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A Doctor’s Guide to Beating the Christmas Bloat

By DR SETH RANKIN | UPDATED: 07:42, 11 December 2019

Christmas. The season of mince pies, celebration chocolate boxes and flowing bubbles.

While a little indulgence is great every once in a while, overindulgence can leave us feeling bloated and gassier than usual!

Bloating occurs when the digestive tract becomes filled with air or gas. Intestinal gas is one of the most common reasons you might be bloated. Releasing excess gas is a normal bodily function, we all do it, even the Queen. But too much gas can sometimes lead to awkward situations…

The normal amount of flatulence produced by a human would be around 13 to 21 times a day. There are measures to take to reduce gas (and potential embarrassment) from your life, and that is by identifying the causes of the gas.

What is making you frequently gassy and bloated?

Eating too fast! – Slow down, your food isn’t going anywhere! Eating too fast can mean you inhale too much air which can lead to more gas contributing to bloating.

High Fibre foods – These foods include Brussel sprouts, peas, oats, fruits and of course ‘beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat the more…. you know’

Lactose Intolerance – If you are feeling particularly bloated after a festive gingerbread latte or a cheese board it may be that you are Lactose Intolerant. So it is probably a good idea to cut down or completely cut out dairy products.

Too many bubbles – Those 3pm Diet Coca Colas in the office, and those evenings filled with bubbly and Prosecco probably are not helping. Carbonated drinks are a big contributor to flatulence.

Sugary overload – Refined sugars are found in most foods, but some more than others. It doesn’t help if you are scoffing mince pies, candy canes, chocolates, gingerbread men, Christmas puddings… I could go on and on but you get the point.

Multivitamins – It’s winter so naturally you may up your supplement intake and be taking something for that Christmas shopping headache. But be careful some medications including Ibuprofen, multivitamins and iron supplements can cause gas so best to read the side effects before you get any surprises.

How to avoid gas and bloating in the future?

Everything is best in moderation, so try to cut down sugary treats where and when you can (we know it is hard, especially at Christmas, but your body will thank you for it!)

Slowly introduce more fibre into your diet. I emphasize the word ‘slowly’, too much fibre can do the opposite and lead to you being more bloated.

Maybe opt for water instead of your fizzy drinks (don’t look at me like that) and say no to that third glass of Prosecco being poured into your glass. Avoiding carbonated drinks will reduce your bloat.

Drink peppermint tea for easier digestion, it can relieve spasms in your gut and ease pain.

Exercise regularly. Yep, we know you don’t have time with all that Christmas shopping, but it is highly recommended. Regular exercise helps strengthen the digestive tract and keep the gut healthy.

Cut out the bad habits such as smoking, chewing gum and drinking through a straw as these may cause the stomach to fill with air, leading to gas.

A few medications can aid gas reduction such as; Antacids, Heartburn tablets and even charcoal tablets (google them!)

Just remember it happens to everyone. Most of the time, it’s perfectly normal and no cause for concern. However, if your bloating is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and weight loss it could be an indication of a more serious problem. If you are concerned, or would like some professional advice please make an appointment with a GP.

Dr Seth Rankin founder of London Doctors Clinic part of the Doctors Clinic Group

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