive issues and find themselves still really struggling. So that's a little bit about my story.

Nirala Jacobi:

Yeah, that's great. I think a lot of holistic practitioners, integrative practitioners would echo that path in a way. They've sort of gone at a conventional way, and then when they start learning about how to integrate the whole system, it's sort of like, whoa. It's kind of an awakening to how things really actually work. And it makes so much sense that everything is interrelated, that it's rarely just one thing, the people that we see. And so what type of patients are the typical patient that comes to see you?

Heather Finley:

Typically, the clients that we work with are women that have tried everything. They are typically the clients that potentially have been diagnosed with IBS or they think they have IBS, and they're like, I've done all the elimination diets. Maybe they've even done antibiotics for SIBO, whether they've been tested or not. I feel like we get a lot of clients that were just thrown Xifaxan, like, you probably have SIBO, so just take this. And so we typically get the people that are at the end of their rope. If this doesn't work, I don't know what else will. Because they feel in their mind that they have tried everything. But typically they haven't, they've just tried everything individually. So they've tried an elimination diet and that didn't work. They've tried reducing stress and that didn't work. They've tried one thing at a time, but they've never tried everything, addressing it all together. And that's also where the light bulbs go off for people realizing, okay, there's so much more than just me focusing on food. It's how I need to support my entire lifestyle to support my gut.

Nirala Jacobi:

Great. And listeners, you can wait till the end of the podcast where I ask Dr. Finley where she practices and how you can get ahold of her. So you got to wait till the end. So let's dive into some of the causes of bloating. And in my podcast, I've covered a lot of these individually, but I think it's good to mention them all at once. And before we started recording, we both compared our lists and they're very similar. But yeah, so let's start with what do you mostly see? And you've already alluded to your top causes, but just more succinctly in terms of the top causes of bloating that you see in your practice.

Heather Finley:

Yeah, so just succinctly, I mean, as we were laughing about before we pressed record, there could be hundreds of causes of bloating. But the things that I see the most would be motility issues, SIBO, SIFO, like you mentioned as well, stress being a cause because it shuts down the entire digestive process, digestive insufficiencies, whether that's deficiencies in enzymes or bile or we could go down a whole rabbit hole there. Dysbiosis in the large intestine, hypothyroidism. There's so many causes, but those would probably be the top ones that I see.

Nirala Jacobi:

And so let's just unpack that a little bit more so that the listener understands why they are causes. So if we talk about motility, for example, where the upper gut and the lower gut may have issues with either peristaltic waves or the migrating motor complex that's disturbed by SIBO or any other reason; stress can really impact this. And then also hypothyroidism would be in this category, or I put this in my mind in this category. So something that causes just a dramatic slowdown of how food is moved through the digestive tract. And what does that cause?

It causes stasis in certain areas where bacteria can ferment those foods that are meant for you to actually break down and absorb. And if that doesn't happen or it's prolonged, then it definitely can contribute to bloating, especially with constipation. Almost every single one of my constipated patients, regardless of whether they have SIBO or IMO or not, they're still going to be bloated because that level of motility issue can really affect this fermentation process also in the large intestine.

Heather Finley:

And it can really prevent too the relapse as well, which I'm sure you see. If someone's just focused on clearing the SIBO, maybe it's antibiotics or herbals or whatever they've been prescribed by their practitioner, if they can't move their bowels, it things just don't work and things continue to become a problem, which is why probably you and I both see all these recurrent SIBO clients that they're like, this is my fourth time trying to treat this. And it's because the underlying cause, usually motility, was not addressed.

Nirala Jacobi:

Yes, definitely. I'm going to add to your list with couple other things. So there was a study that I found really interesting that showed that people that didn't listen to their bodies in terms of when they needed to use the restroom to urinate, so bladder filling for some people really triggered a bloating reflex. And for all of you office workers out there, or people that aren't drinking enough water and really only urinate maybe a couple times a day or four times a day, you want to urinate ideally every two to three hours. And so if that's not the case, you might want to up your water intake. And upping water intake is also really important for producing saliva, which is such an important carrier of salivary amylase, which is another enzyme that you required to digest your carbohydrate. So a lot of people are actually dehydrated.

So bladder filling is important. Sorry, drinking water is important, bladder filling is automatic. Then I also have altered reflex muscles of the abdominal wall. I've talked about this before in previous podcasts. And that's a tough one for listeners because you're sure if that's what's happening to you. But there are certain reflexes that happen when you eat. So normally when you eat, the diaphragm relaxes and the abdominal wall contracts. And when you have dysfunctional issues with your either vagus nerve or, like you mentioned, the stress and things like that, you can have the opposite happening, where the diaphragm gets really rigid and the abdominal wall relaxes.

And that gives the sensation of bloating. And then some people also swallow air. I think you mentioned it, but swallowing air is a real thing. It's often imperceptible, you can't really perceive it. And then hormones. So I'm not sure how far are we going to get into hormones because it's such a huge topic. But it's just a big old, let's leave it out.

Heather Finley:

There's a whole nother podcast right there.

Nirala Jacobi:

I know, right? And for listeners, I did talk to Dr. Laura Briden, who talks a lot about endometriosis and PMS and menopause and hormones in general, so you might want to check that out. Okay. We have reached the time where we have to talk about what are we going to do about bloating. So lead us into the conversation, Dr. Heather.

Heather Finley:

Yeah. There's a couple ways to approach it. Obviously there are dietary things we can do to approach bloating and there are lifestyle modifications that we can do. There are supplements that we can use. And really for everybody, you're probably going to need to use one of each at least, if not more. You typically are going to have to rely on multiple things. But you alluded to this earlier, if you're bloated and you are constipated, I think the first thing you need to work on is getting your bowels moving, because it is really hard to relieve bloating if you're completely backed up. It becomes very, very hard. And typically people are coming to us with bloating as their number one complaint. And I always tell people, I'm like, we can improve the bloating. However, there are other steps that need to be in place for it to fully resolve, which getting the bowels moving is definitely a part of that.

But if we think of it from a top-down approach, one of the most powerful tools I think that individuals can use to manage their bloating is meal hygiene, or what I like to refer to as meal hygiene. Not necessarily what you're eating, but how you're eating. Are you chewing your food well? You mentioned salivation earlier. Everyone has probably had an experience before where they've walked by a bakery and they've smelled fresh bread and they're like, oh, I wasn't hungry, and now I'm salivating because I smell this amazing bread and I want to go into this bakery. That is exactly what needs to happen for your body to signal the entire digestive process. So meal hygiene really actually starts before you even take a bite of your food. It's how you approach the meal. Are you sitting there? Are you smelling your food?

Are you initiating that salivation to help with that amylase you were talking about? And then really that kicks off the entire digestive process. It helps with stomach acid, it helps with pancreatic output, et cetera. Everything flows from there. So you really have to approach it from the top down. And meal hygiene is one of those tools that really, regardless of where you are or what your situation is, you can typically focus on how you're eating, even if you can't focus on what you're eating. Maybe you're at a dinner party or something. So you can focus on chewing your food really well, making sure that you're taking your time, smelling your food, and really starting that whole process. I think people are often surprised actually how well that works and how much better they feel after a meal when they don't rush. You mentioned office workers earlier.

I think, at least in the US, I don't know how it is in Australia, but in the US it's very much kind of a badge of honor if you didn't take a lunch break or if you worked through lunch, or if you were too busy to eat. And I really think that that trend needs to be gone because it's starting to affect everybody's health. So actually taking time to chew and enjoy your meal is very important. Hydration is another thing that you mentioned as well, but hydrating, making sure that you're drinking enough water, making sure that you're adding minerals if you need minerals. I'm a huge fan of minerals in water, especially if you're drinking tons of filtered water. That's something that we typically recommend to our clients to actually help with that cellular hydration. And that also helps with bowel movements and constipation if that's something that you struggle with. So those are two things more at the top of the process that I think are really helpful.

Nirala Jacobi:

Great. Let me respond to those because I want to add to that. And then we'll go step by step to the other one. So I think that's fantastic. And I often say, and people have heard me say this before, it's so important to... And as a fast eater, look, I was the youngest of three. I always felt like I never got enough, I guess, when we were eating. And I trained myself to eat very fast. And it's a lifelong journey for me to slow down, and I still have issues. So don't feel bad if you're a fast eater. Just continue to make strides in trying to slow down. And that's where some of these apps are really helpful. So if you have a breathing app that you could do for two minutes before you eat a meal, it makes a huge difference to just get even in that mode of eating.

So that was what grace was for before, or some people still say grace, but that's kind of a nice... Not to say that you have to do that, but just a moment to appreciate and to get into the process and being present with eating. And really putting your fork down between bites and just chewing everything until you actually have almost liquified your food. That's really important because it increases the surface area of all these molecules and food particles that can now be accessed much easier by these juices of digestion like hydrochloric acid and enzymes, et cetera.

So that's, the chewing process is important. And this is where dental hygiene is a whole nother topic. But just as a reminder, what you mentioned before, also the hydration. We produce over a liter of saliva a day. That's what's required, not only to produce this enzyme that we talked about, but also to bathe the esophagus in this alkaline solution. Because a small amount of reflux is not unusual, it's not even necessarily dysfunctional. We all get a little bit of reflux and it ensures that we don't get any erosion of the esophagus with this alkaline saliva. So hydration is very, very important.

Heather Finley:

Oh, yeah.

Nirala Jacobi:

I just wanted to add that to your excellent summary. So yes, if we think about the process of digestion and supporting that, I think that always goes a long way for beating the bloat.

Heather Finley:

And I think one thing too, to add to this top-down approach a little bit is even fear of food or thoughts about food, this is something we often see in the clients we work with, because they've tried so many treatments, elimination diets, whatever it is, that they almost are so jumbled in their mind about what they "should eat" and what they should not eat. And so they almost approach the meal thinking, my gosh, I'm going to get so bloated. And even just the mindset piece is so important. And same thing with the meal hygiene. It's a lifelong process. It's very hard to rewire that mindset because of maybe past experience, but also just messaging that we're faced with all the time, commercials, family, friends, et cetera.

It's so conflicting and it's hard to know what to believe and what not to believe. And so even working on your stress response before eating, like you said, saying a prayer, breathing, whatever it is that resonates with you to help get into a rest and digest state helps not only for that piece, but also for the stress response. Because stress is stress to the body. So if your body [inaudible 00:20:35] that the food is the threat, it's the same thing as thinking it's being chased by a tiger. And so we want to reduce stress response whenever we can to help the digestive process so it's not turned off.

Nirala Jacobi:

Great. So we covered the digestive juices, I feel, right? And stress. So if those are the issues, those are some good tips for you. Let's say somebody does have some food reactions, like they get very bloated if they eat particular foods. First question would be, what are the foods that you find... I'm going to say FODMAPs because the fermentable fibers are really frequently found to be bloative, really causing the bloating. But there are others that are more in the food reactivity category. So what would you say are those foods that you most frequently see as a causative factor?

Heather Finley:

Yeah, so totally. If your gut is a wreck, FODMAPs are going to cause bloating. There's really no way around it until you address the underlying issue. But I know you have many other podcasts on that, so we won't go into that. But some other foods that could cause bloating are just the classification of cruciferous foods. If you eat a very large plate of broccoli, cauliflower, et cetera, it would be in some sense normal to get a little bit bloated, depending on obviously how much you ate, and your tolerance, of course. Things like beans, of course, those are going to bloat you. Lactose can bloat you, which that's a FODMAP. There's a lot of overlap here. But the FODMAPs for sure, the cruciferous foods for sure. And then obviously any food that you lack the enzyme to break down, whether that's lactose or something else, the list could definitely go on.

And also I would add in just tons of raw foods. I know when people are in a bloat flare, eating a huge raw salad, even if it's low FODMAP is probably not your best option. I think soft, really well-cooked, mashed foods, almost, smoothies, et cetera, those can be so gentle on your gut and can be a great tool if you're really struggling. So sometimes it's not even the food, it's the form of the food. So can you think about how you can almost break it down for your body versus having your body have to break it down all the way itself? So going from a raw salad to a really well-cooked saute of some kind.

Nirala Jacobi:

That's a really good point because I have a lot of super sensitive patients that just can't handle raw foods at all. And when we think about healthy food and live food, the raw food has all the enzymes, but it just turns out that a lot of people can't handle that.

Heather Finley:

No, they can't. And there's a lot of things that can affect that. Even your stress levels or your sleep the night before or the environment in which you're eating, there's so many things that can affect the tolerance of it. There's so many more things I could add to the list. But I guess the last thing I'll add is any kind of fermented food, that could cause bloating depending on the state of your gut. Those things obviously are really good for your gut, but depending on where you're at in your journey, those things may be problematic. And they could just be dose dependent as well. Maybe you can tolerate a little bit, maybe you can't have a lot. So things like yogurt or even fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut, depending on where you're at, maybe those are a go, maybe they're not,

Nirala Jacobi:

Right. One comment about what you mentioned before with the legumes is if you sprout them, they're actually a lot more digestible. So that might be a good thing to consider for people that have issues with legumes. Oftentimes it's that tough outer cellulose coating. And there are different products if you just have issues with legumes, full stop. Because legumes are wonderful. They're great food, they're very healthy if you can tolerate them.

But even in my bi-phasic diet that I've created for the SIBO, I have a whole way of preparing legumes so that you can enjoy the nutritional benefits of legumes and also increase your repertoire of foods that you can eat. But there are products out there like Beano, that I often recommend if people just have a problem with legumes because it provides that alpha-galactosidase enzyme that's helpful for that tough outer coating. And it's also great for cruciferous vegetables. So if it's just an enzyme issue, you can test that easily if you can try something like Beano or so. Have you found another product really helpful?

Heather Finley:

I mean, there's tons of supplements that contain the alpha-galactosidase, but Beano's great because you can usually get it at a drugstore and it's very easy to find. So I know we have tons of clients that carry that in their purse if they're traveling or if they're going out to eat. Or a lactate enzyme, that can be great as well to take if you're going to a restaurant and you're not used to maybe having dairy in something and you just want to be safe, that can be a great tool as well. And those are very easy to find at most stores.

Nirala Jacobi:

Okay, great. Next is in terms of, okay, we talked about food not being properly digested, different causes of digestive deficits. Let's talk about motility. Did we talk about that already, other than constipation and what you suggest people do to overcome some... Whether that's constipation or are there certain tips that you have for us?

Heather Finley:

Yeah, so there's many things that you could do to improve motility, and some of it's super individualized. There's some things that you're going to need to work with a practitioner on to figure out what works best for you. But in general, for motility, hydration is key. Getting water to the bowels is very key. Obviously you can use something like magnesium to help loosen things. But to get things to move, you probably need something else. Ginger is something that's very great for motility. For some people, that alone is not strong enough to move things, but one very low-risk, easy to try solution is drinking ginger tea in between meals. Or you can take ginger capsules before you go to bed. If it's causing reflux or heartburn there's other things you can try or you may try a different time of day or increasing the dose slowly so your body can get used to it.

But those are things that tend to be really beneficial, especially the ginger tea in between meals. And I know it's summer where you are, but here in the US it's winter and it's easier for people to drink that. But you can drink it cold, you can cold brew it and drink it over ice if you want to. There's many supplements on the market that help with the migrating motor complex and have things that actually act on the gut-brain access, which I won't get into because that's going to be where it gets pretty individualized. But those are definitely some at least starter tips for getting motility moving.

And then the other thing that I think is really helpful for motility is meal spacing. I know on my own journey, I always thought that if I just snacked all day long, I could avoid bloating. And really that was only harming me. I didn't know about the migrating motor complex and so didn't realize that snacking and grazing all day long was actually making things worse. So if you can space your meals out, three, ideally four hours, that can actually be very helpful. And at least having that break overnight is really helpful as well to get that migrating motor complex to move things through. What did I miss?

Nirala Jacobi:

Great. Certain bitters can help with motility and those kinds of things, so that's helpful. And artichoke, I've talked about a lot of those before, but artichoke and ginger together are really helpful for the migrating motor complex. Okay, now let's talk about the acute flareup. We've covered sort of the causes. We're not going to go into the bigger topics because that's, like we said, the hormones. SIBO, SIFO, I mean, that's what the whole point is of my podcast, right? We've talked about all those before, so I don't have to talk about treatment of SIBO. But let's talk about, let's say especially these acute flareups of bloating that people just want some quick tip. What can they do to help themselves?

Heather Finley:

Yeah. Number one, don't panic. Panicking is only going to make it worse. Even though I know that of course I would panic as well, and have in the past, so I know it's hard not to. But if you are in a flare, some things that I find really helpful are movement. You don't need to go on a six-mile run, but maybe you can go on a 10-minute walk just around your block. Walking after a meal can be very helpful for blood sugar regulation, bile flow, motility. And so if you're in a flare, some gentle movement, whether it's a walk. There's tons of digestive YouTube yogas that you can find. Stretching even can be really helpful. Something that's going to get the gut to move a little bit. You can also look up on YouTube the I Love You massage. That's a great abdominal massage you can do to get things moving.

Drinking warm liquids like ginger tea can be helpful for that flare. Peppermint tea, if there's a lot of gas, trapped gas. Fennel tea can also be really helpful for a bloat flare. And I actually find digestive bitters really helpful for a bloating flare because they kind of start that entire digestive process really from salivation down. So you can have some digestive bitters on hand for a bloating flare if you need to. And then also just focusing on eating really soft, easy to digest foods while you're getting out of the flare, trying to rest as much as possible, trying to decrease obligations in your life if you can, can be extremely helpful.

And then going back to the basics like we talked about, chewing food, et cetera. And also not skipping meals. I know that it's very easy to think, I'm so bloated and miserable, I'm just not going to eat until it goes away, but that's probably not the most helpful thing to do. So eat what you can, even if it's a cup of soup or something very easy to digest, but just not eating for a day is not going to be beneficial. So trying to get nourishment in where you can as well.

Nirala Jacobi:

Okay. I think this is where you and I have different experiences a little bit. It's good. It's good to have different experiences. So first of all, I think we're going to have a ton of resources at the end of this. I totally agree with everything you said in terms of all that. I do find sometimes resting the gut for a day and just water fasting can be beneficial in certain circumstances. Not for everyone, but for certain circumstances. Just if there are other issues. If it's just a simple bloat flare then they can take different things like activated charcoal for a day, for example. That's simple. But for some people that have more of an inflammatory underlying issue, then resting it can be helpful, I've found. So that's interesting that you haven't found it helpful, but we might just be seeing a slightly different patient base.

The other thing is, I have a video that I created a couple years ago called the carminative tea video. I'll put the link on it. It's on YouTube. It's a combination of fennel, anise and caraway seeds that if you bruise them and steep them and then drink that after each meal, that's actually really helpful to bind the gases. Completely agree with everything else you've said. The other thing I find is just also review your supplements. Sometimes people take new supplements that could be causing the bloat or have the prebiotic in there that can be causing issues, because prebiotics feed bacteria, that's what they're meant to do. And if you have SIBO and you've got products in there that are feeding your SIBO bacteria it's not going to be good. So something like that. But I think my favorite, just for a day of bad bloating, would be to use some sort of binder that is really helpful for just absorbing the gas. Have you found that as well?

Heather Finley:

Yes, definitely find that helpful. And I totally agree about the fiber or supplements. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a message from a client, "I'm totally flaring, I don't know what's going on." And I'm like, "Did you try something new?" And they're like, "Oh, I tried this new protein bar." I'm like, "Can you send me a picture of it?" And turns out it has like 10 grams of prebiotic fiber. And I'm like, well, no wonder you feel terrible. So it may be something simple like that. Or it could be a die-off reaction. I mean, there's so many things. So that's where the binders can be really helpful as well.

Nirala Jacobi:

Yes, very good. And I want to also say you've triggered my memory of the protein bars because a lot of the protein bars are like, xylitol sweetener.

Heather Finley:

Sugar alcohols.

Nirala Jacobi:

Yes. Can you talk to us about the sugar alcohols a little bit?

Heather Finley:

Yeah. Oh my gosh. I went on a rant the other day. Some of my friends were talking about some kind of keto ice cream thing that they found. And I ended up on this group text with a bunch of people, and they're like, "Oh my gosh, that made me so bloated. I've never been so gassy in my life." And it was a hilarious conversation. I didn't say a word because I was like, I just got to see where this goes. Finally, I chime in, I'm like, "Send me a picture of the label." And I get the label and it's like, I don't even remember. It had a ton of sugar alcohols.

And I'm like, "The reason you guys are gassy and bloated is because of this." And they're like, "What's a sugar alcohol?" And it just started this whole thing. But all the diet products out there, all the protein bars, all the keto products, typically are going to have some level of sugar alcohol, especially these kind of dessert substitutes. And people try them and they're like, I have never been so gassy or bloated in my life. And I'm like, well, yeah, there's really no way around that. That's just what's going to happen. So if you're trying to avoid bloat, avoid those sugar alcohols.

Nirala Jacobi:

So they're actually a FODMAP. They're in the group of polyols. So anything that ends with an OL typically is a sugar alcohol. So either that's erythritol, xylitol. What are some of the others? I can't even remember.

Heather Finley:

Sorbitol.

Nirala Jacobi:

Sorbitol. Those are the three most common. So just check your products. And also I'd say, so prebiotics, other prebiotics would include things like inulin, like fructooligosaccharides.

Heather Finley:

GOS, yeah.

Nirala Jacobi:

Yeah, GOS, or galacto-oligosaccharides. So those are wonderful prebiotic fibers that are more used, I'd say, in the microbiome restoration or recovery phase of your treatment and not when you're on an active SIBO treatment. So just be aware of that. Getting back to the binders for just a sec. So binders, charcoal is great for an acute flare, and I usually dose it about three or four tablets, three to four times a day, depending on how bad the flare is. Sometimes if it's a really specific flare with hydrogen sulfide, which we haven't really talked about, we've sort of peripherally talked about it, but I find sometimes bismuth-containing products can also be useful for that. But typically charcoal will do the job for just acute stuff. So just beware that your stools are going to turn black. That's normal with charcoal.

Heather Finley:

Big surprise.

Nirala Jacobi:

Yeah, just a little word of caution.

Heather Finley:

And same with the bismuth too. That can change your stool color as well.

Nirala Jacobi:

Okay, great. Fantastic. And then I think I had also a tip. I think you mentioned the yoga poses, I think those are great. We call them wind-relieving poses, so very aptly named. And part of that is not just positional, but you mentioned the exercise and really getting that diaphragm, when you're breathing and deep breathing in particular, your diaphragm is meant to massage the transverse colon, which is just going to move things along and stimulate more peristalsis. So get out there and get walking, get moving. That's a great tip.

Heather Finley:

And I kind of alluded to this with the peppermint tea, but I do find some clients find benefit from a topical peppermint oil, obviously diluted, like an essential oil that's diluted with a heating pad. Or I don't know your opinion on this, but castor oil packs can also be beneficial in a bloating flare as well.

Nirala Jacobi:

Absolutely. So that's interesting that you put peppermint oil. Because peppermint oil is great, that's a great tip to use an abdominal topical peppermint oil. But I've never used it with a heating pad because peppermint is so cooling. It would just be such an odd experience, like a-

Heather Finley:

It's kind of like Icy Hot.

Nirala Jacobi:

Icy Hot. It's icy hot, yes. But peppermint oil is fantastic for that. Yeah, massaging. Sometimes I mix it with a little almond oil because it can be really intense to put it straight on the skin, but that's a really good tip. Yes, I do use a lot of compresses or the old castor oil is a good standby. Or even just a heating pad, like one of those bean bags or wheat packs or so can be super helpful, or a hot water bottle. And if it's relaxing and relieving, then we already know it has this more contractive background. Because heat really relaxes the musculature. So if you get relief with that, then I would think also more in terms of other neurological relaxers in my experience.

Heather Finley:

What are your thoughts on a CBD cream? I know we've had some clients that swear by their CBD cream that also has peppermint in it as well. And they will actually use that when they're doing something like the I Love You Massage, and they love it.

Nirala Jacobi:

I have to absolutely check out the I Love You Massage. I'm not familiar with it. We're just about to get more access to those kinds of CBD products here in Australia. I've not really had a lot of experience with using it or recommending it, so that's really good news that that's another tip to try, if you've tried everything else, if you've tried all the things that we've mentioned in this podcast. I love topicals because it's not going to mess anything up and it's not going to interfere with anything. So that's always a great way to do it, especially if there's some peppermint in there. That's good.

Heather Finley:

Yeah, totally.

Nirala Jacobi:

Excellent. Well, Heather, this has been fantastic summary of the main ways of beating the bloat. Have you got any other little tiny pearls that you can throw in at the end?

Heather Finley:

Gosh, I'm like, what did we miss? I mean, there are so many rabbit holes that we could go down. But I think really the pearl is that I think sometimes we overcomplicate things, especially when you are in a state of panic when your digestive symptoms are all over the place. And so sometimes it is complicated. There's a lot of stuff going on and you kind of feel like you're playing whack-a-mole. But my encouragement to anybody listening, if you struggle with bloating or maybe you're in a bloat flare and this came at the perfect time, go back to the basics because you're never going to go wrong.

Going back to some of the basics that we talked about, and the basics are the easiest things to forget when you are in a flare. And so I know many of our clients find immense benefit from making themselves a little toolkit. They'll write it on an index card or on their notes app on their phone or wherever. And that way, then when they are in a flare, they have a resource list of things that they know that they can go to. So you can jot some of the things that we spoke about here, and next time you're in a flare or next time you need this, you can refer to the list. And it sometimes just decreases the panic a little bit because you feel like, okay, I have some tools right here at my disposal. I don't have to go searching for them.

Nirala Jacobi:

That's absolutely fantastic idea. And I forgot to mention, we are going to have the resources at the end in the show notes with all the different links, also Dr. Heather's contact details. And I have a bitters called Dr. Jacobi's Digestive Bitter Tonic that is just for this purpose. You can also find the link there. But yeah, it's been wonderful talking to you. And where can people find you and your resources?

Heather Finley:

Yeah, so thanks so much for having me. This has been so fun to do a podcast swap. But the best way to find me is probably on Instagram. That's where I hang out the most. My Instagram is Dr. Heather Finley, or my podcast is called The Love Your Gut Podcast. And there's links and everything in the show notes there. But really anything that you want to find, you can find on my Instagram, whether it's my book or my website or anything else. And I actually have a [inaudible 00:44:13].

Nirala Jacobi:

Tell us about your book.

Heather Finley:

Yeah, so I don't know when this podcast is being released, but my book is going to be available on January 3rd. It's called The Happy, Healthy Gut Cookbook, and it is a book all about understanding your digestive symptoms. There's tons of recipes in the book, and there's actually a really great toolkit in the back of a daily habits checklist and then a weekly reflection check-in. So if you're looking to really just establish basic habits to support your gut, that can be a great resource. But all of that is linked on my website, and it's available to order on Amazon. And I think in Australia, is it Book Depository where you can order Amazon books too?

Nirala Jacobi:

Amazon, Fishpond, all that. Yeah.

Heather Finley:

Okay. Perfect.

Nirala Jacobi:

Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Heather, for your time. And yeah, I did a podcast with Dr. Heather. I think it was the ileocecal valve, right? We talked all about the ileocecal valve. The famous ileocecal valve.

Heather Finley:

It was episode 29, if you want to go back and listen to it.

Nirala Jacobi:

Excellent. Thanks so much for your time.

Heather Finley:

Thanks for having me.

 

About Dr Heather Finley

Dr Heather Finley is a registered dietitian. She helps people struggling with bloating, constipation, and IBS find relief from their symptoms and feel excited about food again.

Heather struggled with her own digestive issues for nearly 20 years and understands first hand the impact that nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset have on digestive health. Gut health shouldn’t be restrictive, stressful, and all-consuming. She developed a simple way that individuals can reduce digestive symptoms and add foods back into their diet.

Dr. Heather has a doctorate in clinical nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health.

Her work has been featured in Mind Body Green, Yahoo! Life, and Very Well Health

 

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