What is bloating?
Bloating can be described as a build-up of pressure or volume in our abdomen, causing it to stretch and expand. It is a normal reaction after we’ve eaten, and our stomach stretches with the volume of food consumed. It can also occur when the bacteria in our large intestine start to break down and ferment fibre from food which produces gas.
Bloating is normal but can become extremely uncomfortable for those with a sensitive stomach or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There’s no denying that bloating can be frustrating, painful, embarrassing and honestly, inconvenient! But rest assured we have some tips and tricks that can help soothe your bloating and prevent any future flare-ups.
1. Ease pain with peppermint
Peppermint sure knows how to pack a punch - It has been found to have dramatic effects on pain and cramps related to bloating! Peppermint is full of compounds which have been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, as well as containing antioxidants. The compounds directly target the smooth muscle around your gastrointestinal tract, which stops cramping and helps relieve bloating. Try something like Hilma Gas + Bloat Relief or peppermint tea to help calm down uncomfortable symptoms.
2. Get moving
Getting up and moving your body gently, be it a walk, yoga or gentle Pilates can considerably reduce your bloating. Gentle physical activity has been found to enhance gas clearance and encourage regular bowel movements. Not only is exercise great to relieve your bloating, but also amazing for your overall physical and mental health… embrace those endorphins!
3. Apply heat
When you are experiencing abdominal pain or discomfort, applying heat to your stomach can make a world of difference and help soothe nasty symptoms. A classic wheat pack, hot water bottle or some of the more high-tech heating pads are sure to do the trick!
4. Take it back to basics
When in doubt, get back to basics, low FODMAP basics that is. The low FODMAP diet isn’t designed to be a forever diet, however, it is a great temporary solution help get symptoms back under control. Some of my favourite low FODMAP go-to foods are eggs on sourdough toast, grilled salmon with low FODMAP vegetables like carrot and potato, and lactose-free yoghurt and popcorn as snacks. If you’re looking for something with a little flare, try a Belli Welli bar.
5. Know your triggers
One of the great outcomes after completing the low FODMAP process is not only becoming symptom-free, but also finding out your individual trigger foods. Once you know your triggers, you can minimise the impact they have on your symptoms (and life!). Overtime, you can improve your tolerance to many FODMAP groups & reduce the likelihood of a flare-up.
6. Space your meals out
Have you heard of FODMAP stacking? This occurs when you eat multiple low FODMAP servings of food at once. These can stack on top of each other causing a flare up of symptoms. To avoid FODMAP stacking, space meals by at least 3-4 hours.
Whether you have found yourself in the middle of a flare up, or you’re looking to prevent a future flare up, you can be confident in these strategies to help you out.
Note: This information is for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your physician before treating any disorder.
Alammar, N, et al. The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2019; 19:21-31. doi: 10.1186/s12906-01802409-0
Cash, B.D., Epstein, M.S., Shah, S.M. A Novel Delivery System of Peppermint Oil is an Effective Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2016; 61:560-571. doi: 10.1007/s10620-015-3858-7
Hamaguchi, T, et al. The effects of locomotor activity on gastrointestinal symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome among younger people: An observational study. PLoS ONE. 2020; 15(5): e0234089. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0234089
Zhou, C, et al. Exercise therapy of patients with irritable bowel syndrome: A systematic review of randomized control trials. Neurogastroenterology & Motility. 2019; 31(2). Doi: 10.1111/nmo.13461