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Why am I so bloated?

Recognise and tackle the dreaded bloat.

We all get bloated from time to time, however, when it starts to disrupt you day to day functioning and cause pain - it is time to seek professional expert advice.

Let's dig a little deeper.

Potential causes of bloating

Abdominal bloating is a common by-product of digestion, with various causes. When the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or gas, this can result in a swollen, full or uncomfortable feeling in the stomach area. Bloating is normal to a certain extent, however if you are experiencing persistent, painful bloating, this may be a cause for concern.

Severity of bloating can range from minor to extreme discomfort, often accompanied by other uncomfortable GI symptoms, such as excessive gas and frequent belching. Either way, it can be a frustrating problem to deal with.

Here are some of the reasons you may experience bloating:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - this is a frequent disorder often affecting the entire GI tract, with uncomfortable symptoms such as excessive bloating and gas, cramping, pain, diarrhoea and constipation. IBS is manageable when addressed in the correct way, recognised as a chronic condition. Mild symptoms can be eased with diet and lifestyle changes, whereas more severe cases may require medical attention.

  • Hormones - many women may experience bloating as a product of hormonal aspects, such as before or during menstruation, and in cases of hormonal in-balance. This is a very common occurrence, as up to 75% of women are reported to experience GI distress around the time of their period. Hormonal in-balance can be addressed with alterations to diet and lifestyle, or in some cases, with a focus on supplementation.

  • Food intolerances - bloating can be a noticeable symptom of an intolerance to any specific food groups or ingredients. Common intolerances include dairy, gluten, highly processed foods or even caffeine.

  • Digestive distress - this can be caused by a magnitude of factors, often related to lifestyle choices and diet. Digestive distress includes any form of GI discomfort, therefore can be linked to all of the above. This can sometimes be worsened by stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, or travel.

How can bloating be eased?

This largely depends on the root cause of the GI discomfort, however there are a few general solutions to calm down an inflamed stomach.

  1. Identify the cause of your bloating- this way it will become more manageable. This may mean reaching out for professional advice form your GP and Dietitian, especially if you suspect symptoms of IBS, food intolerance, hormonal imbalance, or just want a guide in the right direction.

  2. Regular exercise- even a 30-minute daily walk can promote digestive health and keep the bloat at bay. This can work by moving built-up gas in your GI tract along, therefore resulting in less bloating. Exercise is also a brilliant way to manage stress, another potential contributor to stomach discomfort.

  3. Keep hydrated- yes, you've probably heard this one before. Try to drink at least 1-2 litres of water per day, because this can help massively with bloating. If your body is dehydrated, it will struggle to function optimally. More so, it tends to hold onto excess water when it's not getting enough, resulting in bloating and potential GI discomfort.

  4. Manage stress- this will be subjective to whatever helps you alleviate feelings of stress. Coping strategies may include getting enough sleep, taking time to practice self-care, or recognising when it's time to slow down.

  5. Practice good gut health- invest in your diet with a focus on gut health. This means eating plenty of fruit, veg and fibre for a range of vitamins and minerals.

5 tips to reduce stomach bloating
Tips to reduce bloating

Foods to include in your diet to optimise gut health

  • yoghurt

  • kefir

  • kimchi

  • Sauerkraut

  • Nuts and seeds

  • A wide variety of fruit and veg (the more colours, the better)

  • Ginger

  • Miso

In summary, bloating can be caused by many different lifestyle and dietary factors. In order to avoid GI discomfort and bloating, it's very important to invest time into yourself to figure out the specific trigger that may be affecting you. In doing so, the correct steps can be taken to help ease uncomfortable symptoms and further improve your general health.

At Nutrition and Co we have a team of highly qualified, registered dietitians to help treat and manage symptoms of IBS and GI distress. To book your free discovery call, please click Here.

If you feel now is the time to address your IBS symptoms, please book a 1-1 online nutrition by clicking Here.

Reference list

  1. Bokic, T., Storr, M. and Schicho, R., (2015) Potential Causes and Present Pharmacotherapy of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: An Overview. Pharmacology, [online] 961-2, pp.76–85. Available at: [Accessed 23 May 2019].

  2. Grundmann, O. and Yoon, S.L., (2010) irritable bowel syndrome: Epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment: An update for health-care practitioners. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 254, pp.691–699.

  3. Houghton, l. a. and Whorwell, p. j., (2005) Towards a better understanding of abdominal bloating and distension in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 174, pp.500–511.

  4. Seo, A.Y., Kim, N. and Oh, D.H., (2013) Abdominal Bloating: Pathophysiology and Treatment. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, [online] 194, pp.433–453. Available at:

  5. Whitehead, W.E., Palsson, O. and Jones, K.R., (2002) Systematic review of the comorbidity of irritable bowel syndrome with other disorders: What are the causes and implications? Gastroenterology, 1224, pp.1140–1156.

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