Have you ever been so bloated that you didn’t even know what to do?
I have definitely been there before.
If you didn’t know in July of 2018 I had a bowel resection to remove 10” of my small intestine due to scar tissue and an extreme stricture. In the 6-8 months leading up to my surgery I was in pain from bloating and stomach distention almost EVERY DAY. I literally looked 6 months pregnant every day, which I’m sure many of you can relate to unfortunately. It was a really difficult time in my life, but along the way I was able to come up with some great tips and tricks for those of you who may be suffering from something similar. Since my surgery, I have been (relatively) pain free (thank God!).
So, today I thought I would share my top 6 tips for dealing with bloating and stomach distention. But, before we jump in, make sure to that you follow my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to get more updates from me on my day to day life.
1. Movement as medicine
When it comes to bloating and stomach distention, I know movement can seem like the last thing you will want to do. But, trust me when I say that movement will serve you and help to ease the pain. In the months leading up to my surgery I had such bad stomach distention and bloating by mid-afternoon. But, I found that by incorporating yoga or walking earlier in the day it really helped to push back the time that I started getting pain. If I didn’t incorporate some kind of movement early in the day I would have pain by lunch time. Therefore, I found that this was a huge game changer for me. The movement doesn’t have to be anything extreme, sometimes just a nice walk will do the trick.
2. Peppermint oil
THIS was the BIGGEST GAME CHANGER for me when it came to pain management. I apply some Peppermint Halo by Saje Wellness on my stomach and it instantly helps to sooth and numb the pain caused by stomach distention. This was one of the only things that helped me on days where I was in extreme pain leading up to my bowel resection.
3. Heating pack/Hot Bath
Before discovering peppermint oil, a heating pack was my number one pain management method. I still like to incorporate a heating pack sometimes when the peppermint oil isn’t cutting it. But overall, a heating pack is a very inexpensive and effective way to calm down any muscle spasms in the stomach and to sooth bloating. For a cheaper and even more accessible alternative, try running a nice bath. This will help to calm not only your stomach muscles, but your whole body. This can help if you have any additional aches and pains in your body.
4. Hot tea
Like the heating pack, a hot cup of tea will help to sooth your intestines from the inside. I particularly enjoy peppermint, lavender, chamomile, or turmeric. One tip for anyone who suffers with acid reflux as I do, try drinking licorice tea instead of peppermint tea. Peppermint tea, although good to sooth the stomach, does make acid reflux symptoms worse. However, licorice will aid in relaxing the stomach while also soothing acid reflux symptoms.
5. Stay hydrated
Although my bloating/distention was caused by a stricture in my intestines, it can also be caused from the food and nutrients we are in taking. Therefore, it is important to drink plenty of water all the time, but especially when struggling with any bloating. This will help to flush out any toxins and additional salt in your body. A good rule of thumb for water consumption is to drink half your body weight (lbs) in water (ounces) every day. For example, if you weight 130 pounds(lbs) you should drink about 65 ounces of water per day.
6. Pick the right food
Much like water, it is important to pick the right food for the symptoms you are having. If you are experiencing extreme distention or bloating it is a good idea to avoid any hard to digest foods. Some of which could include things like greasy/fried foods, raw fruit and vegetables (especially those with tough skin or that are gas producing), fatty cheese, nuts, seeds, and fatty meats. Check out a previous post I wrote on soluble vs. insoluble fiber for more information on foods that are hard to digest.
Another diet that may be worth considering and discussing with your doctor would be a liquid diet. This diet is not easy to follow and would be best to be followed for only a few months. But it is effective if you are in extreme pain from a stricture in the months that you are waiting for a treatment to work, or waiting for a surgery date, etc. I explain all about a liquid diet/low-residue diet in another blog post, so check that out for more information on the topic.
Have a fantastic week my friend!