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Digestive health
Stop the bloat
Abdominal bloating can be uncomfortable and debilitating.

21.01.2014 - With this common complaint, the abdomen feels uncomfortably full and tight, may be visibly swollen and can be accompanied by excessive flatulence, burping, or abdominal rumbling.  Discomfort can range from mildly sore, through a dull ache, to being so uncomfortable that it severely interferes with the sufferer’s work, home and social life.

There are apparently over 40 possible causes of abdominal bloating and although that includes several serious conditions such as cancer, liver disease, kidney failure, congestive heart failure or an ectopic pregnancy, the most common causes are much less severe and many are easily manageable with a few lifestyle changes. 

The most prevalent reasons for a distended abdomen include heartburn; irritable bowel syndrome; lactose Intolerance; intestinal parasites; anatomical abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract; celiac disease; premenstrual tension; overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel; gallstones; and a reaction to certain medications or sugar substitutes.

However, constipation, indigestion, overindulgence in alcohol, swallowing air as you eat and eating too much and too fast can also be causes, and are simple to rectify.  

Obviously it is important to have all chronic symptoms (those that last over 12 weeks) checked by a doctor, though meanwhile, if you have reason to believe your bloating may be down to lifestyle, there are several ways of tackling it.  For instance, always eat slowly, chewing your food well and not talking too much as you dine; try cutting down ‘gassy’ foods such as cabbage, broccoli, prunes, apples, dried beans and lentils; try not to drink too many fizzy drinks; lose weight if you are overweight; drink peppermint tea; and walk more – it is extremely good for digestion.

However, always consult your doctor if the bloating is accompanied by any of the following: severe pain; blood in the stools or dark, tarry looking stools; diarrhea; worsening heartburn; vomiting or unexplained weight loss.


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