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A three image progression of a stomach bloating

Feeling Bloated and Methods for Coping

Last updated: June 2023

I recently had a question posed to me on my foundation site. It read like this:

“Ms. Nash, how do you get your body from bloating like a balloon? I am feeling constipated, and my bloated stomach is making it hard for me to want to be active.”

First, I want to clarify that I am not a doctor. I am not a clinical nutrition expert either. I am a patient who fought hepatitis C and is still currently fighting cirrhosis

Tackling bloat with your diet

I do my best to maintain my diet and eat healthier, but like anyone, I crave sugar, salt, and things that I know I should avoid. I always end up paying the price for it the next day. 

I am speaking only of a bloat feeling today, not ascites. That is a whole other form your body takes on in the later stages of liver disease, and I will write on that subject another time. 

Today I am talking about just feeling gas and bloating.

With liver disease, I have been told countless times by my hepatologist to limit my sugar intake. Sugar (glucose) in excess in our blood is turned into fat cells. 

Our livers are the first place these fat cells store up. If you are struggling with a liver that has been damaged by hepatitis C and have cirrhosis, this is very dangerous as the liver cells that are good still in your liver have the potential to be replaced by fat cells, hence where fatty liver disease comes from.

What can one do to help detoxify an overstimulated liver that has been dosed with sugary foods? Change your diet. I can’t stress the importance of a liver-friendly diet. 

This means eliminating alcohol, unhealthy fats, additives, preservatives,s and processed foods with refined sugar. I know this sounds horrible and limited as to what you are able to eat, but I assure you that if you make slight changes to your diet and gradually introduce more liver-friendly foods.

Foods like green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale or brussels sprouts, blueberries, cranberries, fish, chicken, whole grains, and nuts are great. You will notice the feeling of bloat will lessen.

Limit salt and products that contain high sodium, like chips, dips, and processed foods. Salt will also cause water retention.

I can always tell the next morning by trying to wear a pair of my jeans or my elastic waist pants. These are the ones that I feel most comfortable wearing because if I have gorged myself on a fat, sugary meal with salt and I will be sure to wear my elastic pants.

Water intake and bloat

Water is critical. You hear that everywhere you go. 

For myself, I really can’t drink just plain tap water. I am very picky about the water I drink. It has to be chilled if out of the tap, and I started drinking more sparkling waters with no sugar added. 

But with that, I started noticing a bloat feeling with that as well. It is said that the carbonation in sparkling waters can cause some people to bloat and have excessive gas. This became very uncomfortable for me, so I switched to tap water and limited my sparkling water.

So now I keep extra containers in my fridge with chilled water. You may be fine with tap water and dislike chilling it. That is just okay. 

The point here is to limit sugary drinks and stick to more water. Add a lemon wedge, orange slice, strawberries, cucumbers, and berries to the water, and you will find a whole new bliss in drinking plain water.

You will learn with your own body what works best for you. Keep in mind that no one is the same. 

What works best for me may not work for you. It is all trial and error. But start with these suggestions and build on your way of limiting your bloat.

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