What I Wish I’d Known About Bloating. Feeling Weak & Bloated
After the New Year, I regained my focus on weight loss and began a healthier eating regime. I was doing well, or so I thought, until after a few days I began feeling bloated and then my perceptions changed. It seemed like nothing I did would relieve this awkward feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt like someone had attached a bicycle pump to my stomach and filled it with air.
After a few days of bloating, I had to look for some causes and remedies for my problem. Feeling bloated was not an enjoyable experience and I believe the information that helped me solve the problem will be able to help others in a similar predicament or perhaps help some readers from avoiding this completely.
Bloating, by definition, is an unpleasant abdominal fullness or distension which is normally due to an intestinal sensitivity or a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, as much as 11% of people complain of frequent bloating.
I ruled out IBS and looked to determine what was causing my intestinal sensitivity.
Are You Constipated?
If your bloating is accompanied by Constipation, you need to take action to help your body pass through the problem.
A gradual increase in fibre rich foods can loosen the constipation and can also relieve the bloated feeling in your abdomen. Begin to incorporate foods such as fruit, some vegetables (exceptions later), wholegrain cereals and bread, wholemeal pasta and brown rice.
It is important that this increase is gradual as consuming too many fibre rich foods can cause bloating. If you subject your body to a sudden increase in fibre your bloating may actually get worse.
Dehydration is also a possible cause of constipation. Ensure you are drinking enough water to keep your body hydrated. Your stool is mainly water and if your body does not have enough, thow shalt not pass. Many sources advise drinking 8 glasses a day, I find this is not enough for me, particularly when exercising and tend to drink a lot more water to keep my body hydrated.
Are You Swallowing Too Much Air?
You may be thinking, what a stupid question. I can see why you would think that, how can you swallow too much air; you need air to breathe and to stay alive. You can in fact swallow too much air.
If, for a number of reasons to follow, you take in too much air, your body will try to get rid of it.
It’s amazing how smart our bodies are.
Much of this excess air comes back up the windpipe and is expelled, politely known as belching. The excess air not expelled through the mouth will pass to the intestines and normally expelled through the rectum (flatulence) however in some cases the air becomes trapped in the intestines, causing that darned bloated sensation.
You could swallow too much air by:
- Talking while eating.
- Drinking through a Sports cap or Straw.
- Drinking, or gulping, water from a fountain.
- Eating on the move.
- Chewing gum.
- Eating when upset.
Essentially if something is causing you to eat or drink too fast, it can potentially lead to distension.
By being more conscious of how, where and why you are eating or drinking what you are, you may be able to stave off a nasty bout of bloatedness.
Believe me you want to avoid this feeling.
What have you been eating?
Some of the foods we eat are known to cause bloating; this can be confusing, especially since many of them fall into the “fibre rich” category.
- Vegetables such as; cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, turnip, sprouts and onions
- Beans and lentils.
- Chewing gum and hard candy.
- Foods which contain Sorbitol (low fat carbonated drinks) and added fructose.
- Foods with a high salt content (causes water retention).
These foods should be either excluded, substituted or reduced in your diet to help relieve abdominal problems.
Are You Drinking Too Much Carbonated drinks?
The gas contained in these fizzy drinks can become trapped in the stomach giving the bloated sensation. To make matters worse, many “diet” drinks contain sorbitol which if consumed I high enough amounts can have a laxative effect while maintaining the stomach discomfort and causing an excess of wind.
Are Your Abdominals Weak?
Weak abdominal muscles can cause a progressive worsening of the bloating feeling throughout the day, you may feel okay in the morning however this worsens as the day progresses. Lying down has been shown to relieve the effects of bloating.
To prevent this problem, look to develop your abdominals more. Try tightening your stomach muscles a few times a day, pull your belly button towards your spine and take short breaths. You may also want to consider performing some crunches or Planks to develop your core muscles more.
Have Some Tea
A commonly given remedy for bloating is to have some Chamomile or peppermint tea. Both have been shown to ease the digestive system and relieve the bloated feeling. It’s a relatively simple and effective remedy for an awful feeling in your gut.
Hopefully with the knowledge of the cause of bloating you will be in a better position now to prevent it from occurring in the future.