candiceWritten by Candice Taylor, chiropractor at Back 2 Balance, Brighton and Hove.

At one point or another we have all felt bloated, however, some of us are a little more prone than others. With the festive season behind us we are more likely to have overindulged and feel bloated. Here I will be talking about what bloating is, possible causes and some natural remedies.

Abdominal bloating is where the abdomen feels uncomfortably full, distended and tight. It has been shown that bloating can affect a person’s ability to engage in social activities and are more likely to take more sick days when compared to non sufferers.

Symptoms often come and go including a sense of uncomfortable fullness, swelling of the abdomen and a sensation of tightness. These are often accompanied with pain, excessive gas and burping.

The most common causes of bloating include:

* Swallowing air

* Constipation

* Heartburn

* Irritable bowel syndrome

* Overgrowth of bacteria in the gut

* Menstruation

* Sugar substitutes (fructose and sorbitol)

Persistent bloating can also be a symptom of some medical conditions such as wheat gluten intolerance, polycystic ovary syndrome, ovarian cancer and other abdominal diseases. If concerned about these please consult a medical professional.

Bloating can often be reduced or prevented by a few lifestyle changes.

* Eat only when hungry

* Avid snacking or eating while your first meal is digesting

* Try probiotics

* Use digestion-stimulating spices such as ginger, cumin and black pepper.

If you feel bloated it can be relieved by:

* Fennel or mint tea

* 5 minutes of abdominal breathing

* A short brisk walk

* Lying on left side while breathing deeply

* Childs pose

* Chewing on stem ginger or fennel seeds

Not all of these work for everyone, it is about trying different things to see what works for you and your body. After years of battling with bloating myself I know how uncomfortable and frustrating it can be. I have found that using some of the techniques above and having chiropractic treatment has helped keep my symptoms under control.