Bloating — it’s something most women have experienced at least once in their lifetime, and it sure isn’t pretty or particularly comfortable. And while it’s easy for us to dismiss the bloat as something that comes with “that time of the month” or other hormonal changes (the joys of womanhood), it turns out more often than not, our bodies are trying to tell us a bigger story.
So, with the help of nutritional advisor for Freedom Foods, Joanna McMillan, PhD, we’re getting to the bottom of what our bellies are trying to tell us every time they bloat so that you can beat it for good.
1. If it happens when you eat…
Does simply eating make your belly bloat like a balloon? There could be an easy solution to your problem — chewing.
“Inadequate chewing can certainly contribute to indigestion. And, if you also eat too quickly, more air is swallowed, and this could contribute to bloating and excessive belching,” says Dr. McMillan.
2. If it happens every time you drink milk…
Lactose intolerance could be blamed for post-dairy bloating.
“Lactose intolerance means you don’t break down lactose in the small intestine, so it enters the colon, where it’s rapidly fermented by gut bugs,” McMillan explains. “This leads to gas and potentially draws fluid into the colon.” Pay your doctor a visit if you suspect you’re lactose intolerant.
3. If it happens whenever you’re stressed…
“The brain and the gut are connected and speak to each other,” McMillan explains. “Stress affects the functioning of the gut, usually to make it contract.”
This can land you with excessive gas — the definite precursor to bloating.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.