Stomach bloating is typically the result of eating gassy foods but it is also a symptom of numerous health conditions. One of the most is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system.
The standard advice for treating bloating is to eliminate foods known to cause wind.
However, if your stomach bloating is the result of an underlying health condition, such as IBS, more specialist interventions may be required.
For example, friendly bacteria may help if your bloating is the result of an imbalance in the number of friendly bacteria that live in your gut.
As Holland and Barrett explains, certain strains of bacteria are designated “friendly” because they can help restore the balance of bacteria in our gut following a bout of diarrhoea, a course of antibiotics or an episode of IBS.
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“Most of us are currently more likely to consume good bacteria in yoghurts, yoghurt drinks such as kefir, supplements or powders,” explains the health health body.
In fact, when taken in supplement form, friendly bacteria has been shown to relieve IBS-related bloating.
A study review published in the journal Gut found that taking a supplement of friendly bacteria can help irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, such as bloating and flatulence.
According to Holland and Barrett, not all good bacteria foods or supplements are made the same, so you need to know how to pick the right one for you.
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The health body says to consider the following:
- Does it contain enough friendly bacteria to be effective? In 2013, Italian researchers concluded that the amount for good general gut health was between 10million to one billion CFU (colony forming units) a day.
- Will the bacteria reach your intestines intact? Many are destroyed by stomach acid before they can actually do any good in your gut.
- Are you taking the right one for your symptoms? Different types of bacteria may be better for certain conditions. Talk to your GP or a specialist dietician for advice if you’re unsure.
Other tips to alleviate bloating
Stomach bloating can also be the result of a food intolerance.
A food intolerance is difficulty digesting certain foods and having an unpleasant physical reaction to them.
Eliminating certain foods should therefore provide bloating relief.
“Probably a third of patients in my allergy clinic complain of digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain after eating bread,” said Isabel Skypala PhD, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
According to Skypala, an allergy is unlikely to be the culprit, but bread-related symptoms are real, and wheat could be to blame.
“Some people find certain foods are simply hard to digest, and wheat appears to be one of those,” she explained.
If you have bloating or other minor symptoms after eating bread, Dr Skypala recommended trying an elimination diet.