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Bloating might seem like a pretty non-serious condition to those who don’t suffer from it, but many women have spoken out to try and change how they view the issue.
It often starts just after eating and your stomach starts to churn and rumble very slowly. That’s when you’ll know that twenty minutes later you’ll look at least six months pregnant and feel almost as bad. Chronic bloating is a condition which many people, particularly women, suffer from and it can completely ruin the lives of those affected. And still…people just laugh it off when someone says that they are bloated.
What are the symptoms of a bloated stomach?
Peter Whorwell, professor of medicine and gastroenterology at the University of Manchester, says: “We think the gut is over-sensitive in IBS sufferers so its normal processes cause the symptoms.”
“Cutting out cereal fibre eases symptoms by between 30% and 40% in the majority of sufferers,” says Professor Whorwell.
Probiotics might help the symptoms.
IBS tends to usually be worse towards the end of the day and it can often disrupt your social life. Most people just have to learn what foods and drinks make their bloating worse and try to stay away from them. Doctors tend to provide laxatives or anti-diarrhoeas in the long term.
If you’re passing a lot of wind and it’s making you feel uncomfortable you should try and cut out foods that are high in non-absorbable carbs like beans, pulses, broccoli, cabbage, prunes, apples and foods that contain sugar-substitute.
Nutrition consultant Ian Marber says: “Eat food slowly and remember to chew. Without chewing, food is more likely to pass into the gut partially broken down and there’s a higher chance it will ferment and produce gas.”
3. Coeliac disease.
You can often feel tired for no reason and suffer from abdominal pain. Coeliac disease is a reaction to gluten which is found in foods like pasta and bread.
It’s an autoimmune condition where your body mistakes substances in gluten as a threat and attacks them.
It’s usually diagnosed in children but can be undiagnosed into middle age. If you have any symptoms, go to your doctors and get it tested.
4. Hormonal fluctuations.
This could happen if you’re premenstrual or in the early stages of pregnancy. Hormone levels of progesterone are raised during pregnancy and before menstruation so you should try and exercise and drink a lot of fluids, eat vegetables and whole grains to avoid constipation.
5. Ovarian cancer.
If you’re constantly bloated and feeling full then you should go and see your doctor.
Target Ovarian Cancer chief executive Annwen Jones says: “Key symptoms are bloating that is persistent rather than coming and going and increased abdominal size. Look out for persistent and frequent abdominal pain, difficulty eating and urinary symptoms.
“It’s unlikely your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it’s important to be checked out.”
Bloated stomach remedies:
- Learn what makes you bloated.
- Try not to get stressed.
- Boost your good levels of bacteria.
- Avoid heartburn.
- Drink more water.
Fitness blogger Tiffany Brien took to Instagram to share a picture of her bloating on a bad day to help educate her followers on just how uncomfortable it can be.
She captioned the photo: ‘No I’m not 6 months pregnant. It’s just my food baby…These two photos are 12 hours apart, left before bed and right when I woke up…. I know right!!’
Fans could not believe just how different her body looked on the bloating vs non-bloating photo.
One girl told the Metro that during the past year, her bloating had been so bad she could hardly walk and had to ask her parents to collect her from work. She has had to cancel several evenings out because her clothes would not fit around her bloated tummy and has been reduced to tears after eating certain foods. She describes the pain as ‘excruciating’, and deems it ‘not just bellyache’ but severe and intense pain.
Even after eating healthily and working out, bloating can make you feel fat, poorly and terribly uncomfortable. After being tested for all kinds of conditions, from Chrones to Coeliac, this lady was never diagnosed properly with anything wrong with her and doctors dismissed it as ‘just bloating from stress’.
She admits that after cutting out carbs and alcohol, the bloating sometimes gets a bit better, but then again, sometimes it doesn’t. But there are so many other women who complain of bloating and have been offered no true, practical solution. From cutting carbs to advising to be less stressed, women from across the world are still at a loose end.
Geeta, who is 26, said that her bloating ‘lasts for over a week sometimes’. Whilst she has attempted to combat it with pills and herbal remedies, nothing does the trick.
Women have found because the doctors tend to not take bloating as a serious condition, they, themselves have avoided going to get a diagnosis.
Lisa, told Metro that: ‘I’ve actually never gone to the doctor about it and maybe that’s because I don’t take my own bloating seriously.’
Food and fitness blogger Becky Saunders, who has suffered with chronic bloating, has tried to manage her condition but cutting out many different types of food. Recently she has resorted to a ‘FODMAP’ diet.
This diet advises to cut out most carbs, lots of veg and fruit which is high in sugar. Of course, this diet is very limited and when it comes to eating, it is pretty boring. But many women suffer so badly from the bloating that they will try anything just to prevent it.
Becky Saunders suggests that doctors should change their outlook on bloating, she advises that ‘the NHS goes about it all incorrectly. They don’t focus on the reasons causing bloating. I only saw male doctors before I was referred to a specialist.’
She identifies the problem as male doctors who do not empathise with female experiences and bloating. She stated that most male doctors she had seen dismissed her bloating as anxiety or stress without a proper justification.
But after being tested for all kinds of different ailments and being left completely undiagnosed, where do you go from here?
One woman has found that keeping diaries of what you have eaten may be able to monitor what foods trigger your bloating. For example, she has not eaten bread as it causes her excruciating pain twenty minutes after eating it.
Because of the severe physical discomfort and the serious mental problems caused from bloating, women across the UK have called out for more scientific into the research of the root cause of bloating. Whether it be hormonal or food-related, women who suffer from the condition urge biological scientists to conduct more research to help them once and for all.