close
Advertisement

12 things your stomach is trying to tell you

Tummy not happy? Find out why and what you can do about it.

Advertisement
What your tummy is trying to tell you
What your tummy is trying to tell you
Getty Images

It’s round, bloated, painful – and maybe comes with a side of diarrhoea. Here’s how to uncover the problem and find the solution that will keep your gut happy.
 

You ate a big kale salad and now feel pretty bloated
You ate a big kale salad and now feel pretty bloated
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: You piled on too big a portion. Obviously, veggies are super healthy for your body, including your GI system. In fact, they supply the fibre that basically helps clean you out. But that’s also why it can be too much of a good thing. “If you give anyone enough veggies, they’ll end up pretty uncomfortable with bloating and gas,” says David Meyer, MD and gastroenterologist. Don’t think you have to limit the amount you eat. Instead, be more conscious about having smaller portions – and more of them – throughout the day. This is when incorporating veggies into at least one snack (like crudités and hummus in the afternoon) can come in handy. Here are 12 reasons why your belly might be bloated. 
 

When you eat mangoes, you get…bloating and gas
When you eat mangoes, you get…bloating and gas
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Rethink your fruits. If you’re gassy in response to certain foods, doctors often suggest patients educate themselves on the FODMAP diet. (It stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. Whew!) Often recommended for people with IBS, FODMAP teaches you how to avoid the carbohydrates in foods that are more likely to cause trouble, and eat more of the ones typically more tolerable. In terms of fruit, the ones to limit include apples, pears, peaches, cherries, mangoes, cherries, and watermelon. Better options are bananas, blueberries, and grapefruit. “It’s very simple to try and often effective. You can be as strict as you want with it,” says Dr Meyer. Learn more about what eating a low-FODMAP diet really means. Find out more here on how to eat your way to a bloat-free belly. 
 

You sometimes get diarrhoea after eating a cheese sandwich
You sometimes get diarrhoea after eating a cheese sandwich
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Are you sure you’re not lactose intolerant? Many people don’t realise they may be lactose intolerant because they don’t drink milk. “They might not think they eat much dairy, but they have some cheese on their sandwich or creamer in their coffee, and that’s enough to cause subtle symptoms,” says Dr Meyer. Watch for stomach issues like bloating and gas, diarrhoea, or cramping. Dairy is the top food intolerance, he says, so if you suspect that’s the case for you, skip formal testing (it’s often extensive and unnecessary) and instead be strict and cut out all dairy for two to four weeks to see if you have fewer symptoms, he says.
 

But. Weird! You are totally fine having that morning yoghurt
But. Weird! You are totally fine having that morning yoghurt
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Lactose intolerance is different in everyone. If you find that milk and ice cream leave you with a stomach ache and running for the bathroom but that Greek yoghurt is totally fine, know the condition isn’t one-size-fits-all. “There are definitely people who can tolerate different types of dairy and some who can’t eat any at all,” says Dr Meyer. That’s why it helps to pay close attention to what you eat and your symptoms. You’d hate to unnecessarily avoid a food you love, right? Eat your way to a flat belly with these 10 foods.
 

When you pop in a stick of gum, you cramp up
When you pop in a stick of gum, you cramp up
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Lay off the gum. There are two things at play here. One, you could be swallowing air as you chew, which basically blows you up like a balloon. Two – and more likely – it’s the artificial sweetener in the sugar-free gum you’re chomping. Artificial sweeteners aren’t digested by your body, which allows GI bacteria to interact with it and form more air. If you don’t notice this happening, you probably don’t have a problem with artificial sweetener, and the gum is just fine, says Dr Meyer. If you do, the fix isn’t to chew sugar-laden gum (nutritionist and dentists definitely don’t suggest that). Instead, quit the chewing habit.
 

You’re burping a lot – and it’s burning your throat
You’re burping a lot – and it’s burning your throat
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Find your trigger foods. This is one symptom of acid reflux, a condition that is so variable from person to person. For instance, there are classic trigger foods that set off symptoms, like alcohol or caffeine, greasy food, chocolate and even peppermint. But you’ll likely find ones that are unique to you, says Dr Meyer. You can also try eating smaller, more frequent meals, and stop eating at least 90 minutes before going to bed. And of course, losing weight might help. “There are just as many skinny people out there with reflux, but at the same time, I’ve had patients say they’ve lost 10 kilograms and the reflux disappeared,” he says. Here are 37 fat-burning foods to help you lose weight.
 

Ugh. It’s diarrhoea. Why?
Ugh. It’s diarrhoea. Why?
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: You ate something that just did not agree with you. If you’re otherwise healthy and you have diarrhoea for several days or a week, it’s no fun – but it’s usually nothing to worry about. “It’s probably caused by a virus or food poisoning, but will run its course and you’ll go back to feeling normal,” says Dr. Meyer. That said, if you have chronic on-and-off diarrhoea, it’s much more likely to be a food intolerance, IBS, or an underlying medical condition like Crohn’s or thyroid disease. Want to avoid food poisoning? Here are 13 foods you should never, ever eat past the expiration date. 
 

You feel bloated – and it hurts badly
You feel bloated – and it hurts badly
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: You need to go to the bathroom. More than 80 percent of people who get bloated have severe symptoms – and constipation is a common culprit, reports a 2014 study. (It also frequently results in more gas, the researchers say, as bacteria have more time to ferment stool.) Eating small fibre-rich meals throughout the day and drinking at least two litres of water can help. Here are 16 low-carb diet mistakes you should never make. 
 

You’ve got this burning stomach pain
You’ve got this burning stomach pain
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Lay off the NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Ten percent of ulcers – a sore or hole in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the intestine) – are caused by chronic NSAID (ibuprofen or aspirin) use among people, according to the CDC. It can also predispose you to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). In this case, talk to your doctor and come up with a plan if you have a condition that requires long-term treatment with an NSAID. He or she may have you try other medication or take another med, like a proton-pump inhibitor alongside the NSAID to buffer damage to your stomach lining. Find out more about when medicines do more harm than good. 
 

Many days, your stomach is just off
Many days, your stomach is just off
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Try a probiotic supplement. It’s safe, easy to take, and can help alleviate a number of GI complaints, says Dr Meyer. If you’re not having any alarm, it’s fine to try a probiotic for a month to see if it saves you a trip to the doctor, he says. There are tons of probiotic supplements out there and most doctors have a list of those that have worked for their patients. Ask yours for a recommendation. Here are 10 ways to make vitamins and minerals work better for you.
 

Sometimes your belly is fine, other times it’s out of whack
Sometimes your belly is fine, other times it’s out of whack
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Log your symptoms. Keep a strict diary with everything that goes into your mouth, recommends Dr Meyer. Make a column on the left for food/drink and one on the right for your symptoms. Make a note of good and bad days. This isn’t to take to your doctor, but gives you good information on how to manage your symptoms. When you have a good day, you can go back and look at what you ate. It can also help you pinpoint patterns – and foods you’re better off avoiding. It will also help you avoid self-diagnosing yourself with a food tolerance incorrectly. Here are 13 conditions you think you have – but probably don't. 
 

Your stomach is feeling worse and worse
Your stomach is feeling worse and worse
Getty Images

Your stomach’s saying: Make that doctor’s appointment. There are some alarm symptoms – and this is one of them. “It doesn’t mean something terrible is going on with you, but it is a reason to see your doctor,” says Dr Meyer. Other red flag symptoms include pain that’s becoming more intense and severe, unexpected weight loss, and blood in your stool. “If symptoms are chronic and bugging the heck out of you, see your general practitioner,” he says.

Sign up here to get Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories straight to your inbox!
 
Source: RD.com

 



Advertisement
23 lazy ways to burn more kilojoules every day

23 lazy ways to burn more kilojoules every day

These expert-approved activities will boost the burn without your ever breaking a sweat.
9 ways to get rid of your love handles (without a lick of exercise)

9 ways to get rid of your love handles (without a lick of exercise)

Reduce the appearance of belly fat and get rid of love handles without a single crunch or sit-up.
8 weight-loss challenges that only take 30 days

8 weight-loss challenges that only take 30 days

You've got this! These 30-day challenges will clean up your diet, build your confidence, and entice you to work out consistently so you can finally lose weight.
14 foods you think are dairy-free - but aren't

14 foods you think are dairy-free, but aren't

Whether you have a legit allergy, you’re vegan, or you just want to avoid it, you might be fooled by some of the foods that contain dairy.
16 low-carb diet mistakes you should never make

16 low-carb diet mistakes you should never make

You’re on a low-carb diet but weight loss has stalled and you’re getting frustrated. These common mistakes might be sabotaging your health, energy, sleep – and weight-loss success.

Advertisement