wellness

"It's a daily struggle." 5 women share their experiences of bloating.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Nutra-Life

Ugh.

Being bloated can make you feel swollen and stuffed, inflated and irritable.

For some women, it's like having a balloon in your body that blows up, often for unknown reasons, as the day ticks over. Before you know it, you're unbuttoning your jeans to accommodate for your stubborn stomach.

Those who experience the sensation know it can range from slight pain to agonising aches.

It is common, too. And the reasons for bloating are diverse, including diet, gut bacteria, stress and underlying medical issues (you should always see your doctor if it happens too regularly).

Yet, its uncomfortable nature means it is typically hidden from our everyday viewings of bodies. Puffed-out stomachs? You don't tend to see that on your Instagram feeds.

When Mamamia reached out to women asking them to share their experiences of bloating, we were inundated with responses.

"My bloating is stress related and my stomach goes really rock hard," one woman shared. 

"I 100 per cent bloat and still haven't worked out which foods cause it," another added. 

Below, five women have shared with us their experiences with bloating, and what they do to manage it.

Isla*: "I've been more bloated since lockdown began."

Image: Supplied.  

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I tend to bloat for one of three reasons: my period is due, I’ve eaten something my stomach doesn't agree with (for me, this is typically either Brazil nuts, dairy, raw onion or melon) or I'm dehydrated.

I've been more bloated since lockdown began, but I think that's largely based on me having been sedentary while stuck at home.

I know being bloated is normal, but I hate it. I will always wear clothes to accommodate my inflated stomach, and I also sleep with a pillow against my stomach and between my thighs at night because I don't like the feeling of being bloated when I lay down.

Angela*: "I am gluten intolerant."

Image: Supplied.  

I bloat. Bad. A few years ago, I discovered I was gluten and lactose intolerant, which is a total shame because some of my absolute favourite foods include bread, cheese and pasta.

So, I cut all of the deliciousness out of my diet… for a while, and my gut was the healthiest it's ever been. But these days, I'm naughty and sneak bits of my favourite foods often. It's not uncommon to find me standing in front of the open fridge with a piece of bread or cheese in my mouth. But it makes me so bloated and sometimes I wonder why I do it. Is it worth it? 

The pain and uncomfortable sensations that come with bloating are not pleasant. I guess I hope one day I just get used to the gluten and lactose again? Fingers crossed!

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Leonie*: "It is super uncomfortable."

Image: Supplied.  

I've experienced bloating for about seven years now. I definitely get it when I eat gluten, even though I've been told by doctors that I'm not gluten intolerant. Salty and sweet foods also tend to bring it on. Sometimes I feel like I have no control over when it happens, but I always try to avoid certain foods.

It is super uncomfortable and it's hard not being able to fit some of my clothes some days. When I do bloat, I just have to wait it out and hope I wake up normal the next morning.

Taylor*: "I've been known to be in the foetal position."

Image: Supplied. 

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In the past 12 months I've started experiencing bloating all the time. When I bloat, my stomach feels like a hard bowling ball. At the moment I'm trying to work out exactly what the triggers are, and what remedies work. I have recently started ending my day with a lemon, manuka and apple cider vinegar tea - I do think it provides relief, but if nothing else, it tastes good!

The photo above is one of my more benign bloats. I've been known to be in the foetal position, unable to move, after some dinners where I've clearly eaten foods my body simply doesn’t agree with.

I'm currently on a mission to work out what underlying issues I have, and what I can do to mitigate the bloat.

Charlie*: "It's a daily struggle."

I've experienced bloating at various levels. If I'm out for the day in activewear or high waisted jeans, I'll usually be in a lot of pain by 2pm. By the time I'm home, my tummy has increased considerably.

I think my bloating is brought on by certain foods that I haven't been able to identify, however it is exacerbated when I wear high-waisted pants - which is a shame, because those clothes tend to be the most flattering!

After recognising this pattern I've tried to be more conscious of what clothes I wear for work or a day out. Saying that, I have not found many clothes that sit lower and still suit me. It's a daily struggle.

If you have issues with bloating, there are things you can do to help reduce it. These include eating more high-fibre foods, trying gut health supplements and exercising regularly. If in doubt, talk to your doctor.

What gives you the bloat? How do you deal with it? Let us know below.

Feature image: Supplied.

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

**Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional.

Nutra-Life
Nutra-Life Gut Relief is the first step to protect and nourish the digestive tract. It combines the power of prebiotics with key nutrients and plant extracts – slippery elm, globe artichoke, marshmallow & aloe vera – to help soothe gut irritation, protect gut lining, and nourish gut bacteria. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly consult your health professional.