We’ve all felt it: that too-full feeling you get in your belly. But it’s not always from eating too much. Does your body hold on to too much water? Is it something you ate? Or could a health issue be behind it?
Get rid of bloating by cutting out fizzy drinks and foods that cause wind. Sit down to eat and exercise regularly.
Most of us have experienced the feeling of being bloated, when your tummy is stretched, puffy and uncomfortable. It often happens after a big weekend or over a festive season.
But if you are experiencing persistent bloating, it may be caused by a digestive problem or issues with your diet.
If your tummy often feels bloated, it could be due to:
Swallowing air (from talking while eating etc)
Irritable bowel syndrome
Excess wind and bloating
Cut down on foods known to cause wind and bloating, such as:
But make sure you still eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Constipation and bloating
If you get constipation, take steps to prevent it by adding more fibre to your diet, drinking lots of fluids and exercising regularly. Even a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk 4 times a week can improve your bowel function.
Swallowing air and bloating
Try not to swallow too much air. Do not talk and eat at the same time, sit down to eat (sitting upright and not slumped over), reduce the amount of fizzy drinks you consume, stop chewing gum and chew with your mouth closed so that you’re not taking in excess air.
Food intolerance and bloating
Food intolerance can lead to bloating when:
your bowel does not empty properly
the food causes gas to be trapped
too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food
The most common foods to cause problems are wheat or gluten and dairy products.
The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely.
Keep a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything that you eat and drink and when bloating troubles you most. But do not get rid of food groups long-term without advice from your GP.
Coeliac disease and bloating
Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where your intestine cannot absorb gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.
If you have Coeliac disease, eating foods containing gluten can also trigger diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue.
See your GP if you suspect you may have Coeliac disease.
There is no cure for Coeliac disease but, once the condition has been diagnosed, switching to a gluten-free diet should help.
Irritable bowel syndrome and bloating
People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often complain of bloating, especially in the evening.
The bloating of IBS does not seem to be linked with excess wind. It’s thought to be down to erratic propulsion of contents through the bowel.
When to see a doctor
If your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition. Bloating and a persistent feeling of fullness are key symptoms of ovarian cancer.