Bloating. It’s uncomfortable, irritating and often unpredictable, characterized by tight clothes, painful swelling and frustrating persistence, despite doing all the ‘right things’. But did you know that bloating affects the body and mind in a number of ways beyond the physical discomfort we feel?
What is bloating?
Bloating occurs in the abdomen when parts (or all of) the gastrointestinal tract (also known as the GI tract) are filled with air or gas.
Bloating is most often characterized by swelling, stomach pain, tenderness, discomfort and gas, but it may also be accompanied by additional symptoms such as belching, rumbling, gurgling and cramps. Bloating can be infrequent and last for short periods of time or become persistent, for some people occurring on a daily basis.
Bloating can be difficult not just physically, but also psychologically. Severe bloating can cause clothes not to fit properly (or at all), and often affects confidence and self-esteem as well as the ability to carry out daily activities.
Why does bloating occur?
The causes behind bloating can be numerous and are not always easy to identify. Sometimes the trigger for bloating is as simple as eating a certain type of food, or a brief indulgence despite a known food intolerance. But sometimes the underlying triggers behind bloating are more complex. Some of the most common causes of bloating include:
*Eating too much
*Swallowing air when eating
*IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) including IBS-C (with constipation) and IBS-D (with diarrhea)
Bloating can also be a result of a more serious underlying condition, such as infection, gastroparesis, Crohn’s disease and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. If you’re struggling with persistent bloating and any additional symptoms it’s important to consult with a physician to ensure nothing more complex is behind the bloating.
How bloating affects your body
Bloating doesn’t feel good – but it can also affect us in a number of additional physical and emotional ways. Some commonly reported side-effects of bloating include:
*Lack of confidence and lower self-esteem
*Poor appetite or feeling full
*Constipation and/or diarrhea
*Restricting food or adopting a restrictive diet
*Elevated levels of stress and anxiety
*Wearing baggy, loose-fitting clothes or elasticated trousers
Over time, prolonged bloating can trigger a knock-on effect of habits resulting in additional digestive symptoms or concerns, representing a vicious cycle that can be tricky to break free from.
As bloating has many different causes, it’s important to first identify the cause of bloating before trying specific treatments. Some general guidance and advice to help with infrequent or persistent bloating includes:
*Eating slowly and mindfully (avoiding the intake of air during meals and overeating)
*Avoiding gas-promoting foods and fizzy drinks
*Increasing physical activity
*Avoiding foods you have an intolerance to, such as dairy
*Avoiding chewing gum
*Reducing salt and sugar intake
*Reducing alcohol consumption
Certain holistic treatments and therapies may also help with bloating, such as:
*Warm salt baths
If you find that following the general advice doesn’t affect your bloating, or bloating becomes particularly painful and is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to consult your doctor who can run tests to determine what’s behind the discomfort you’re feeling.
Beat bloating with Belly Fix
Our unique Belly Fix blend was developed specifically to support digestion and soothe digestive discomfort such as bloating and cramps. Adopting an inside-out approach to gut healing, Belly Fix focuses on repair and recovery with ingredients shown to actively work to alleviate leaky gut. Delicious and easy to incorporate into your daily routine, with consistent use Belly Fix can help to combat persistent digestive issues such as bloating and abdominal cramps.