We’ve all felt bloated at one time or the other. Bloating happens when gas gets trapped in
the gastrointestinal tract causing the abdomen to feel tight, look larger and can also
sometimes feel painful.
Some of the common causes of bloating are overeating, eating too fast and eating rich, fatty
food that is harder to digest. Constipation can also be the cause of bloating. Besides these,
bloating can be caused by conditions like IBS, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth),
and some gynaecological conditions.
One of the main causes of bloating is typically your food and diet. Take a look at the foods
that could be causing you to bloat. Typically this is dairy, gluten, certain sugars or alcohol.
When you aren’t able to process these foods, they get fermented by bacteria and produce
gas in your intestine. Start by eliminating these foods, one by one, from your diet to identify
if they’re causing you discomfort. If bloating is accompanied by mild constipation, opt for a
fibre-rich diet and increase water intake. Bloating can also be caused by hormonal changes
like from periods and water retention.
For immediate relief from discomfort and pain, you can try the following:
- Go for a walk or mild physical activity
- Yoga poses like happy baby, child’s pose and squats can relieve trapped gas.
- Peppermint capsules or gas relief medication from your local pharmacy can help
with indigestion and gas
- Abdominal massages can help with bowel movement. Movement in the direction of
your large intestine helps. Place your hands above the right hip bone, moving in a
circular motion upwards to the right side of the ribcage, straight across the upper
belly towards the left rib cage and down towards the left hip bone. If this causes any
pain, discontinue immediately.
- A warm, relaxing bath can reduce stress levels and help with bloating
Changes in lifestyle and habit can help as well:
- Increase fibre intake gradually. Fibre helps prevent bloating and constipation. The
recommended daily intake of fibre is 25 grams (g) for females and 38 g for males.
- Avoid sodas, carbonated drinks, sugars, artificial sweeteners and chewing gum.
These all contribute to building up gas in the stomach and cause bloating.
- Add exercise and eating at regular intervals into your lifestyle. Exercise helps
introduce movement into the body and release sodium and water retention. Drink
plenty of water to keep hydrated, dehydration makes bloating worse. Eating smaller
meals at regular intervals allows for better digestion, remember to chew properly
and eat slowly to avoid swallowing air. Cutting down on salt also helps with water
retention which can make you feel bloated.
- Introduce good bacteria to your stomach with probiotics
- Opt for dairy-free supplements, for instance with protein powders, choose vegan,
gut-friendly options like Origin Nutrition that is 100% natural with no added sugar,
no dairy, no nut, no soy, no gluten and is non-GMO.
If the bloating, pain and discomfort persists or if it is accompanied by other symptoms like
lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea, it’s important to consult a doctor to rule out any
medical conditions like IBS, Chron’s, PCOS, amongst others.