Why Is My Lower Stomach Always Bloated – Are you suffering from a bloated stomach? If you’ve ever been to an all-you-can-eat buffet or had too many beers, you’ll be familiar with bloating – when your stomach feels full and tight. But unless you’re pregnant or you’ve just eaten an extra large triple cheese pizza – you might be wondering why your stomach feels like it’s exploding.
Abdominal bloating is often caused by gas that accumulates somewhere in the digestive tract, making the abdomen uncomfortable and appear larger than usual. But how can you reduce the dreaded bloating, and when could it be a sign of something more serious?
Why Is My Lower Stomach Always Bloated
We talked to nutritional therapist Nicola Shubrook and Dr. To Riccardo Di Cuffo, your doctors, on the science behind stomach bloating and, most importantly, how to avoid the dreaded bloating:
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What causes stomach bloating? Shubrook says understanding what might be causing abdominal pain and bloating can be a bit of a puzzle. “Many factors can play a role, such as stress, sugar, gut flora (microbiome) imbalance, medications, and food sensitivities, to name a few,” she explains.
Bloating can also be a direct result of the type of food or drink we consume during the day. Pizza, pasta and bread are the obvious culprits, but eating too much of one type of food or simply eating high-fat, spicy or greasy foods can be a trigger. Carbonated drinks are another culprit.
But it’s not just junk food and carbohydrates that cause stomach bloating. According to Dr. According to Di Cuffa, healthy foods can also produce gas during digestion, contributing to bloating, including legumes, beans, broccoli, cabbage, chestnuts, onions and sprouts.
Many women also experience bloating before their period. This is partly due to estrogen causing fluid retention, and partly because higher levels of progesterone in the second half of the cycle slow down bowel movements, causing constipation.
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Bloating usually goes away on its own after a few hours. But if it’s really bothering you or it’s recurring, Shubrook recommends the following 10 flatulence remedies:
Mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes a day reduces the body’s stress response, which can alleviate abdominal bloating. Research examining the benefits of meditation has shown improved memory, better emotional intelligence and creativity, and better stress management, so learning to meditate can have beneficial effects on overall health and the gut. Read our meditation tips for beginners to get started.
Food sensitivities can cause bloating and one way to eliminate certain foods is through an elimination diet. “If you suspect a food intolerance, such as gluten or dairy, completely eliminate the food for at least 21 days and see if your symptoms improve,” suggests Shubrook.
The foods should then be reintroduced one at a time, observing the symptoms of the reaction. “It’s important to be consistent with this because, for example, it can take a while for the body to eliminate all existing gluten, and during this phase, any small amount can still cause a reaction,” adds Shubrook.
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Always check with your doctor before starting an elimination diet, as limiting food groups can lead to nutrient deficiencies, and in the case of a true allergy, elimination should be carefully monitored.
⚠️ The elimination diet is not suitable for children or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless you have received medical advice.
If you’ve taken multiple rounds of antibiotics, had stomach issues abroad, or had a high-sugar, low-fiber diet, taking probiotics or making sure probiotics are included in your diet can help.
“Our gut microbiome is very sensitive, and certain medications and dietary choices can easily affect bacteria levels, so taking a probiotic for four weeks can help restore that,” says Shubrook. “Probiotic supplements like Optibac or ProVen are stronger doses than probiotic drinks and can be a good incentive to change your diet.”
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💊 As an alternative to nutritional supplements, an easy way to reduce bloating naturally is to ensure your diet includes natural probiotic foods.
Foods like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, miso and sauerkraut contain a healthy dose of probiotics because they are naturally fermented foods. These supply the intestinal tract with some healthy bacteria.
Prebiotics are also essential as these are foods that we humans do not digest, but our healthy bacteria thrive in foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, bananas, berries, greens, tomatoes and asparagus. Of course, some of these foods can cause bloating. Consider which prebiotic foods do not cause bloating and include them in your diet to promote gut health.
A probiotic is great for getting good bacteria back into the digestive tract, but you have to keep it there, and bacteria like to feed on fiber. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, oats, and potatoes with skins.
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The NHS recommends 30g of fiber a day for adults, but estimates most of us only get 18g, so try loading up on fiber to improve your digestive system. “Making a concerted effort to increase fiber can really help,” says Shubrook.
Sipping water throughout the day can really help with digestive bloat. Dehydration reduces intestinal transit, so make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you are in a hot climate or exercising, remember to replace lost fluids to prevent dehydration. Coffee can also dehydrate you, so try to cut back on caffeine and opt for as much water as possible.
Food should actually feel like porridge or baby food before you swallow it, Shubrook explains, but too often we eat at our desks, in front of the TV or on the run. “This means that we tend to swallow larger pieces of undigested food, which can further strain the digestive system and cause bloating,” he adds.
Eating slowly and carefully is good for your digestion, so don’t skip breakfast, plan a lunch break and take your time with your food. If we swallow a lot of air while eating, gas also stagnates in the intestines, so it can help if we don’t talk while eating.
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Cooking or steaming vegetables breaks up the structure of the food and can actually increase the phytonutrients, making them easier for the stomach to digest, rather than raw food, which can cause more bloating, Shubrook says.
Salt can have a major impact on gut health and can cause high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, so reduce your salt intake. “Salt encourages the body to retain water, especially around the stomach,” says Shubrook. – Not all bloating is caused by gas.
According to the NHS, adults should not consume more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g of sodium) – that’s about 1 teaspoon.
If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the FODMAP diet can be a good way to find out which foods are causing your bloating. FODMAP is an acronym for a group of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars), and some foods in these groups can cause stomach discomfort and are best avoided, Shubrook says.
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The FODMAP diet is used under the professional supervision of a dietitian or nutritionist to treat IBS or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The routine can be difficult to stick to and not suitable in the long term as it cuts out many major food groups, so discuss the FODMAP diet with your GP or dietitian before proceeding.
Although it is completely normal to experience abdominal bloating from time to time, if the symptoms persist, consult your family doctor. Red flags to look out for include the following symptoms:
Although occasional abdominal bloating is unlikely to be related to any underlying medical condition, please consult your GP if you have any concerns. More serious causes of abdominal bloating may include:
IBS is a common disease that affects the intestinal tract and can cause bloating, diarrhea, constipation and unexplained abdominal pain.
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Diverticulitis is a condition in which multiple weak spots develop in the muscle wall of the colon, which can cause abdominal tenderness or bloating.
Candida, also known as thrush, is an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus (medically known as Candida albicans) that can cause stomach bloating.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body produces antibodies that attack itself due to intolerance to gluten.
Bloating can also be an early warning sign of ovarian cancer, so it’s important to be aware of the possible signs and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Other symptoms include rapid fullness or loss of appetite, pelvic or stomach pain, urgency, or more frequent tearing than usual.
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Bowel cancer symptoms are many and include bloating as well as fatigue, weakness, changes in the bowels, diarrhea or constipation, red or dark blood in the stool and weight loss. Urgent
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