IF YOU FEEL BLOATED
Feeling bloated is a common problem that many women experience. Here are a few possible causes.
- CHANGE OF DIET
The average Western diet is low in fiber and often low in fruits, vegetables and beans.
Starting a healthy diet which contains more of these foods will often cause temporary bloating.
This is a very temporary and usually lasts no more than 2-3 weeks until your body adjusts.
Meanwhile, to alleviate discomfort, try the following:
- Slightly reduce your consumption of beans.
- Substitute cooked vegetables for raw vegetables.
- Eat your fruit mid-way between meals, not immediately before or after.
Note: If you are prone to feeling bloated and you are starting a new healthy diet, try to implement the changes more gradually than normal. This will give your body more of a chance to adjust.
- PRE-MENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS)
Bloating is one of the major symptoms attributed to women affected by pre-menstrual syndrome.
It can begin up to a week prior to menstruation and disappear completely the day your period begins.
The body produces higher quantities of progesterone before a period starts. This acts as a muscle relaxant, allowing the gut to expand and fill up with air. Fluid retention is also a contributor making women feel puffy and bloated.
The stomach, fingers, hands, breasts, underarms, face can feel puffy, tender and bloated.
Cut down on salty snacks like crisps, salted peanuts and processed foods. A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, will help. This will give the body a good supply of potassium which helps maintain the body’s fluid balance. One of the best ways to reduce fluid retention is to drink plenty of water to keep the system flushed out. Taking a vitamin supplement B6 may also help.
Also called dyspepsia, indigestion can cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable after eating a meal.
Poor eating habits, overeating, high-fat foods, gulping down food, eating when you are not relaxed, eating when you are feeling angry, anxious or tense, spicy foods.
Pain in the chest, between the ribs, belching, wind, bloating, nausea.
The best treatment is something which many us no longer do – take regular, unhurried meals!
- Do not go for long periods without eating.
- Try eating smaller portions but eat more often.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet which is low in fat.
- Antacids will help to relieve symptoms but unless you change your eating habits
indigestion will re-occur.
- IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)
What is it?
IBS, is a term used to describe a range of symptoms that indicate that the bowel is not functioning properly. These symptoms are distressing but are rarely a sign of anything serious. It affects twice as many women as men.
Stress, irregular eating habits, food intolerance, gastric flu, antibiotics (or anything which upsets the normal balance of gut bacteria).
Bloating, wind, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea.
Can be a bit hit and miss. You may have to try several things before you find what works for you.
Many doctors recommend a high-fiber diet including wholegrain cereals and bran, but this can make bloating worse unless you increase your fluid intake to match the extra fiber.
Good sources of fiber which do not cause bloating are: apples, pears, dates and oats. Avoiding spicy foods and coffee will help. Foods such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lentils, pulses and foods that contain the sweetener Sorbitol can cause wind and bloating if large amounts are consumed.
Stress worsens IBS, so finding time to exercise and relax will be of benefit.
- OVARIAN CYST
What is it?
Ovarian cyst is a swelling of the ovary, containing fluid. Ovarian cysts are fairly common particularly in women aged 30-60. They may be single or multiple and can occur on one or more ovaries. Thankfully, most are benign.
The cause of most cysts is unknown.
Cysts may grow quietly and cause no symptoms until they are found on routine examination. On the other hand they may become large enough to cause abdominal distension. Swelling in the lower abdominal, sometimes pain during sex can indicate an ovarian cyst. Some become twisted and cause severe pain, nausea and vomiting.
Some cysts disappear naturally while others require surgical removal.
If you suspect you may have an ovarian cyst, see your doctor immediately.