Bloating is an unwelcome condition - is there a cure?
Between 10 and 30% of the population may suffer from the uncomfortable side effects of bloating. Often these people are already suffering from irritable bowl syndrome (IBS), but not always. Abdominal bloating has been shown to have a direct link to abdominal pain.
Research has shown that it usually those people who suffer from irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) that suffer the most bloating rather than a those who do not. Bloating symptoms have been shown to get worse throughout the day, and disappear over night. Often bloating may so bad that normal life is difficult to follow. Both healthy women and those that suffer from IBS are more likely to suffer from bloating than men who are also healthy or suffering from IBS.
Initially it was presumed that bloating was all in the mind and was caused by stress. However following this theory there is no evidence that patients who were suffering had either high levels of stress or anxiety to back this up.
So what causes bloating?
The causes are unclear and there is no one symptom which can be attributed.
After much research the conclusion has been arrived at that bloating may be caused by extra gas, caused maybe by an abnormal collection by an over production of gas or over air swallowing. Gas alone is not the primary reason for bloating.
Often IBS sufferers are prone to malabsorption of certain sugars, such as lactose and fructose, although the rest of the population is prone as well it is IBS sufferers who show possible side affects, such as bloating and distension.
Being pre menstrual often causes bloating which maybe caused by increased sex hormone production and higher fluid retention
Low intakes of fibre in the diet are associated with periods of constipation which in turn leads to a feeling of fullness.
What is the answer?
To help with reduce bloating that may be caused by malabsorption it is suggested that foods containing sugars such as lactose and fructose should be avoided as well as beans and broccoli.
Recent studies have been carried out with probiotics and to date the results have been encouraging in reducing bloating and pain that is associated.
Increasing slowly the amount of fibre in the diet, along side adequate amounts of water and increased physical activity may reduce bloating. The large intestine will become accustomed to the increased fibre and the gas that is produced will become normalised.
Additionally there a range of health benefits that are associated with an increase of fibre in the diet such as reduced risk of heart disease, reduced risk of certain cancers, and improvements in cholesterol levels.
An easy way to increase dietary fibre is to eat wholegrain breads.
Some IBS sufferers may experience increased symptoms with increased bran in their diets and may benefit from reducing the levels of insoluble fibre in their diet. As such white bread may be more beneficial than brown bread.