Beat the bloat

June 22, 2016: Get rid of bloating by cutting out fizzy drinks and foods that cause wind. Sit down to eat and take regular exercise. Most of us have experienced the feeling of being bloated, when your tummy is stretched, puffy and uncomfortable. It often happens after a big weekend or over a festive season. But for some people, bloating is more than an occasional inconvenience.

If your stomach or tummy often feels bloated, it could be due to:

  • excess wind
  • constipation
  • swallowing air (from talking while eating etc)
  • Coeliac disease
  • food intolerance
  • irritable bowel syndrome

Excess wind and bloating

Cut down on foods known to cause wind and bloating, such as:

  • beans
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • sprouts
  • cauliflower

But make sure you still eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

READ ALSO: Feeling bloated? Stop eating these inflammatory foods

Constipation and bloating

If you get constipation, take steps to prevent it with a fibre-rich diet, drinking lots of fluids and taking regular exercise. Even a 20-30 minute brisk walk four times a week can improve your bowel function.

Swallowing air and bloating

Try not to swallow too much air. Don’t talk and eat at the same time, sit down to eat (sitting upright and not slumped over), reduce the amount of fizzy drinks you consume, stop chewing gum and chew with your mouth closed so that you’re not taking in excess air.

Coeliac disease and bloating

Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where your intestine can’t absorb gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.

Pure oats do not contain gluten, but people with coeliac disease may need to also avoid oats as they are often processed in factories that also process wheat and there is a risk of cross-contamination.

Apart from bloating, if you have Coeliac disease, eating foods containing gluten can also trigger diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue.

See your GP for a blood test if you suspect you may have Coeliac disease.

There is no cure for Coeliac disease but, once the condition has been diagnosed, switching to a gluten-free diet should help.

Food intolerance and bloating

Food intolerance can lead to bloating when:

  • Your bowel doesn’t empty properly.
  • The food causes gas to be trapped.
  • Too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food.

The main offenders are wheat or gluten and dairy products. The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the culprit food or cut it out completely.

Keep a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything that you eat and drink and when bloating troubles you most. But don’t get rid of food groups long-term without advice from your GP.

READ ALSO: 7 reasons why you should consume lemons everyday

Irritable bowel syndrome and bloating

People with irritable bowel syndrome often complain of bloating, especially in the evening. The bloating of IBS doesn’t seem to be linked with excess wind. It’s thought to be down to erratic propulsion of contents through the bowel.

It can help to cut down on fatty or high-fibre foods. Peppermint tea or capsules and probiotics have also been reported to help ease IBS symptoms.

If your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition. Bloating, and a persistent feeling of fullness, are key symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Source: NHS

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