Tips to help you manage the distressing symptom of endo belly
This is one topic that is very significant and close to the heart for most women who suffer endometriosis.
We all know that bloating, or endo belly as it is often called, is a really common symptom and often seems to happen at the worst time. This symptom causes much distress, pain, discomfort and often leaves women not knowing how to get any relief and stuck in bed with a hot water bottle.
As well as bloating being caused by endometriosis, there can be other causes for the bloating with endometriosis including: inadequate stomach acid, food intolerances and low gallbladder function. Bloating can also be caused when endometriosis infiltrates the intestines which will cause inflammation.
Additionally, there can be other causes of bloating and gut distress as not all the symptoms you are suffering may be caused by endometriosis. Other gut problems you may be dealing with can include Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Leaky Gut, Candida or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It will be a good idea to work with your Doctor or Natural Health Specialist to diagnose and treat these other health issues, especially as SIBO can lead to health problems like serious nutrient deficiencies.
For many women it seems the most common trigger for bloating is related to the foods they eat. This is when doing an elimination diet will help you to understand which foods are causing you problems.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS THAT MAY GIVE YOU SOME RELIEF FROM THE PAIN AND DISCOMFORT OF BLOATING WITH ENDO
Boost good bacteria
Aim for a daily consumption of a good quality probiotic supplement. Probiotics can help heal the gut and aid in digestion. As well as supporting the gut probiotics support the immune system (80% of your immune system starts in the gut), and certain strains can impact mental health and support neurotransmitter production.
Using digestive enzymes can help you to digest your food better and take the strain off your digestive system. During illness it can be common for the body not to produce enough stomach acid and this will reduce the function of your gut to help breakdown food. Digestive enzymes can also be used taken away from meals to help with inflammation. These enzymes include bromelain, a digestive enzyme extracted from the pineapple stem (500 to 1000 mg taken four times a day apart from meals); papain, an enzyme derived from papaya (200 to 300 mg. four times a day apart from meals).
Support Gallbladder Function
You can also add 1-2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a small glass of water ½ hr before each meal for additional digestive support. Add a shot of apple juice to reduce the acidity and make it easier to drink. Certain herbs can also support gallbladder function including Dandelion and Slippery Elm, and eating foods high in choline which helps in the production of bile.
Fix gut health issues
As already mentioned, it will help to work with a medical professional to assess and treat other gut issues like SIBO, Leaky Gut etc.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a serious condition affecting the small intestine. It occurs when bacteria that normally grow in other parts of the gut start growing in the small intestine.
If left untreated it can lead to problems of malabsorption of nutrients, especially fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D as well as iron. As women with endometriosis can easily become low in iron due to heavy periods, having depleted iron levels can make you feel very weak and fatigued.
Leaky gut, or "intestinal permeability," is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to "leak" through the intestines and flood the blood stream. treated with diet changes and adding the support of gut healing supplements like Slippery Elm, Collagen and Aloe Vera juice is very healing to the gut.
For Candida, avoiding all forms of yeast forming foods, fermented foods, and mold foods is essential, as these will all help to feed the Candida yeast over-population. Additional natural treatments include peppermint oil capsules, Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic and garlic taken in capsule form can help.
Avoid trigger foods
Many foods can aggravate bloating especially inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, red meat, gluten and soy. It will really help to keep a food diary so you can track your food triggers. Make sure you avoid foods that increase gassiness and for many the main problem foods tend to be veggies with high cellulose content (a topic we have already covered) and eating beans and pulses, but this problem can be minimized by soaking beans and pulses before cooking .
Peppermint tea and ginger tea are both effective in helping soothe the gut and relieve digestive distress. Peppermint has antispasmodic and relaxing properties and is best drunk between meals. Ginger has also been reported to help digestion by stimulating bile and gastric juices, encouraging the breakdown of foods and reducing bloating. Both of these teas can also help relieve nausea which is commonly suffered with endo.
Keep your bowels moving
This is easier said than done and many women with endo suffer from constipation. One of the first recommendations from your doctor is to increase your fiber intake, but make sure you balance your intake between soluble and non-soluble fiber. Increase your water intake and one of the best ways to keep your bowels moving is magnesium. Magnesium citrate or small doses of magnesium oxide are the best options for constipation. One really good product to take for constipation which is also good to take to before bed is called Magnesium Calm, which is a powder mixed in water.
Castor Oil Packs
Applying a castor oil pack to your abdomen can be very soothing and healing. Castor oil packs have the ability to reduce inflammation and reduce bloating, may be able to reduce scar tissue, they can help calm the central nervous system and support the digestive system. You can also apply a castor oil pack over your liver area which will help to improve detoxification. It is not advisable to do castor oil packs while you are menstruating or while pregnant.
Not always easy to achieve, but as stress is a major cause of bloating it can be beneficial to find ways to minimize stress in your life. Even doing something like a basic breathing exercise can help reduce stress. Some women say that a gentle walk helps reduce their bloating, and certain yoga positions can also help.
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