I have a very bloated tummy. What can I do to stop it

01:00 Mon 27th Aug 2001 |

asks Stephanie:
There are many reasons why you could have a bloated tummy. For example, it could be a symptom of a condition, such as an ovarian cyst or fibroids (growths in the uterus) both of which can grow very large. A growing stomach is also a sign of pregnancy! So the first thing you should do is see your doctor.

Q. What if it's not caused by anything serious
Try to work out when your stomach gets bloated. Does it happen after certain meals or eating certain foods, for example Or does it happen every month before your period

Q. What if the bloating only happens before my period
A bloated stomach is just one symptom of PMS - to find out how to relieve the symptoms of PMS, click here

Q. What if it only happens after meals

A. You need to look at what you're eating and work out what causes the bloating. Some thing that may cause bloating include:

  • An imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Try eating a pot of natural yoghurt (containing the probiotic bacteria lactobacilli, bifidus or acidophilus) each day.
  • Clashing food. Although there's no evidence that food combining works, there are many people who follow the principle that foods which 'fight' each other shouldn't be eaten together, e.g. don't have acid foods and carbohydrate foods at the same meal. Click here to find out more about food combining.
  • Caffeine intolerance. People who are sensitive to caffeine can be irritable and nervous as well as suffer from stomach problems, including bloating. Try having caffeine-free tea and coffee only for a few days so see if that helps.
  • Lactose intolerance. Milk can cause stomach bloating, as well as diarrhoea and stomach pains, in people who are lactose intolerant. Try this test - avoid all dairy products for two days then drink three glasses of milk. If you get bloating, pains or diarrhoea within an hour, you are lactose intolerant and should see your GP. Normally, just reducing the amount of dairy products you eat will sort the problem out.

If you feel that what you eat is causing the bloating, ask your GP to refer you to a nutritionist, or visit the Institute of Optimum Nutrition website to find a nutritionist , or call the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT) on 0870 606 1284.

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By Sheena Miller

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