How to De-Bloat Once and for All, According to a GP
Feeling bloated is an uncomfortable feeling that everyone has experienced at one time or another in their life. From abdominal pain to constipation and feeling generally nauseous, bloating can quickly turn your day upside down. Sometimes you can trace your annoying symptom to the big meal you just ate, but for some people bloating can creep up on them with no warning and could be a sign that there is something else happening in the body to trigger this response. To find out more about why we get bloated and what we can do to remedy the issue, we chatted with Dr Michelle Woolhouse, General Practitioner, Medical Director & Founder of Whole Medicine who was able to pinpoint the most common reasons and the best ways to overcome dreaded bloating.
To begin with, Dr Woolhouse tells us that bloating is a normal physiological reaction and that there is a range of things that could lead to you to experience symptoms of bloating. One of those reasons is stress—something that everyone deals with to varying extents. Not only do feelings of stress and anxiety wreak havoc with your mind and mental wellbeing, but intense stress can also actually trigger stomach discomfort including bloating. We've spoken to Dr Woolhouse in the past about gut health, and poor digestion is another reason that she lists as a reason that could be flaring bouts of bloating. Dr Woolhouse also often sees patients with bloating as a result of overeating and poor diet choices. Foods such as onions, dairy and wheat are common culprits to look out for if you're feeling bloated yourself. For anyone looking to de-bloat once and for all, Dr Woolhouse suggests the following steps for reducing the bloat and getting back to feeling optimal fast.
Reduce your portion size
Sometimes it can be tricky to decipher what a standard portion size looks like exactly, which can lead to overeating and subsequent abdominal pain and/or bloating. Start by using a smaller plate to serve your meals and chew your food slowly, finishing when you feel full (not when the plate is cleared).
Skip the drink with your meal
Dr Woolhouse told us that one way to help ease feelings of bloating around meal times is to forego a glass of water. Downing a drink with your meal can surprisingly hinder the breakdown of your food, so save it for before and after your meals.
Get your body moving regularly
Whether it's a fifteen-minute walk after dinner or some gentle yoga moves, simple exercises can help to relieve feelings of bloating and are generally important for your overall health. Stick to a routine by involving your family members or your partner.
Find ways to manage your stress
Stress has more power over our bodies than most of us even realise and can be responsible for many physiological reactions in our body including bloating and digestive issues. Prioritising mindful practices—whether that's deep breathing and yoga or a long bath—can assist in reducing bloating and its lethargic effects.
It's important to note that bloating can also arise due to food intolerances and more serious conditions of the bowel, so it's important to take action by seeing a GP if bloating becomes a recurring issue for your health and wellbeing.