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“Congratulations, when is it due?”

Always a lovely sentiment.  Unless, well, you’re not pregnant.  The apparent baby in your stomach is just yet another day spent dealing with a mysterious and embarrassingly bloated stomach.  

Bloating is an awkward symptom to experience. Not only does it make you feel like you need to hide your shape, it can make simple tasks awkward and uncomfortable. Caused by excess gas, a bloated stomach can often be a symptom a food intolerance that you may not be aware you have.  Yes, really!  There are some people who go their entire lives without even realizing that they have a food intolerance, so it might be something to think about.

What is a bloated stomach?

This is somewhat of an obvious question, but understanding a bloated stomach and how it relates to food can show you just how important it is to deal with it properly.  Firstly, how is bloating defined?  According to scientific studies, there are four parts of a bloated stomach, which could involve a sensation of the stomach ballooning out, distention within the abdomen area, volume or mass within your stomach’s contents and activity within the abdominal wall [1].  These all sounds pretty fancy, but bloating doesn’t necessarily have to be feeling as though you 7 months pregnant.  It could feel like you have a solid mass within your gut, or just that the lining of your stomach feels inflamed.  It depends on the person and the severity of the bloating.

What causes a bloated stomach?

There’s been quite a lot of research done on the main causes behind a bloated stomach.  Some studies suggest that it is due to a weakening of the abdominal wall, which is also responsible for a lot of digestion-related issues as well [2].  Other studies find that the kinds of food that we eat can be responsible for creating bloating as well as common side effects such as flatulence [2].  These foods could include beans, watermelon, stale foods or salted food.  Of course, overeating is another common cause of bloating that can be relatively easy to fix.

Do I need to deal with my bloating?

Realistically speaking, most people want to deal with stomach bloating.  That’s why you’re here and reading this after all!  It’s more than just enjoying your clothing and streamlined figure, though.  A lot of recent studies suggest that bloating — especially on a regular basis — is connected to a lot of panic disorders, severe depression an even sleep problems [2].  So, there is more to bloating than just the appearance of a distended stomach itself.

The first step to properly dealing with your stomach bloating is to adjust your eating habits.  This means smaller portions and avoidance of extremely fatty foods (like the mentioned options above.  You’ll also want to consider a food intolerance test to see if there are underlying issues you don’t know about.

Taking a food intolerance test and identifying the foods causing you bloating can have an incredibly positive impact on your wellbeing overall in ways that you might not even think about. Have look at the different parts of your life that will be improved by simply taking an intolerance test.

Benefits of dealing with a bloated stomach

Work

Both physical and desk work can be impacted by a bloated stomach. When performing manual labour, for instance, bloating can cause breathing difficulties as well as feelings of nausea. This can lead to decreased physical performance which may cause your manager or coworkers to feel as though you aren’t giving work your full attention. Desk work can be challenging as well, since trying to focus on a mentally challenging task can be made all the more difficult by the discomfort caused by a bloated stomach. Being sedentary all day will also mean the excess gas stays in the stomach longer for even longer-lasting symptoms.

Exercise

Lifting, running, swimming, jumping, and other preferred physical activities can all be severely affected by a bloated stomach. Being able to complete the full range of motion during an exercise is vital to maximising the benefits of your workout, and if you have a big, bloated stomach getting in the way, you can’t complete the exercises correctly. On top of this, bloating will mask the results of your hard work, which just feels like a slap in the face!

bloated stomach exercise

Social life

When you’re out with friends, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up tagged in photos on social media. Even in the best photos, you’ll find yourself tainted by insecurity about your appearance. How many times have you known people look at a photo of themselves and say ‘Oh my God, I look so fat’ even though they’re generally in great shape?  Exactly.  A bloated stomach should not get in the way of making memories with friends, dear readers.

What’s the fix?

Some studies tell us that there is no specific quick fix for bloating [3].  While this is true in and of itself, there’s more to the story than that depressing detail.  Realistically speaking, addressing various lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet adjustments, sleep schedules and even environment can have a worthwhile impact on helping you deal with stomach bloating [2].  If you want to make sure that you are doing everything that you can, you should also take a look at taking an intolerance test NOW so that you can get the full picture that you need for a better, bloat-free life.

References

[1] Rao, S.S., 1997. Belching, bloating, and flatulence: how to help patients who have troublesome abdominal gas. Postgraduate medicine, 101(4), pp.263-278. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S001650850501348X

[2] Naseri, M., Babaeian, M., Ghaffari, F., Kamalinejad, M., Feizi, A., Mazaheri, M., Mokaberinejad, R. and Adibi, P., 2016. Bloating: Avicenna’s perspective and modern medicine. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 21(2), pp.154-159. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2156587215622915

[3] Schmulson, M. and Chang, L., 2011. The treatment of functional abdominal bloating and distension. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 33(10), pp.1071-1086. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04637.x