Do you feel uncomfortable after eating or drinking?
Do you feel anxious around mealtimes?
Do you feel stressed or down when you have to think about or prepare food?
These are all very common if you suffer from bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Bloating is often a symptom of a chronic underlying condition. If you feel bloated often, you might be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Many women deal with bloating and IBS symptoms. You’re not alone.
I have been there and it was not a fun place. I’m so grateful to my husband for supporting me through that time as well as my friend Lisa, a doctor who advised me to research and follow the FODMAP diet. I write more about my own experience later in this article.
WHAT IS BLOATING?
Bloating is a condition where your belly feels full, sensitive and tight, often due to gas. Your stomach area will look and feel swollen. You may want to fart a lot or need to go to the toilet often.
WHAT CAUSES BLOATING?
Symptoms of constipation:
- Poo that looks like pebbles
- Not feeling done after going for a poo
- Straining to start or finish a poo
Constipation can contribute to abdominal pain and bloating.
Gut sensitivity: Women suffering from IBS can be sensitive to gas, which causes pain, cramping and diarrhoea.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO): If you have had intestinal surgery and/or IBS with diarrhoea you are more likely to have SIBO, which can cause bloating. Basically the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria.
- Gastroparesis: This is when the digestive system is slow, which can cause bloating, nausea and even bowel blockage. Women are more likely to experience this and it may be linked to autoimmune diseases.
- Gynaecological conditions: Health issues with your uterus and ovaries may contribute to bloating. It is normal to experience more bloating around your period.
Changing your diet will help manage your symptoms.
The small intestine doesn’t absorb carbohydrates well so they ferment in the large intestine and produce gas.
Research from Monash University in Melbourne has shown that a low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet can effectively reduce the symptoms of gas and IBS.
A low FODMAP diet avoids the following fermentable, gas-producing food ingredients:
- Oligosaccharides, found in wheat, legumes and beans, onions and garlic
- Disaccharides, lactose found in dairy products
- Monosaccharides, including fructose found in apples and pears, and honey
- Polyols found in cauliflower and chewing gum, apricots and plums.
ELIMINATION DIET PHASE
The secret key to preventing bloating is understanding its cause.
Cut out FODMAP foods then introduce them back into your diet one at a time and then one group at a time in order to identify the food that is the issue.
If mild constipation is the problem, exercise and a fibre-rich diet with water may help.
Chronic constipation and other conditions like IBS or gastroparesis require a visit to the doctor.
MIND GUT CONNECTION
Happy mind, happy gut. Happy gut, happy mind. A symbiotic cycle.
Feeling stressed, anxious or depressed can lead to gut problems. Gut problems can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.
The mind-gut connection is real. It can be stressful to deal with long term pain and discomfort. You might feel helpless. Addressing any mental health problems, seeking help from a therapist can help.
Journaling about your feelings can be a great source of comfort and identify negative thoughts.
Regular meditation and breathwork to help manage pain can be effective.
Certain yoga poses and sequences can help manage bloating symptoms and relieve constipation.
Massage can help your mind, body and soul all relax.
THE LAST THING YOU NEED TO KNOW
I have experienced IBS first hand and understand the discomfort. I developed anxiety around planning and eating meals. I also found it challenging to manage pain as well as look after my children.
I ate potatoes and steak and carrots for 3 months!
I felt stressed and worried whenever we went out for dinner. What was I going to eat? And most importantly, where the he*l was the nearest toilet?
I found regular abdominal massage, breathwork, mindfulness and yoga as well as exercise helped, in addition to dietary changes.
If you are suffering from IBS symptoms I really feel for you from my heart to yours. You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t have to deal with it alone.
Please contact me to book an appointment. I would love to help and support you!