Bloating: symptoms, causes and remedies

An article I came across suggests that bloating is becoming more and more common.  Up to a few months ago, I was a complete alien to the condition, but over the last few months I can assimilate to it.

What causes bloating?

7 Tips to prevent bloatingThere are a number of causes which can bring about bloating.  Bloating can come about as a result of eating too quickly.  It can also be as a result of over-eating or the food you are eating does not agree with your body.  (Having eaten a particular food all your life does not mean you cannot become intolerant to it). Women can also experience bloating during their menstrual cycle or as a result of fluctuating oestrogen levels during menopause.

What are the remedies?

  • avoid carbonated drinks, including fizzy water;
  • avoid drinking through a straw;
  • avoid artificial sweeteners;
  • do not chew gum, mints or boiled sweets;
  • control your salt intake to reduce water retention;
  • exercise regularly;
  • drink plenty of water.

Finally persevere;  give your body time to react to any approach you go for. Do not give up too quickly.  It may take two to three weeks for you to see results from any dietary changes.

What if symptoms persist?

If symptoms persist it’s best you consult your Doctor.  Bloating, constipation, diarrhea can all be as a result of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or other serious conditions.  If you are concerned, get yourself checked and follow doctor’s orders.

If serious conditions are ruled out, chances are that your doctor recommends a low-FODMAP diet.  Low-FODMAP is the latest trend for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS.

The acronym FODMAP stands for a string of difficult words I cannot pronounce – Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. Essentially what it means is, certain carbohydrates are not completely absorbed in the small intestine and by the time they get to the large intestine they ferment and cause gasses – resulting in bloating, and abdominal pain.

How can you live with IBS?

IBS is a chronic condition which can be managed through diet and medication.  It normally affects 20 to 30-year-olds.  However, that is not to say it cannot affect younger or older people.

You can control and manage IBS by following a low-FODMAP diet.  The Gastroenterology Journal says there is not enough evidence to prove this diet is guaranteed to work.  However, the Journal concludes that, “…  a diet low in FODMAPs effectively reduced functional gastrointestinal symptoms.”

What is a low-FODMAP diet?


One of the benefits of a low-FODMAP diet is to help alleviate IBS symptoms.  It will not eliminate the condition; IBS cannot be cured.

The diet lists a number of foods which IBS sufferers are meant to avoid completely or consume in limited amount.  On first looking at the list of foods to avoid, it may seem restrictive, but if you suffer from IBS, the diet may come as a blessing.

This article does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned about your condition, consult your doctor.

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How do you find out if you’re lactose intolerant?

When I asked my doctor if there are tests to find out if I’m lactose intolerant, he suggested I go by trial and error.  “There are tests” he said, “but they are expensive and not conclusive.”

What is lactose intolerance?

Am-I-Lactose-IntolerantLactose is a type of natural sugar found in milk and milk products. You are lactose intolerant when your body does not produce enough lactase – the enzyme needed to break down lactose.

What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?

If you are lactose intolerant, you may suffer from bloating, gas or cramps, rumbling tummy, diarrhea or vomiting from 30 minutes to two hours after drinking milk or taking milk products.  If one glass of milk makes you sick, it does not mean you’re lactose intolerant.  But if you get symptoms every time you take dairy products, it’s best you speak to your doctor.lactose-intolerance-diagnosis-and-management-2-638

Lactose intolerance in infants is not common.  It is more likely you develop the condition later on in life, as your body produces less lactase.  Lactose intolerance is not an allergy.  Milk or casein allergies are more severe.  The most serious reaction to milk allergy is anaphylaxis which can be life threatening.


How can I live with lactose intolerance?

There is no cure for lactose intolerance.  Different people react in different ways to lactose intolerance and what works for me does not necessarily work for you.  As my doctor said, it’s a question of trial and error.

You may find that you can take small amounts of dairy products without suffering any reaction.  Some people combine lactose products with other foods (eg. cereal and milk) to minimise or eliminate any discomfort.  If you are not sure how your body is going to react to a milk product, go easy and try it in small amounts.  Not all milk products contain the same amount of lactose.  You may find that you do not suffer any reaction if you consume milk products in limited amounts.

What foods contain lactose?

Lactose is found in a number of foods and medicines. It is not only found in dairy products such as, milk, ice-cream, butter, cream and cheese.  Certain breads, cereals, dressings, sweets and other food products may also contain lactose.


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