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How to Reduce Bloating in IBS: Effective Tips and Strategies



Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be challenging, especially when dealing with uncomfortable symptoms like bloating. Bloating not only affects your physical comfort but can also impact your overall quality of life. Understanding how to manage and reduce bloating is crucial for anyone suffering from IBS. In this post, we will explore practical strategies to help reduce bloating and improve your well-being.


Understanding Bloating in IBS

Bloating is a common symptom of IBS, often caused by an imbalance in the gut's bacterial flora, food intolerances, or digestive issues. Unlike occasional bloating, the bloating experienced by IBS sufferers can be persistent and more severe. This guide will delve into various methods to manage and reduce bloating effectively.


Dietary Changes to Reduce Bloating in IBS


Sip on Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is known for its soothing effects on the digestive system. It helps relax the smooth muscle of the bowel, allowing trapped wind and gas to pass more easily. Additionally, warm drinks like peppermint tea can stimulate the gastrocolic reflex, a mechanism in the body that promotes bowel movements. Drinking peppermint tea regularly can be a simple yet effective way to reduce bloating.


Two Green Kiwi Fruits Per Day

Green kiwi fruit has been extensively studied for its benefits in relieving constipation, a common issue in IBS. Each kiwi contains about 4g of fibre, approximately 16% of your daily fibre goal, and an enzyme called actinidin, which encourages gastric emptying. A recent study found that people who consumed two green kiwi fruits daily had a 66% reduction in laxative use and a 100% increase in spontaneous bowel movements. Incorporating kiwi into your diet can be a tasty and natural way to improve digestion and reduce bloating.


Increase Fibre Intake

Adequate fibre intake is essential for regular bowel movements and overall gut health. Aim for 25-30g of fibre per day by including various fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. Here are some low FODMAP foods and their fibre content to help you meet your daily fibre goals:


  • 2 green kiwi fruits: 4.2g

  • 100g banana: 3.1g

  • 60g raspberries: 3.9g

  • 140g pineapple: 2.3g

  • 75g kale: 2.7g

  • 75g spinach: 1.7g

  • 75g cabbage: 3g

  • 75g broccoli: 1.9g

  • 75g canned red kidney beans: 5g

  • 1 tbsp flax seeds: 2.8g

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds: 5g

  • 50g rolled oats: 3.4g


By incorporating these fibre-rich foods into your diet, you can help maintain regular bowel movements and reduce the occurrence of bloating.


Lifestyle Modifications for Bloating Relief


Adequate Fluids

Ensuring you are drinking enough fluids helps with regular bowel movements and reduces bloating. Aim for 30mL per kilogram of body weight. This includes water, tea, coffee, and juice. The only fluid that does not count towards this goal is alcohol. Staying well-hydrated can aid digestion and reduce bloating.


Comfortable Clothing

Tight or restrictive clothing can exacerbate the pressure on your lower digestive system, making bloating more uncomfortable. Opt for comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to avoid adding unnecessary pressure to your abdomen. There is no shame in wearing baggy sweatpants to stay comfortable and reduce bloating.


Gentle Exercise

Low-intensity exercises such as Pilates, yoga, and walking, can help you pass trapped gas and ensure regular bowel movements. Include exercise daily, especially after main meals. Gentle movement after eating can be particularly beneficial for relieving constipation and reducing bloating. Regular exercise also promotes overall digestive health and well-being.


Meal Timing

Meal timing can significantly impact your digestion and reduce bloating. Aim to space each main meal by four hours to allow for proper digestion and the cleansing wave known as the migrating motor complex (MMC). The MMC helps to clear out waste and bacteria between mealtimes, reducing the risk of bloating. Consistent meal timing supports a healthy digestive system and reduces IBS symptoms.


Supplements and Medications for bloating in IBS


Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum (PHGG)

PHGG is a prebiotic fibre beneficial for IBS, diarrhoea, and constipation. It is water-soluble, tasteless, and low FODMAP. The bacteria in your colon ferments PHGG into beneficial byproducts known as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which provide wide-reaching benefits for gut and immune health. Take 5g per day for a healthy microbiome and reduction in IBS symptoms. Including PHGG in your daily routine can help manage bloating and improve digestive health.


Peppermint Oil Capsules

Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are designed to survive the acidic pH in the stomach and travel to the bowel. They act by relaxing the smooth muscle and aid in managing flatulence. However, because peppermint relaxes smooth muscle, it can worsen reflux. Consult with a healthcare provider to determine if peppermint oil capsules are right for you.


Iberogast

Iberogast is a herbal supplement with evidence supporting its efficacy in IBS. It helps by regulating contractions in the stomach and may have a calming effect on the nerves. Iberogast is shown to work best when taken regularly. Incorporating Iberogast into your daily regimen can provide relief from bloating.


Antispasmodics

Antispasmodic medications like Buscopan relax the smooth muscle and relieve pain associated with contractions in the gut. These medications are generally safe but can cause side effects such as constipation, dry mouth, and blurred vision. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication to ensure it is appropriate for your specific condition.


Conclusion


Managing bloating in IBS requires a multifaceted approach, including dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and possibly medical treatments. Be patient and persistent in finding what works best for you. Share your experiences and tips in the comments below—your insights could help others on their journey to better health.


By following these strategies, you can take control of your bloating and improve your quality of life. Remember, always consult with a healthcare provider for personalised advice and treatment options.


Reducing bloating in IBS involves understanding your body's unique needs and making informed choices about your diet, lifestyle, and treatments. With the right approach, you can manage your symptoms effectively and live a more comfortable, fulfilling life.


If you would like to discuss how we can help you navigate your IBS symptoms, you can book a FREE Discovery Call with a Registered Dietitian here.

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