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Managing Bloating with IBS

Bloating is a common symptom of IBS and can cause a lot discomfort. Many people comment that it feels as if they're pregnant. For some it often occurs first thing in the morning when they wake up or progressively worse throughout the day. Small amounts of bloating is normal and is a sign that your gut is working. It is also natural to have a bit of bloat after a meal. But it may become troublesome for some when it causes dicomfort, pain and impacts one's quality of life.

The cause of bloating is multifactorial, it depends what is your personal trigger. Common causes including lack of sleep, stress, excessive alcohol intake, eating large portions of food and food intolerances.

What foods causes bloating?

Some foods naturally cause gas due to the digestion process in the gut. These foods are commonly what we associate as carbohydrate foods such as: beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, wholegrains and bran. Fat and proteins cause little gas.

For people with IBS, food intolerances such as FODMAPs can also contribute to bloating. FODMAPs are fermented by bacteria living in the large intestine which produces gas. If you have sensitive nerve endings (in this case such as IBS), it can lead to cramping, bloating and abdominal distention. Out of the six FODMAP groups, there are four groups are more likely to cause bloating:

  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) or Galactans - this is found in legumes, beans, soy bean and in some nuts

  • Lactose - this is a natural sugar found in cow's milk including yoghurt, cheese, ice cream.

  • Fructose - this is naturally found in some fruits and vegetables such as honey, asparagus and also sweeteners such as honey, high fuctose corn syrup

  • Sorbitol - this is naturally found in many fruits such as apples, pears, paches, avocado but also artificial sweeteners.

The Low FODMAP diet is designed to help individuals with IBS alleviate gut symptoms and investigate which FODMAP groups they are intolerant to. Every person have different levels of tolerance and may not be intolerant to all FODMAP therefore it is important to go through all three phases.

How can I manage my bloating?

There are many strategies to manage bloating besides the Low FODMAP diet.

This include:

  • Peppermint tea or pepermint tablets

  • Wearing stretchy pants reduces tension on your tummy

  • Stretching exercises such as yoga, twisting

  • Eating a regular meal times

  • Tummy massage

  • Meditation can help with stress and anxiety induced bloating

  • Limit alcohol if you drink excessively

  • Warm pack can help reduce bloating

  • Eating slower if you are a fast eater

  • Try small frequent meals

  • Speak with your GP or a pharmacists for medication suggestions

Not sure what your personal triggers are? Book an appointment with our team of Accredited Practising Dietitians to investigate the causes to your symptoms and develop a tailored nutrition plan to manage your symptoms.

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