The Science Behind Bloating

The Science Behind Bloating

The Science Behind Bloating

Bloating – that time when your stomach feels full and looks distended after eating – is a common symptom of Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID). It may also be a symptom of other underlying conditions. 

If you have CSID, bloating is directly connected to some of the foods that you eat. Before we talk about the connection between bloating and CSID, let’s first discuss when and how bloating happens.

The Science Behind Bloating

Why Is My Stomach Bloated?

Bloating is a common gastrointestinal symptom that is described as abdominal fullness, pressure, or a sensation of trapped gas in the stomach. When you experience bloating, it’s possible that your belly will even look bigger at times. Bloating occurs for several reasons that may either be linked or unrelated to an underlying disease. 

Some of the common conditions that cause bloating include constipation, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and monthly gynecologic cycles. Surprisingly, excess gas does not always lead to bloating, but some people are more sensitive to the presence of excess gas. When bloating is related to intestinal gas, it can be caused by consuming foods known to generate gas, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts or fiber-rich foods; carbonated beverages; or simple carbohydrate foods.

But if you have CSID, bloating may be directly caused by eating foods that contain sugars, because when you eat food containing sugar, it can’t be properly digested and absorbed from the digestive tract.

Typically, the small intestine produces two enzymes, sucrase and isomaltase, which support the digestion of table sugar (sucrose) and some starches. However, for those of you with CSID, the small intestine doesn’t produce enough of these enzymes that are able to digest sugar.

Though gas, bloating, and diarrhea can occur after eating sweets or sugary foods, it’s also the naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables that CSID sufferers can’t digest. Sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, carrots, and mangoes all contain high levels of sucrose, which aren’t digested and absorbed by those with CSID. 

Due to faulty enzyme production, individuals with CSID have undigested sucrose that travels to the large intestine where it becomes food for the more than 100 trillion bacteria that are naturally present there. This bacteria digest sucrose and other undigested carbohydrates by a process called fermentation, which produces gas that builds up in the intestine, and may cause bloating in the stomach, along with watery diarrhea.

Bloating, Gas, and Diarrhea: What’s the Connection?

When undigested sucrose moves into the colon, the presence of the food draws water into that area. Consequently, the excess water causes your bowel movements to be more liquid than solid.

Overall, digestion is a complex process that may be easily disrupted. Bloated stomach and diarrhea, as well as painful gas in the intestine are some the unpleasant symptoms that may signal CSID or another problem with digestion. 

If you experience frequent episodes of bloating, gassiness, and diarrhea, take the Sucrose Intolerance quiz* and see a gastroenterologist to help identify the root cause of your symptoms.

*This quiz is not a diagnostic.

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Sucrose Intolerance May Be More Common Than You Think