Why am I bloated?

24 September 2014 by
First published: 28 September 2014
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We’ve all suffered from a belly like a balloon, or seriously embarrassing wind, but the question still remains unanswered, why are you bloated?

We all experience bloating at times – some of us more than others, but if bloating is troubling you everyday, and it seems to happen regardless of what you eat, then you might be suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Sufferers try an average of five new products to relieve their symptoms each month

Registered therapist and chair of BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy), Miguel Toribio-Mateas, says, ‘IBS is Britain’s most common digestive complaint, affecting nearly a fifth of the population. Despite the growing prevalence, the condition is extremely poorly managed: a recent survey of IBS sufferers revealed that over two thirds of sufferers have received no helpful advice from their GP regarding symptom relief and those affected try an average of five new products to relieve their symptoms each month. Despite this, over 50% are still left battling the embarrassing and debilitating symptoms long-term.’

There are ways you can manage the condition by yourself though, but first of all let’s investigate the symptoms of IBS?

  • Abdominal pain and cramping – often relieved by the emptying of the bowels
  • A change in bowel habits – such asdiarrhoea, constipation, or sometimes both
  • Bloating and swelling of your abdomen
  • Excessive wind (flatulence)
  • An urgent need to go to the toilet
  • A feeling that you need to open your bowels even if you have just been to the toilet, or a feeling you have not fully emptied your bowels
  • Passing mucus from your bottom

How do you get diagnosed with IBS?

Miguel says, ‘There are no specific tests for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), as it doesn’t cause any obvious detectable abnormalities in your digestive system. Because the true cause of IBS is unknown many GPs will conduct blood tests, physical examinations and checking that a patient’s symptoms match those of IBS.’

What are the best ways to cope with IBS?

Blogger, Chantel Blake, advises, ‘You’ll need to change your lifestyle, and, to really reduce your symptoms, so they are almost non-existent, you’ll need to be persistent. Through persistence you will build new habits. This is not going to be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.’

Top tips to relieve IBS symptoms and bloating, from Miguel and Chantel

  1. Stop stressing

Miguel explains, ‘It’is thought that IBS sufferers experience increased sensitivity to stress and anxiety, making it important to try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Regular exercise not only helps you to de-stress but also helps gas pass through the digestive tract more quickly, so you feel better faster. Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques have also been found to reduce the severity of symptoms.’

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