Bloating, IBS and digestive problems are all topics that people generally don’t want to talk about because they are embarrassing! I found solutions that work for me and I want to share my findings, so let’s delve in!
For over three months, I suffered from a horribly distended, bloated and uncomfortable stomach. My body was calling out that something with my digestive track was off. Getting dressed everyday became an emotional struggle. Any clothing that was relatively form fitting showed my distended stomach, which was so bad that I looked several months pregnant. For a person who is very active, this was quite upsetting for me because I looked out of shape and I felt physically uncomfortable and unbearably full. By mid day I had to unbutton my pants and let my stomach spill out. I cried many days because my doctor wasn’t helpful and I no longer wanted to be social because I was physically and emotionally distressed.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and started researching the causes of bloating. If you try Google searching “what causes bloating” you will see that there are endless reasons, some more serious than others. So where to start? I suffer from IBS so I targeted this as the cause and began compiling information. After spending numerous hours researching I came up with the following 8 ways to eliminate bloating caused by IBS. These methods helped significantly reduce my IBS flare up so I hope they help you too!
1.) Eliminate Track Triggers
I took the following out of my diet, per my doctor’s recommendation, for a month since these foods and drinks are known to flare up the system when it is sensitive. After removing these foods from your diet you may find that when you add them back in you may start to experience symptoms again. For me tomatoes are a track trigger that are bothersome even when my IBS is not causing symptoms. I noticed a link with acid reflux so I decided to keep tomato consumption to a minimum. Track triggers can be different for everyone, but as a general rule, if you are having flare ups these foods may make your symptoms worse, so it is worth a try to keep them out of your diet until you start feeling better.
- spicy foods
- tomatoes (including ketchup)
- fried foods
- carbonated beverages
2.) Follow the Low FODMAP Diet
FODMAP is an acronym for: fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These molecules can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine, which means when they reach the large intestine bacteria start feeding on them. This fermentation process can create bloating, gas, stomach distention, pain, constipation and diarrhea. FODMAPs include fructans, fructose, lactose, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol and isomalt.
If you are experiencing digestion problems you may want to try going on a low FODMAP diet. For a printable list of high and low FODMAP foods click here. Once you reset your system you can gradually add items back in and see which ones are triggers. For me beans, dairy and my protein shake (which contains soribitol) all cause flare ups, so I learned to keep them out of my diet for good. Dairy is known to be a trigger therefore, while you are experiencing digestive problems, it may be a good idea to keep dairy out of your diet as it is not easily digested to begin with.
3.) Eliminate Gluten
We are probably getting to the point where you are thinking “Really, no dairy and now no gluten!” If you are serious about getting your digestive health back this is worth considering because gluten can cause inflammation in your gut. At the two month mark of no gluten I was ready to give up, but I decided to keep going. At the 2.5 month mark I noticed I was finally starting to feel better. Everyone’s digestive system works differently. To get a better understanding of why gluten can be a trigger click here.
4.) Start Taking Probiotics
Finally we are adding something to your diet instead of eliminating something. Part of a good daily routine to restoring and maintaining gut health is taking probiotics. Get in the habit of taking probiotics daily with food. I suggest going to Whole Foods to pick out a probiotic. The grocery chain has strict standards set in place in what food and vitamins they sell, so you should feel confident that you aren’t adding any toxic preservatives to your body as you are trying to clean out your system.
5.) Eat Organic
If you are experiencing problems with your gut it is best to detoxify your system. The best way to start cleaning out your system is eating a 100% organic diet. Chances are if you are not eating organic you are consuming glyphosate, Monsanto’s Roundup, an herbicide that is sprayed on crops to kill weeds. Not only is this chemical toxic, it goes hand in hand with GMOs. Monsanto has genetically engineered crops to withstand large amounts of Roundup allowing farmers to better control weeds. If you put some thought into what you are putting in your body you can certainly start moving towards a better overall health. Switching to eating only organic foods eliminates the consumption of genetically modified organisms, glyphosate and other toxic chemicals and artificial preservatives.
6.) Drink Ginger Tea
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as an effective digestive aid. Consuming ginger soothes the muscles in your gut lining, which is helpful for those who suffer from IBS as we tend to have spastic muscles. Ginger helps relieve bloating, releases gas trapped in your system, reduces nausea and helps with digestion. This ginger tea recipe below has been very effective in reducing my symptoms. After the first 3 weeks I noticed that the pain in my stomach went away, my bloating was starting to go down and my digestive system was operating more efficiently. After 6 weeks my bloating was completely gone and my digestive system was back on track! I recommend giving this recipe a try to see if it helps alleviate some of your symptoms!
Digestive Ginger Tea
This quick and easy to make ginger tea is great for digestion. Enjoy in the morning before eating and again before meals.
- 2 tsp organic ginger juice
- 1 tsp organic lemon juice
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tsp organic honey optional
Cut 2 inches of ginger into slices and put into a juicer.
(If you do not have a juicer you can cut ginger into slices and boil in 1 1/2 cups of water. Skip to step 4.)
Boil 1 cup of water.
Pour boiled water into a mug. Add in ginger juice and stir.
Add 2 teaspoons organic lemon juice and enjoy! For more sweetness feel free to add a teaspoon of organic honey.
Watch my video below on how to make Digestive Ginger Tea! Don’t forget to subscribe to my You Tube channel for more healthy recipes!
7.) Stay Active and De-stress
Increased IBS symptoms have been closely correlated to a rise in personal stress. Exercise is known to reduce stress and improve digestive track motility. In addition to aerobic exercise, try relaxation and stress reduction activities like yoga, tai chi or meditation, keeping in mind breathing techniques can be a powerful way to calm the mind.
8.) Peppermint Oil
Peppermint has a calming effect on the muscles in your stomach and increases the production of bile, which helps break down food. The University of Maryland Medical Center has published studies on the use of peppermint in patients with IBS and noted a significant reduction of IBS related symptoms. For more information on these studies and the use of peppermint oil to treat stomach ailments click here.
I am elated to finally be back to my normal self!
Here are my before and after photos:
Please note to always consult your doctor to discuss your symptoms to ensure you don’t have a serious health issue. I made sure to rule out any serious conditions and then I began trying alternative methods to relieve bloating caused by IBS.
8 Ways to Eliminate Bloating Caused by IBS / June 30, 2017/ © Jill E. Gallien