Common causes of belly bloating and what you can do to try and stop the symptoms

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Belt tight after eating certain foods?

The belly grows over the course of the day? You’re not alone.

Here’s what you can do about it.

Eat fast

If you rush out the door with a toast in your hand and then gulp down a sandwich at your desk, you’re probably gulping air with your food, warns Suzie Sawyer, clinical nutritionist (feelaliveuk.com).

“Instead of entering our lungs, some of this air enters our esophagus, then our stomachs and finally our intestines and colon, causing bloating.” Ideally, take your time and sit down to eat undisturbed.

Try to chew a bite about 30 times before swallowing.

Soft drinks








If you’re easily bloated, Suzie suggests swapping that coke for water.
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Carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide, and the gas can make your stomach bloat, says Suzie.

Artificial sweeteners in diet drinks only make the problem worse because they can be difficult to digest for many of us.

“Still water is the best drink of choice, while black, green, or herbal teas are good for digestion,” she says. And when you go out at night, try red wine or kombucha instead of beer or cider. They both contain compounds that stimulate good gut bacteria and reduce bloating.

Your period

Many women experience bloating just before and during their period.

“In addition to causing menstrual bleeding, research suggests that changes in progesterone and estrogen levels cause the body to retain more water and salt,” says Suzie.

“As a result, the cells of the body become swollen with the water, causing a feeling of bloating.”

Fight this by avoiding salty foods and refined carbohydrates (white flour and processed sugar) and stock up on foods high in potassium such as spinach, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, and tomatoes.

Lactose intolerance








Try replacing dairy products in your diet for a week if you think you are lactose intolerant.
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Some people do not have the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk. As a result, lactose ferments in the colon, producing large amounts of carbon dioxide and hydrogen which can cause gas and abdominal cramps.

Try to cut out all dairy products for a week and use milk substitutes to see if things get better.

Constipation

“The longer your stool stays in your colon, the more gas and bloating you have,” says Suzie.

“Slowly increase your fiber intake to add bulk to your stool, making it easier to pass. Be warned though, if you add too much and too quickly, bloating can get worse.

Drinking more water and exercising regularly will also keep your bowels moving, while twisting side to side can help reduce any gas that has built up in the digestive tract, he advises. -she.

If lifestyle measures don’t work, talk to a pharmacist about a stool softener or mild laxative as a short-term measure. If the problems persist, consult your general practitioner.




SCI

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common condition of the digestive system that can cause bloating, as well as cramps, diarrhea, and constipation.

“There is a theory that IBS causes a problem with bacteria in the gut and this, in turn, can create toxins that can cause excess gas,” says Suzie.

“Another theory is that the guts of people with IBS are less able to tolerate and carry gas.”

Try keeping a food diary to identify trigger foods (onions and garlic are common triggers) and Google’s low FODMAP diets.

Eat small, regular meals and set aside 30 minutes to eat to “digest” your meal, she adds.

Consider a probiotic supplement that survives stomach acid. Massaging the abdomen from side to side in circular motions can also help, while drinking mint tea can relieve trapped wind.

Fructose








Eliminate foods high in fructose, such as soft drinks, certain granola bars, and fruit
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A small Spanish study found that 72% of patients with abdominal bloating had some form of sugar malabsorption. The most common culprit is fructose, a natural sugar found in fruits, honey, and highly processed foods.

“Fructose is usually absorbed in the small intestine, but for people who are fructose intolerant, some get to the colon where the bacteria ferment the fructose,” says Suzie.

“This causes the release of hydrogen gas and methane, which causes pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea.”

Eliminate foods high in fructose, such as soft drinks, certain granola bars and fruits (such as prunes, pears, cherries, peaches, apples, plums and watermelon), apple juice and apple cider, pear juice, snow peas, honey, ice cream, chocolate and cookies containing fructose sweeteners.

When the patients in the study did this, 81 percent reported improvement in bloating symptoms after one month. (Don’t rely on sugar-free alternatives as they often contain ingredients that can make bloating worse).




Celiac disease

This is an autoimmune disease where the consumption of gluten causes the immune system to attack its own tissues, damaging the small intestine so that it is unable to absorb nutrients and causes gas and bloating. .

Following a gluten-free diet – even if you have mild symptoms – should provide relief and also prevent long-term complications of the disease.

“Try ginger tea or ginger ale to calm the stomach and help stop the cramps,” says Suzie.

Medication

Medicines known to cause gas and bloating include certain laxatives, antacids, antibiotics, antidepressants, statins, and some medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Some women who take birth control pills experience fluid retention as a side effect.

“Beware of multivitamin brands that contain sugars and ingredients that some people cannot fully digest, which can cause excess gas and bloating,” warns Suzie.

Talk to your doctor and see if your medicine can be adjusted.

PCOS

Altered hormones can cause fluid retention and digestive imbalance. So not only is bloating common when we have our period, but it also affects postmenopausal women and those with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

A study by the women’s health app Flo found that bloating was the most common symptom of the disorder, experienced by about 77% of people with the condition.

“PCOS bloating can be made worse by foods containing a carbohydrate called raffinose, causing more gas to be produced,” says Suzie.

“Being aware of trigger foods can help reduce your abdominal pain,” she explains.

Examples include asparagus, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Exercise can help by balancing hormones and controlling blood sugar.


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