There are days when I wake up to a super flat tummy. Like I can wear whatever and not worry about having to tug on it the entire day.
But then a few hours later, I finish nothing but a half a bowl of pasta (I couldn’t risk a full meal) and still end up looking like Winnie the Pooh. You get me, right?
Is it just me or does everyone else inflate like a floater after eating?
As it turns out, bloating is something a lot of us girls are familiar with. I know you feel my pain when I can’t wear my favorite bodycon dress to a night out, especially if I’m likely to drink a fizzy drink later in the night. I know you feel my frustration whenever the bloating comes unexpectedly and I’m wearing a figure-hugging skirt.
But what exactly is bloating and why does it seem so determined to make us look like we’re sporting a beer belly?
What is Bloating, Really?
Don’t take it personally. Bloating, in fact, can be a telltale sign that your digestive system isn’t working as well as it should. There are various factors that can lead to bloating. Your digestive tract, for example, may be experiencing metabolic disturbances or your natural elimination processes may be disturbed.
We help you figure out what could be causing your bloating as well as help you get your body back to normal.
1. Are you expecting your period?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) makes you prone to fluid retention and constipation, which may lead to a bloated stomach. Bloating, though, may occur at any point in the menstrual cycle. In the early days of your cycle, for example, your estrogen levels rise as your uterine lining thickens. This usually results in bloating, which tends to become stronger with all the blood and fluid buildup that happens during ovulation.
As this is a hormone thing and has little to do with what you eat, it’s unlikely for any magic tea or vegetable to reduce the symptoms. Don’t fret, though. After you shed all the excess blood and fluid, you’ll be back to your svelte self.
2. Do you have a bowel disease or disorder?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease refers to chronic inflammatory disorders of the gut, including Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. IBD it can cause gas to be trapped in your bowels, and if you’ve had previous surgery, you also tend to experience tissue scarring which may lead to bloating.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), on the other hand, happens when your digestive system loses coordination and starts affecting the way your bowel works. While IBS sufferers look like they have nothing structurally wrong, they tend to have something functionally wrong, such as diarrhea and constipation, along with abdominal pain and bloating.
Hey, we didn’t say this was going to be glamorous.
3. Are you drinking enough water?
Hydrating can actually ward off the bloat. Dehydration and imbalanced electrolytes can halt digestion, and when your body tries to counteract the effects of dehydration, it tends to hold on to excess water. The result? A big, perfectly round belly.
4. Are you getting enough ZZZZs?
You know that not getting enough kip at night can make you cranky, but do you know that lack of sleep can also wreak havoc on your digestive system? Lack of sleep makes your body release a stress hormone called cortisol, which in turn disturbs your digestive system and causes symptoms like bloating and constipation.
5. Do you gobble up your food?
Do you savor your food or do you wolf everything down in a few minutes? If you’re guilty of eating too fast, your eating habit could be what’s causing you to feel bloated. If you eat too quickly, you inhale a lot of air, so you end up with large volumes of gas that then sits in your stomach.
So if you’ve been feeling a bit bloated lately, the solution might be simple: eat a healthy, fibrous diet, drink lots of water, and get a few more hours of shut-eye. Some physical activity also helps, too. If you’ve noticed blood in your stool or that you have started losing weight unexplainably, your bloating could be signaling something more alarming, and it might be high time to see a doctor.