If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, side effects can leave you feeling nauseated and bloated. Understand how to stop IBS bloating.
Does your stomach blow-up like a balloon by just looking at cheese? If you’re left clutching at your stomach after the most random intake of foods, this is a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Up to 15% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of IBS on a regular basis. It’s not only uncomfortable but downright painful and can even affect your mental state in the long term.
The exact cause of IBS may differ from one person to the next, so it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact solution for IBS bloating. For now, here are a few methods worth trying to help manage your symptoms…
Common Causes of IBS Bloating
At present, there is no known cure for IBS. This is because experts are still trying to nail down the exact cause. But the gut is a very complicated part of our anatomy and there are a number of variables at play when it comes to digestion.
Some of the most common symptoms of IBS include stomach bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea and stomach cramps. You could suffer from just one symptom or all of the above at the same time. This is where determining the exact cause becomes tricky.
What we have learned in recent years is that IBS is most likely caused by a few common factors, including:
- Food allergies
- A gut bacteria imbalance
- A hormonal imbalance
- The overuse of medications
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Your overall diet
There are several methods known to help alleviate or manage the symptoms of IBS – let’s find out what they are…
How to Manage IBS Bloating in 7 Simple Steps
Keep in mind that what works for one person, may not work for another. The reality is that managing your IBS is largely based on trial and error, there’s no right or wrong way. Here are a few proven steps that have seen success:
1. The Low FODMAP Diet
Originating in Australia, and created by Monash University, the FODMAP diet is well-known in successfully treating IBS. FODMAP represents a group of short-chain carbohydrates that aren’t properly absorbed by the stomach, which can trigger IBS symptoms. The most common of which include bloating, stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhea.
FODMAPs are found in a plethora of different foods, so following this diet means you’ll need to cut these foods out in order to avoid the triggers. These foods range from wheat, garlic, onions, honey, apples, dairy and cashew nuts.
It’s best to speak with a registered dietician about a diet plan that works best for you before cutting out things though!
2. Better Stress Management
Stress is not a cause of IBS. But it’s an antagonist – it makes things a whole lot worse. An increase in stress leads to an increase in cortisol production in the body, which is known to flare up IBS symptoms. When you experience stress your body also goes into ”flight or fight” mode. This means that non-essential bodily functions slow down, such as digestion. This only adds fuel to the fire of your IBS woes.
Your best bet is to work on your stress levels and get them under control. Keep your circadian rhythm in check by practicing yoga, meditation, regular exercise and getting good sleep!
3. Check Your Anxiety Levels
As we mentioned, stress and anxiety are key antagonists in IBS flare-ups. High levels of anxiety affect your serotonin levels in the gut i.e. your ”happy” hormone. This disrupts the regulation of your gut, which ends up turning into a vicious cycle of low serotonin and high cortisol levels.
A good way to get your anxiety levels in-check is to speak to your doctor about selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These are often used to treat high anxiety levels, and in turn, help to alleviate IBS.
4. Do You Have a Vitamin Deficiency?
According to research, a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to IBS. How is vitamin D linked to irritable bowel syndrome? Well, this vitamin is essential for your overall immune function and the regulation of your gut. Vitamin D receptors are also found in the gut, which helps to promote intestinal function, protecting it against bad bacteria.
If your vitamin D levels are too low, this results in an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, which could lead to IBS. Get to your doctor and have your vitamin levels tested. Vitamin D can easily be replenished with supplements.
5. Balance Out Gut Bacteria
Your gut flora plays a central role in digestion and overall immune function. When the sensitive balance of gut flora is thrown off, this can lead to a host of immune issues- one of these is IBS. Ultimately, this means that all the bad bacteria in your gut begin to ”play boss”.
There are a number of factors that can cause an imbalance of gut flora. Some of these include antibiotics and the overuse of certain medications. But while some antibiotics can wreak havoc on the gut, there is one that is actually beneficial. Known as Rifaximin, this narrow-spectrum antibiotic helps to eliminate bad bacteria that cause IBS symptoms. Otherwise, probiotic foods and supplements are a great way of balancing out gut bacteria, too.
6. Keep Up the Exercise
Exercise is the best medicine – whoever coined this term was bang-on-the-money. For the most part, regular exercise is incredibly important in maintaining your overall health, not just the balance of your gut bacteria.
Exercise helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, promotes digestion, and stimulates normal intestinal contraction (bye-bye constipation). It also plays a big role in how well you sleep and helps to alleviate gut inflammation. Depending on your lifestyle, try to incorporate 20-60 minutes of exercise, three-five times a week into your routine.
7. Avoid Processed/Artificial Foods
Artificial, overly processed foods are a nightmare for your gut- even if you don’t suffer from IBS. Artificial sweeteners, saturated oils, and unrefined sugars are difficult to digest and are poorly absorbed. This means the indigestible components linger in your gut, causing gas, bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Try to avoid these types of foods- fried goods, artificial sweeteners, and sugary drinks- as much as you can.
Looking For Health and Fitness Motivation This Winter?
We hope this blog on IBS bloating has helped you to understand the condition a little better and how to reduce your symptoms. If you’re looking for more articles on health and fitness for winter inspiration, don’t miss out on the rest of this website!
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