In medical terms, bloating refers to the condition where the stomach feels full and tight, often, due to the presence of gas.
There are numerous causes for this condition. They include other gastroenterological conditions like constipation, gut sensitivity that comprises Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), certain gynaecological conditions, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and gastroparesis – a condition that delays the emptying of the stomach – among others.
Around 1 in 6 individuals without a health problem – and three in four people with IBS – report bloating.
While medication may be administered to treat bloating, there are many steps patients can take to treat and prevent this condition. Should any of these require a significant modification of an individual’s lifestyle, a doctor needs to be consulted.
Increasing fibre intake in a gradual manner
When it comes to the prevention of numerous gastroenterological conditions, fibre is a nutrient that plays an important role. This is because fibre prevents constipation and bloating.
Patients must take caution not to increase their fibre intake too quickly. Doing so can exacerbate the original condition, resulting in more gas and bloating.
It is best to start slow and begin a gradual increase of this nutrient in an individual’s daily diet. This allows the body to adjust to this change in a more healthy manner.
Eating at regular intervals
For those suffering from chronic bloating, another recommendation that doctors make is that patients eat at regular intervals.
Instead of consuming big meals a few times a day, individuals should try to eat several smaller meals, which keeps the digestive system in constant operation.
Further, it’s also important that food is chewed carefully so that excessive air is prevented from entering the digestive tract. Straws must be avoided as far as possible, given that drinking from a straw can also lead to more swallowed air – a cause of gas and bloating.
Ruling out the possibility of serious medical conditions
Because bloating could be the result of a number of serious medical conditions, patients need to make sure that they get these diagnoses ruled out before making any lifestyle and dietary changes.
Apart from the causes mentioned above, bloating could be a symptom of another health condition that requires immediate attention. This includes inflammatory bowel disease, ovarian cysts, and Crohn’s disease, to name just a few.
If this is the case, receiving medical attention and treatment may reduce or completely eliminate bloating.
Maintaining a low-FODMAP diet plan
Among the many recommended treatments for bloating, following a low-FODMAP diet is an effective strategy. FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate that’s present in certain kinds of food.
Given that IBS is one of the most common causes of bloating, this type of diet is known to assist in reducing symptoms of IBS, including bloating. Certain sources state that a diet with lower levels of FODMAPs may improve symptoms in patients with IBS.
Food items that contain high levels of FODMAPs include wheat, cabbage, onions, beans, apples, pears, watermelons and artichokes, to name just a few.
Exercising care with sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols are the sweeteners found in sugar-free food products. If present in a large quantity, these can cause certain digestive issues in a patient’s body. This is because the bacteria in the large intestine digests them and produces gas.
They’re also considered to be FODMAPs. Patients should take care to avoid varieties of sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol.
Considering probiotic supplements
One of the major causes of bloating is the gas produced by the bacteria in the intestine. Colon bacteria are one such type of gas-producing bacteria.
Probiotics are a beneficial type of bacteria within the digestive system. Its presence has demonstrated a decrease in colon bacteria. Taking probiotic supplements can help boost the presence of the former, regulating the amount of gas being produced inside the stomach.
Treating and preventing bloating reduces discomfort and improves digestive health
Bloating is a common condition among many individuals, yet, it doesn’t have to be the case. By consulting experienced gastroenterology specialists from the Sydney Gut Clinic, patients may be able to understand what causes this condition and receive effective treatment to prevent further bloating.
Before patients who have previously been diagnosed with any kind of medical condition follow the tips set out above, it’s crucial that a healthcare expert is consulted.