• Masarat Jilani

Backed by doctors: quick fixes to beat bloating

From gut cleanses to juice detoxes, you’ve probably heard of a lot of “quick fixes” for feeling bloated. But most of these so-called “quick fixes” can actually make your life more difficult. Restricting what you are eating to the extreme is not good for your health and can cause damage. That’s why our quick fixes are evidence-based and recommended by doctors. These fixes make sure that you stay healthy overall while beating that bloat! The best bit? Using these fixes will not only stop bloating but if you start doing these every day, bloating should never bother you again!

Follow this 5-step plan to beat the bloat and live your life bloat-free.

Step 1: Understand the bloat

Bloating is something that almost everyone can get at some point in their lives. It’s that feeling of pressure in your tummy and you may feel like your belly is stretching. This can lead to feeling uncomfortable. It may only happen to you after a three-course meal or you may experience it all the time. There are four main reasons why scientists think bloating may happen.

1. Gas

You may already feel like your bloated tummy is full of trapped wind and that’s because certain food types remain partially undigested when they reach the small intestine and are then broken down by bacteria which produce the gas as a by-product.

2. Water in your small intestine

Some foods especially sugars like mannitol and fructose can cause the small intestine to absorb more water, this then leads to it increasing in size which may contribute to a bloated feeling.

3. Constipation

If your bowel is not emptying then the bowel contents themselves can build up and cause bloating. The same can happen if you’ve eaten a large meal and you haven’t had a chance to open your bowels yet. This happens due to the pressure of the contents themselves and also because as the contents stay in your bowel longer, they start to ferment and produce gases.

4. Fermentation products

Gas is only one of the by-products of fermentation in the gut and some of those products may make your gut more sensitive. This potential cause of bloating still needs to be researched further.

Occasional bloating is a normal part of life but if it is bothering you very often or the occasional bloat is causing you a lot of discomfort then you may have an underlying health problem like IBS where your body is more sensitised to gut sensations or coeliac disease where you have gluten intolerance.

Step 2: Should you speak to a doctor?

The most common causes of bloating include excessive wind and constipation. In some people, they can be linked to IBS, food intolerances, or coeliac disease. But bloating can sometimes be a symptom linked to a more serious health condition. This is especially the case if you are female and develop bloating over the age of 50 since it could be a sign of ovarian cancer. That’s why it’s always important to see your doctor and have some blood tests if you start experiencing bloating more often. It can help rule out serious conditions and allow you to get ready to tackle the cause.

Step 3: Treat excessive wind:

Do you find yourself passing wind way too much? Sometimes people don’t realise that breaking wind is normal and on average people can fart between 5-15 times a day. But if your wind is becoming problematic then there are ways to deal with this.

  • ·Chew your food slowly- this could be incorporated with mindful eating which is a great way to help you to de-stress as well! Really savour the taste of the food and be in the moment. Using all five senses to appreciate the smell, taste, and texture. If you get distracted, just refocus back onto the tasty task at hand!

  • Eat smaller meals, more often- The key here is not to overload your body with too much food at once.

  • Drink some soothing peppermint tea- This stuff is so good for the gut and can help as a lovely quick fix for bloating related to wind.

  • Reduce intake of foods that cause bloating and gas such as beans, cauliflower, and cabbage. You could also try eating these vegetables with an enzyme like Beano or Bean-zyme which should make them produce less gas.

Step 4: Stop swallowing air

Trying to reduce the air you swallow which then gets into your gut is a good way to try to reduce bloating. Once again, a mindful eating approach where you do not talk while you are eating really helps with this. If you really love to have a chat while you eat, you can take breaks from eating to talk. Chewing gum, chewing the tops of pens and smoking are all ways that excess air can become swallowed.

Step 5: Treat constipation

This requires a full guide to itself but some of the easiest ways to try to reduce constipation are through drinking enough water and staying hydrated. Also eating enough fibre rich foods which are found in fruit and vegetables. You could also try some laxatives, but it is best to discuss these in detail with a doctor.

Step 4: Rewire your brain and your body

This may seem very advanced, but it is actually pretty simple and one of the best things you can do to beat bloating. The biggest reason most people experience bloating, especially if they have IBS, is because of the way their body is reacting to normal bowel activity. This happens due to a number of factors including things like chronic constipation but also the effect of stress on the gut through the gut-brain axis. You can read about our gut-brain hacks here.

This leads to visceral hypersensitivity which is when your gut changes in response to stress signals, chronic constipation or even food poisoning and changes the way it handles gas and how you feel when there is gas production. This hypersensitivity can be reduced through CBT and hypnotherapy and that is what the Zemedy program does! It tackles different behaviours and promotes stress management to allow your brain and body to re-wire! The best part is that all of this can happen without restricting what you eat!

Step 5: Love your body and learn acceptance

When you are feeling bloated this in itself can cause negative thoughts about your body image and you may feel like you are lacking confidence. These thoughts can lead to you feeling down and perhaps even ashamed of your body. These feelings can then lead to behaviours like avoidance which make the situation worse and worsen visceral hypersensitivity.

We know that it can be hard to love your body, especially when you are feeling bloated but why not try wearing some bloat-friendly clothes which are loose-fitting but still make you feel fabulous. If you want to read more about loving your body in 2021- read it here!

Bloating is far more than a nuisance but hopefully, through using these 5 steps you can beat the bloat in the moment and work on rewiring your body and brain so that bloating never bothers you again!

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