How to Cut Down on IBS BloatingHolly Case, Freelance Writer and Mom of Three Boys
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects your life in many ways. Bloating is one of the most embarrassing aspects of IBS. Some women even say that IBS bloating makes them look pregnant. You may wake up with a flat stomach in the morning, only to be significantly bloated later in the day. Here’s how to manage this uncomfortable but common IBS symptom.
Eat Less Fiber
It may seem counterintuitive, since most nutrition advice tells us to eat more fiber. But eating more fiber gives our digestive systems more of a workout, and that’s the last thing you want with IBS. You don’t need to completely avoid all fiber, since it’s still an important nutrient for your health. Just reduce extra sources like bran muffins or fiber supplements.
Eat Smaller Meals More Slowly
Try eating smaller meals more often. That will give your intestines less to process at once, which will cut down on some of the bloating. Use caution in deciding what to eat, as some foods are more likely to cause bloating. Fatty foods, dairy products, and gluten may worsen the bloat. Experiment and see what affects you.
Take time to eat your meals more slowly, too. Eating quickly causes you to swallow more air, which can contribute to bloating. Allow at least 30 minutes and enjoy a nice, leisurely meal time.
Constipation is a major contributing factor to bloating. Needing to avoid excess fiber can make the problem worse, too, so it’s important to find the right balance. Make sure to drink lots of water and maintain regular bowel habits.
Get Some Exercise
Regular exercise can help you avoid IBS bloating. Many people have desk jobs, which require us to be sedentary for most of the day. This is bad news if you have IBS and can make bloating worse. While you don’t have to change jobs, you’ll at least want to make more of an effort to get some exercise during the work day. Take a walk on your lunch hour and on occasional breaks to stretch your legs.
Talk to Your Doctor
Talk to your doctor if these dietary and lifestyle tips don’t reduce your bloating. Although uncommon, severe bloating can be caused by other conditions. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and tumors are other potential causes. You owe it to yourself to take your health seriously.