Older Sister Advice: Bloating

By: Melody Lau

After a night of dining at your favourite restaurant, have you ever felt the need to unbutton your pants or wish you were wearing looser clothes?

If you’re wondering why, then you can blame the culprit—bloating.

Although bloating is a natural occurrence that most girls experience throughout the day, it may make your stomach feel full, tight and uncomfortable. You may also feel your stomach gurgling or rumbling, and the need to burp or pass gas more often.

Bloating occurs in your stomach when your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or gas. It typically occurs after eating, and your stomach will feel hard when you give it a poke. 

What Causes Bloating?

There’s no main answer to what causes your stomach to feel swollen or enlarged.

A common reason is how your body reacts to your diet. Whenever you’re enjoying meals, make note of foods that make you feel bloated and you can make the decision to limit the amount you have at a time. Some foods that produce more gas include dairy products, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), beans and even apples. 

Bloating On Your Period

Many females also report experiencing both bloating and weight gain before or during their period because of the changes in the levels of hormones. Our hormones, progesterone and estrogen, may cause our bodies to retain more water and salt. If you notice you’re feeling more bloated on the first day of your period, then that’s because our bodies tend to retain the most water at the start of your period. Don’t worry, it’ll pass!

Other Causes for Bloating:

Swallowing air: This may sound silly, but it occurs when you chew gum or simply eat too fast. 

Constipation: Bloating is a symptom of constipation, which is when you have trouble passing a bowel movement or have infrequent bowel movements. The difference with constipation bloating is that it may cause serious stomach pain and discomfort.

Overeating: If you often feel bloated after eating big meals, try not to eat as much at one time and eat smaller portions. Another tip is to chew your food more thoroughly to reduce the amount of air you swallow and it allows you to eat slower as well.

    Additional Tips to Prevent or Reduce Bloating

    • Seek out foods high in fibre, potassium and water
    • Eat foods that reduce bloating, including quinoa, cucumbers, celery, pineapple and yogurt
    • Avoid foods or drinks that include fructose or sorbitol—often found in sugar-free foods
    • Drink fewer carbonated drinks
    • Avoid using straws for drinking

    If you notice your bloating is constant and severe, reach out to an adult that you trust and make an appointment with your family doctor.

    We’re always learning new information about our bodies, even as young adults. If you have any “embarrassing” questions that are living rent-free in your mind, be sure to message us on our contact form or just say hi on IG! Please remember that no questions are ever embarrassing or too awkward.

    About the Author:

    Melody is a Master’s student in Journalism and Communication at Western and hopes to pursue a career in entertainment or investigative journalism. She also loves Letterboxd, country music and is excited to be a part of the Apricotton Team! Connect with her here

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