Bloated Stomach – the main reasons and quick remedies.
With the party season in full swing, it is time to dust off our LBDs, ladies, or – even better – shop for the new ones☺ Today in the healthy gut blog we are starting to cover a very common issue that often gets in the way of looking and feeling our best – and that is BLOATING.
A very frustrating side of living with IBS-D, other digestive tract conditions or just having a sensitive stomach in general, is that no matter what size you are, you can never guarantee your tummy will ‘look good in it’ because you can never guarantee it won’t bloat on the day – or can you?
We recently came across this quote from beautiful Jasmine Jonte aka @IBSwarrior on Instagram where she says:
“…You CAN figure out what’s causing your bloating. Stop telling yourself it’s inevitable/never goes away/ is consistent. What you tell yourself is what comes to be true. Start saying “My body is giving me clues as to how to help it… Bloat(ing) is something that EVERY HUMAN goes through. Because there’s a label “IBS” involved, it’s very easy to blame that rather than just a fact that you’re a human and you bloat sometimes”.
Flat stomach challenge: why am I always bloated?
When solving a problem of persistent bloating, looking at possible causes and addressing them using a process of elimination would be a safe approach.
Swallowing too much air when eating
Often it can be as simple as that. Some of the air we swallow with food and drink can be brought up by burping, but some will go further to disrupt our digestion, bringing unwanted flatulence and bloating. That is a very good reason not to eat too fast or on the go. Avoiding carbonated drinks would also fall into this category, as well as chewing a gum. Drinking through a straw is another common way of getting an unwanted air in – like we needed any more reasons to give a miss to this pollutant!
Eating too much
OK, this one does sound funny, as in the modern world with easily accessible rich foods we probably all overeat from time to time, overloading your digestive tract with too much to process. Splitting your meals into smaller portions eaten more frequently may do the trick. Do you also know that feeling of wanting to have a nap after a big lunch? Well, don’t fight it if you can – having a little snooze will actually make you feel better, unless of course you are at your work desk, where midday napping is frowned upon.
Types of food you eat
One is never fit for all, when it comes to food advice. Things like white bread, beans, nuts and cabbage are often named as offenders in cases of bloated tummy. Cooking vegetables can be a good starting point. Raw foods, despite their clear benefits in vitamins and nutrition, do take longer to digest. Bacteria in our gut produce gas when they help us to digest the food we eat. The longer digestion means more gas.
Eating more fibre is often given as an advice for improving digestion, however, if in your case the bloating is not accompanied by constipation, increasing fibre intake may make things worse, especially if excessive gas is present.
If you have an allergy or intolerance such as to lactose or gluten, they can often cause an irritation to the mucous membrane in our intestines and cause bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. While the diagnosis is to be made by a doctor, you can always try simpler steps – opting for yogurt with your cereal instead of milk as it contains less lactose or for rye bread instead of the wheat as it has less gluten – see if it makes things better.
Our minds and bodies do work together. A 2011 study in brain, behaviour and Immunity suggested that stress alters the structure of the gut microbiome and a 2012 study indicated that gut bacteria can affect our stress responses. Bloating along with other unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhoea or constipation, can be easily caused by stress and anxiety, so keep your meditation mats to hand and see if relaxing mind will help to relax body, the digestive system being an important part of it.
IBS, IBD and other disorders of the digestive systems
Bloating can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. One in five people in the UK suffer from IBS at some point in their lives, with women twice as likely to be affected as men. While living with the condition is a challenge, there are ways to help your body: positive approach – what we started our article with, a thought through diet and a careful choice of medication (link to Enterosgel) help greatly in controlling the symptoms.
In our next post we will cover the subject of bacterial imbalance – something which you hear a lot about when it comes to disturbed digestion and bloating – stay tuned!