If anyone were to look at my google search right now, it would be awfully embarrassing. Bloating, digestion, gas, and poop ( yes poop ) are probably my most google searched topics. Topics that many people don’t want to talk about but affect everyone daily. So let's end the stigma against bathroom talk and get down to the nitty gritty of bloating, why it sucks, and how to fix it.
Cramps, gas, burping, a swollen stomach, and pain are just a few symptoms of bloating. Why does this happen and how can I make it stop? The symptoms of gas and bloating can be simple, yet complicated. After researching and dealing with my own digestive issues, I have come up with a short list of causes and how to treat bloating when it occurs.
- Overeating - I noticed that when I ate very large meals in one sitting, my body had a hard time digesting causing discomfort and bloating. Eating smaller, more frequent meals is easier on the gut and the digestive process.
- Eating Too Quickly - Slow Down! It is important to chew food fully in order for it to break down making it easily digestible. Also, try not to talk while you eat. Talking while eating will cause you to swallow more air which can cause stomach gas and bloating.
- Chewing Gum - this was a BIG one for me. Gum is my sweetest downfall. Oh, how I love you yet you cause me so much pain. Gum requires you to swallow more air and is filled with artificial sweeteners that can reek havoc on your stomach.
- Carbonated Drinks - another weakness of mine is that bubbly bubbly. Unfortunately, carbonated drinks contain sweeteners and the ability to create trapped air pockets in the intestines, causing you to feel discomfort, gas, and bloating. If your body is not reacting well to carbonation - tea, juice, and water are a few better alternatives.
- Fruits & Veggies - Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and apples contain sugar and starches that are hard to break down by the body. If you feel discomfort, try eating these foods in small portions, cook your veggies instead of eating them raw, and make sure you are home for the night if you DO decide to eat a bowl of brussel sprouts :)
- Sweeteners - Many sweeteners and artificial sugars are hard for the body to digest. If you are experiencing discomfort, make sure to check the label to see if maybe this is the culprit! i.e. soda, gum, diet foods, sugar free food.
- Too much fiber - Fiber is necessary for normal bodily functions but too much can cause cramping, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. Slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet and make sure you are drinking PLENTY of water!
- STRESS! Stress puts a great deal of pressure on your stomach and abdomen. Try to find things that will help you feel calm and peaceful. I.e., taking a warm bath, meditating, yoga. etc.
- Dehydration - DRINK WATER! I know it sounds crazy but dehydration can actually cause you to bloat, so stay hydrated!!!
- Food Allergies - It is possible to have a food allergy that you are unaware of. If you are unsure of what the cause could be, I suggest keeping a food journal to help figure out the culprit!
Other Helpful Remedies:
- Probiotics: good bacteria that will help balance out your system.
- Herbs & spices: peppermint, ginger, dandelion, fennel, dill, and chamomile.
- Light exercise: go for a walk after a meal. Exercise to keep your body moving along properly.
- Do not lay down after eating
- Loose clothing during times of discomfort
It may seem complicated and a bit frustrating trying to figure out the cause of your discomfort. Through trial and error (and patience) I was able to figure out how to beat the bloat. I still get bloated and feel discomfort ( what can i say, I love soda) but now I know my triggers and what to do when it occurs. As always, seek a doctor or medical attention if pain persists and does not seem to get better.