This post was written by Rene Simard, a regular reader and visitor to Lose Weight Feel Great. Rene is a mom of two wonderful kids, Andre a 8-year old boy and Julie a 12-year old girl. Rene lives in the United Kingdom.
Don’t you hate it? Your bloated. Again.
Your tummy is stretched beyond what it was when you were pregnant. You feel puffy, and uncomfortable and are biting at anyone that crosses your path. No, it’s not PMS (maybe it could be) but all you want is to be left along and perhaps curl up and sleep it off. While bloating happen to men, and women it seems to affect women more than men. Bloating can be characterized by distended stomach, and puffy skin to a tender abdomen. Ouch! It is any wonder why women can be so cranky? According to experts, you know doctors and such, bloating is caused by excess gas or blockage (yeech) and swelling of the belly caused by fluid retention.
For men, a quick trip to the washroom (or not) and a few explosive (and generally very rude) noises and they’re done with it – usually. But for women, well we have our dignity to keep and unless we’re in deep seclusion (and even then few women will ever do it) we may “let it rip” – don’t snicker ladies, you know you do it!
But what causes gas and bloating anyways? Is it strictly hormones? Is it the food we eat? Can stress cause or contribute to gas and bloating? What about medications?
The answer is no, yes, yes, yes and yes. If you are counting there is an extra yes in there. Let me explain.
There are several causes of bloating. The first is food intolerance. Many people have certain foods that will not sit well with them, the most common are foods like cheese, breads, vegetables and even acidic foods like oranges, grapefruit or juices like orange juice. Other foods that may cause intolerance are wheat or gluten, dairy products, caffeine, alcohol and citrus fruits.
Food intolerance can cause excess amounts of gas to be produced in the gut as a reaction to the food – for example, I get a reaction to ketchup or tomatoes – it tends to swell my tongue so I keep away from it. Bloating could also be caused by other serious underlying issues such as fluid build up in the gut, constipation or even an undiagnosed pregnancy (yes, that can happen).
If you’ve found that it’s certain foods that cause gas and bloating – it’s best to try avoiding them. Within a few weeks of not having those foods you should see your body get back to normal. You should never cut out foods entirely, especially if they are important to good health and nutrition so it’s always best to work with your doctor so that the both of you can determine the best course of action.
The next cause of gas and bloating is dehydration. Yes that’s right – not getting enough water into your body. Not getting enough fluid can actually lead to fluid retention and bloating. Fluid retention can be made worse by eating salty foods and other diuretic drinks like caffeine, alcohol, fizzy drinks and fruit juice which encourage the cells to suck water in which of cousre leads to bloating. How do you combat dehydration and bloating? Drink lots of water. Eight to ten glasses a day. There ladies, now you have yet another reason to drink water – not just to lose weight but to combat bloating.
Third up is IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. Nasty. It affects millions of people and can lead to a painful, bloated stomach as well as other symptoms like wind, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn and nausea. In people with IBS, bloating is due to excess wind trapped in the abdomen because of a blockage or over-production of gas.
Some ways to tread IBS include changes to the diet to to include more fibre (wholegrains, fruit and vegetables) and cutting out any foods which might be triggering symptoms. Some foods which may cause problems are spicy and fatty foods, cheese, citrus fruit, green vegetables, onions and leeks, beans, lentils, chocolate and other high sugar foods, fruit juice, alcohol, milk, red meat, coffee and refined carbohydrates.
For some people, peppermint tea has relieve symptoms in some cases. Again you should speak to your doctor.
PMS – guys, you can stop reading now. Women – keep going… some women experience bloating due to fluid retention at some point in their menstrual cycle. For most women this is because of higher levels of the sex hormone progesterone. For women atleast in these caes, sometimes fluid retention is not confined to the abdomen and breasts but can also affect the face, ankles and hands. Caffeine, wheat and salt are all diuretics, which trigger the cells to hang on to fluid, so cutting back on them can help reduce fluid retention. As well as not adding salt to meals, and cutting back on processed foods which are high in salt. Stick to eating lots of fruit and vegetables which contain fluid-reducing potassium.
Finally something called candida can also cause gas and bloating. Not something that I understand well but something that the National Candida Society does:
Candida is a yeast which grows naturally in our bodies but in some people certain factors – like stress, hormone imbalances and over use of antibiotics – can lead to overgrowth which can cause a range of symptoms including tiredness, headaches, digestive problems and bloating.The good news, says Christine Tomlinson of the National Candida Society, is that diet and supplements work to alleviate symptoms in over half the people affected. A diet to combat candida is based on reducing sugar which effectively starves it, halting growth. Dairy products and wheat may be reduced or cut out completely.In addition, anti-fungal drugs (or herbs) are taken to kill the overgrowth and acidophilus supplements given to re-populate the gut with ‘friendly’ bacteria. If the condition is longstanding, it might be necessary to take some multivitamin or mineral supplements to build up the body’s immune system.For more information on practitioners, treatments and tests contact the National Candida Society on www.candida-society.org.uk
Some medications also cause gas and bloating, in fact too much antibiotics may also cause gas and bloating as can some blood pressure medications. If the reasons for your gas and bloating are caused by medications, speak to your doctor to see if there are alternative medications available or if there are other ways to control, reduce or eliminate the problem.