According to research, painful abdominal bloating appears to be common in women with pelvic pain and endometriosis, and causes considerable symptomatic distress. I know I looked like I was 5 months pregnant every now and then, and from what I hear around me, most of you do too!
So let’s talk about it in a bit more detail.
Wikipedia informs us that ‘bloating’ is any abnormal general swelling, or increase in diameter of the abdominal area. It makes your abdomen feel full and tight, which may cause abdominal pain. Whether it results in a visibly swollen stomach, or ‘just’ causes pain or discomfort, bloating is most commonly caused by the gases produced when we eat or drink. Gas is produced in the colon and ideally moves through the body before being emitted or absorbed. However, for some, the gas doesn’t have a smooth progression through the body, which is where issues arise.
But, bloating is not only caused by diet, irritable bowel syndrome or food intolerance for example, but also by menstruation, dysmenorrhea, polycystic ovary syndrome and ovarian cysts. Hm, no wonder we experience so much bloating, we’re potentially doubling up here!
Thankfully, there is quite a fair bit you can do to relieve bloating. First of all, adjusting your diet is highly recommended!
Drink plenty of water. An inadequate intake of water will cause excessive stomach bloating. Water benefits the body by aiding with digestion because it supports a majority of the body’s daily functions.
Avoid Dairy. Dairy products also contribute to excessive cramps, gas, and bloating. People who are intolerant to lactose products experience this effect even more than others.
Avoid or minimize intake of sugar, red meat, fatty or fried products, dairy (even when there is no lactose intolerance), solid chocolate, beans, coffee (regular and decaffeinated), alcohol, carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners. These are all foods that can cause bloating.
Furthermore, you can consider making the following lifestyle changes that should help alleviate bloating as well:
Take a walk after eating a meal. This is a good way to get the contents of the bowels to move along.
Regular exercise. Exercising releases hormones that work to encourage activity in the bowel.
Try Yoga. Certain poses, such as the cobra or hero, can help with digestion and improve bloating.
Quit Smoking. Smoking can cause a buildup of air that results in excessive gas and bloating. Plus, it’s incredibly bad for your health anyway, so you might as well kill two birds with one stone here!
Relax! Take time to chill out and sort out what’s causing you stress, it can disrupt the muscular contractions that move gas through your stomach.
Let us know how you have overcome your issues with bloating!
Note: If you are experiencing (severe) bloating, please seek professional medical advice and/or advice from an accredited practicing dietitian who specializes in allergies and intolerances to uncover the cause.