Tackle your bloated stomach

Tackle your bloated stomach
Highlights

Do you struggle fitting in the new jeans you bought, even though you haven’t gained weight, or you are upset before an office party when your stomach feels bloated? Everyone wants to get a flat stomach, but maybe the excess soda or that basket of chips, has left you feel full and bloated.

Do you struggle fitting in the new jeans you bought, even though you haven’t gained weight, or you are upset before an office party when your stomach feels bloated? Everyone wants to get a flat stomach, but maybe the excess soda or that basket of chips, has left you feel full and bloated.

Abdominal bloating is a condition that doesn’t only make you feel bad but can also cause physical discomfort which can be easily avoided. Bloating and weight gain can be from a variety of causes. It is essential to first look for and rule out systemic causes like kidney, heart or liver ailments.

Rarely, blockages (due to cancer, scar tissue and twisting of the intestines) can also give you a sense of fullness. Once we rule the major ailments by visiting a good gastroenterologist, symptom control can be achieved.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is sometimes the culprit. Simple things like inability to digest milk products or a lack of certain enzymes can also give you a similar feeling.

Here are a few tips to help you tackle stomach bloating:

Drink plenty of water
Apart from hydrating your body, water can be very helpful in making your digestive system work better. You can drink a glass of water half an hour before eating. This will help in easy digestion of the food.

Avoid constipation
Too little fiber in your diet or lack of proper physical activity can often result in bloating. It is important to have a fiber rich diet (25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men). This can include grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Check for wheat allergies or lactose intolerance
Food allergies and intolerance to certain ingredients can often cause gas which further leads to bloating. If you suspect you are suffering from any allergy or intolerance, consult your doctor immediately.

Try probiotics
Probiotic supplements contain yeasts and bacteria that are similar to those that are in a healthy gut and can help in digestion. Probiotics also help in reducing bloating that can be caused by diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome or difficulty in digesting fiber.

Avoid carbonated drinks and sugar-free foods
The fizz in carbonated drinks (even diet ones) can cause gas to get trapped in the stomach. Instead, you can drink water flavored with lemon, lime, or cucumber. You can also try some peppermint/ gingerroot tea for a soothing beverage that may help reduce bloat.

Also, bloating can also be caused by consuming too much sugar in artificially sweetened food and drinks. You should not consume no more than two or three servings of artificially sweetened foods and drinks per day. (The writer is a Chief of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospitals)

By Dr. Govind Nandakumar

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