Not Pregnant, Just Bloated

You know when you're reallllly bloated and you can feel people looking at you wondering if you're about to announce to your Facebook friends that you're three months pregnant? Maybe they don't actually think that but damn it feels like it, doesn't. Bloating can affect people in different ways, but realistically almost every women has to deal with it one day or another. Even the fit girls on Instagram who look like they've never had to deal with bloating a day in their life- yes, they get bloated too! For some women bloating can really drag your self confidence, believe me I know, but for others bloating can really be a painful issue. So, obviously I had to do some research to present to you some ways to reduce bloating, and the pain associated with it (and reduce the amount of people wondering about pregnancy).

Funny story for you all, just for a giggle. I've been getting some really random and weird anonymous messages lately, God knows why any one would bother (or have the time/ energy) but amongst the rude one I got a message telling me that all the working out I had been doing (obviously someone who watches my stories) was not working because I was still looking like I was halfway through pregnancy. This message was actually the reason I even looked up bloating in the first place- it was once I read the amount of women who deal with bloating that I even thought to write this post. So here is a thank you to that anon for some content ideas.

Disclaimer: I am most definitely not a professional in any capacity, merely a women who also has to deal with bloating and is not a big fan of it. For that reason I have done some research in order to present you this post. 

Firstly, if you are painfully bloated you should definitely be seeing your GP about it, if there is no medical reason for being bloated than it can be easily managed, which is what this post is for. Should you have a medical condition, don't even bother reading my post, just listen to your GP.

Extra gas in your stomach is the whole reason behind while you are so bloated (probably). Gas that is produced in the colon should ideally move through the body before being omitted or absorbed. Should it not have a smooth progression, well then hello bloated stomach that is uncomfortable and often unsightly. These gases are produced when we eat and drink, but since everyone is different and we all are not sensitive to the same foods, reasons for bloating are different for everyone. But while we can say that everyone is different and we're all sensitive to different foods their are some common culprits that you should look at when wondering why you are so bloated, and this list of ways to manage the bloat could help you out. 

  • Bubbles = Trouble. The extra gas in bubbly drinks such as soda, champagne and fizzy water can really bring on the bloat. Even diet sodas still have quite a few bubbles in them, so while you're doing less calories, you're actually making yourself bloated in the process. 
  • A common misconception is that drinks won't make you bloated- wrong. Have you ever had a big night involving too much alcohol only to wake up not only hungover but bloody bloated as well? Alcohol is a gut irritant, one of the worst, and mixing it with sugary mixers like cola and lemonade only makes it worse.
  • Ditch the straws. Not only is ditching the straws better for the environment, its better for the bloat too. By drinking through a straw you are allowing more air into you gut, more air means more bloating.
  • Don't eat and talk, didn't your mother teach you any better? Not only is it rude, but it allows more to be ingested in much the same way that drinking with a straw does.
  • Cruciferous vegetables are so good for you, but so bad for the bloating. Another misconception is that healthy foods don't make you bloated- wrong! Cruciferous vegetables contain raffinose, which is a sugar that in the stomach will remain undigested until the gut bacteria ferment it, hence why bloating can occur. These vegetables include kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts ect.
  • Lactose intolerance. Being intolerant to dairy seems to be a common theme. Foods such as cheese, milk and ice cream can often lead to the bloat life because the body doesn't have the necessary enzymes to break down lactose. However, you don't have to be lactose intolerant for dairy to bloat you. Around 65% of the whole population has a reduced ability to digest lactose.
  • Slow down with the sodium. Any foods that are high in sodium or salt are going to make you feel bloated due tot he fact that it causes your body to retain water.
  • Stress can actually cause bloating, weird hey? It has the ability to disrupt you muscular contractions that are responsible for moving the gas through your stomach. Maybe it is time to sort out what is stressing you out for the sake of your bloating. There is also some of our nervous habits that could be causing your bloat- habits such as chewing gum or gulping air when your anxious could be causing you to bloat.
  • Water is big one for heath and not just bloating obviously. The recommended intake is 6-8 glasses a day, which doesn't sound like a lot, but in reality is a bit of a stretch for some people. 
  • What prescription medicine are you taking? A prescription that has any kind of steroids could be responsible for your bloat. Steroids cause your body to retain water, so if you're taking them you would want to be reaching for foods with anti-inflammatory properties such as vegetables and nuts. Some medicine also includes lactose and sorbitol are often common bloating culprits.
  • Too much fiber. There is a very fine line between too much fiber that you're constipated and not enough fibre that you avoid bowel trouble and avoid bloating. The recommended amount of fibre in your daily intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men, but remember that is just a guide, you need to experiment and figure out your own body.
  • Be more active. I wasn't aware of the correlation between being active and bloating, but there is one and that explains why long days at my office desk are some of the worst bloating days for me. Sitting down all day can really slow down you digestion, therefore you can be "backed up" to put it one way. There are also certain yoga poses such as the cobra that can aid with digestion and help with bloating- so if no one in the office is going to look at you weirdly for whipping out your yoga mat maybe you should give it a go.
  • Sometimes there might not even be one food that is attributing to your bloat, instead it may just be down to fact that you ate too much of it. Not only do you now have a food baby, you've probably also got a bubble of gas that is causing you discomfort. Portion control and eating slowly can really help you out with this one. Chewing slowly will aid your body in the whole digestion process and it will also minimize the amount of extra air you are ingesting. Insufficient chewing has also been proven to make life a bit harder for your digestive system, making it more difficult to digest carbs.
  • Hot lemon water and some herbal teas are a life saver. Many people swear by these, so naturally I thought I would give them a go. Digestive teas seem to work if you have them straight after a big meal, or a meal that you know is going to make you bloated (for me anyway). The hot lemon water acts as a mild diuretic.
  • You could be getting a visit from Aunt Flo! In the lead up to your period you body goes through hormonal fluctuations which can cause digestive stress through issues such as excess gas and slower bowel movements.
  • Sugar substitutes. I noticed that when I was eating a lot of "fat free" and "sugar free" foods I was still getting bloated and it just wan't making any sense, why am I still bloated if I am not eating the sugar? Sugar substitutes is why. You intestines have a hard time digesting these substitutes, meaning they remain the bowel and draw water in, therefor increasing bloating.  
Don't forget to please see you GP should you think you have a medical condition. Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and even ovarian cancers can produce bloating. If you cannot seem to reduce your bloating see you doctor.