Not everyone is blessed with a flat, drum-tight belly. For some people, it’s common to hear “when are you due?” or to go up 3 trouser sizes in a single day. If feeling bloated, uncomfortably full or gassy is becoming a problem for you, you might start to wonder what on earth is going on with your body. Luckily this health issue isn’t just a random curse. Here are 7 likely reasons you’re bloated right now.
Bloating is essentially excess gas in the intestines. You could unintentionally be introducing this extra gas into your system when you chew gum, smoke, use a straw or drink carbonated beverages. In addition to cutting these habits from your life, make a point to chew more slowly and focus on breathing deeply and regularly throughout the day.
You’ve just overeaten
If you’ve put away a massive meal with seconds, dessert and a few glasses of wine, your digestive system is likely just struggling to process it all. Avoid feeling stuffed by having smaller, more frequent meals, or try a soothing cup of peppermint tea after dinner.
You’ve eaten bloat-causing foods
Excess gas can also come from tiny bacteria in your gut digesting and fermenting the sugars in the food you eat. Some foods can be particularly gas-producing, so avoid these if you’re prone to bloat. These foods include all brassicas (cabbage, brussels sprouts and cauliflower), high sugar fruits (apricots and grapes) and legumes (beans and peas). Avoid them or try a digestive enzyme after meals.
Your gut is unhappy
Do you bloat regularly, no matter what you eat? Are you bloating even on an empty stomach? Chronic, painful bloating can suggest a more serious gastrointestinal disorder. Your gut flora may be badly out of whack or you may be battling an infection. Arrange a visit to your GP as soon as possible, especially if you’re experiencing other symptoms.
You have a food sensitivity
You don’t need to be fully allergic to experience bad reactions to certain foods. Take note if bloating occurs after eating wheat, dairy, or a particular additive. The solution here is simple: avoid eating this food.
You’re eating too much salt
Bloating can occur when your entire body is retaining water, and the most likely cause is excess sodium consumption. Train yourself to eat meals without adding salt, and avoid eating processed or ready meals, as they’re often loaded with sodium. Make sure that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day with plenty of liquids, too.
For some women, bloating comes and goes with their monthly cycle, and variations in hormone levels can lead to a few uncomfortable, bloated days. Soothe bloating associated with PMS or menstruation with an anti-inflammatory and a warm bath.
Keep a “bloat diary” and try to identify the underlying cause. Bloating can result from genetic peculiarities in the way you digest food, and if you’re carrying a little extra weight, bloating may feel even more uncomfortable. But unless you have a medical disorder, ridding yourself of bloating and discomfort is just a matter of treating your system with a bit more gentleness and consideration than usual.