Stomach bloating can greatly diminish your quality of life if you experience it regularly. Among other things, the painful stretching sensation can derail your social life, leaving you doubled up at home. If you are regularly experiencing bloating, it may signal that an underlying condition is the culprit.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive issue that produces bloating.
“It’s usually a lifelong problem. It can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on your everyday life,” explains the NHS.
According to the health body, the bloating of IBS does not seem to be linked with excess wind.
“It’s thought to be down to erratic propulsion of contents through the bowel,” it says.
According to research, the majority of IBS patients experience bloating, and about 60 percent of them report bloating as their worst symptom, scoring even higher than abdominal pain.
There’s no cure, but diet changes and medicines can often help control the symptoms.
One of the worst offenders are indigestible carbohydrates called FODMAPs.
Numerous studies have shown that FODMAPs can drastically exacerbate symptoms, such as bloating, in IBS patients.
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Common high-FODMAP foods include:
A low-FODMAP diet, on the other hand has been shown to lead to major reductions in symptoms such as bloating, at least in IBS patients.
According to Harvard Health, the low-FODMAP diet is meant to be undertaken in three phases.
“In the first phase, all high-FODMAP foods are eliminated from the diet for an extended period of time, often four to six weeks,” explains the health body.
In phase two, you systematically reintroduce restricted foods, noting how well you tolerate increasing quantities of the foods you’re reintroducing, notes the health site.
“Phase three is the personalisation phase, in which you only avoid foods in quantities that cause symptoms,” it adds.
Other causes of bloating
Bloating can also be attributed to less serious causes, such as unhealthy eating habits.
According to the NHS, one key tip is to try not to swallow too much air.
How? Do not 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,” advises the health body.
Occasionally, bloating may warrant a visit to the doctors.
The NHS explains: “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, it warns.
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