Stomach bloating: Study reveals a certain posture position may increase your risk

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Stomach bloating is usually characterised by a stretchy, puffy sensation in the tummy. It is typically follows a blowout meal. An expanding waistline can leave people feeling self-conscious and in pain. While cutting out gassy culprits from the diet may reduce the swelling, research has found a certain posture position may also aggravate the condition too.

A study published on the gut published by BMJ Journals found that body posture has a significant influence on intestinal gas expulsion, finding that the upright position encourages greater gas release then when someone is in the supine position.

As the study reports, patients often describe that body posture affects their abdominal bloating, distension, and flatulence, but whether changes in position have objectively demonstrable effects, either beneficial or deleterious, has not previously been investigated.

Eight healthy individuals (three women and five men; age range 21 to 28 years) participated in the study after giving written informed consent.

Subjects completed a pre-entry questionnaire to determine the absence of gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly symptoms of constipation, one difficult gas evacuation, feeling of excessive abdominal gas, or excessive gas evacuation.

Participants were instructed to follow a diet excluding legumes, vegetables, onion, nuts, cereals, wholemeal bread, and fizzy drinks during the two days prior to each study day.

The night before the study they had a dinner that could consist of meat, fish, eggs, rice, pasta, and/or white bread but avoiding in particular dairy products, salad, fruit, and alcoholic beverages.

All participants were required to have one bowel movement within the 12 hours prior to the study or otherwise the study was postponed.

On each study day participants were orally intubated after an eight hour fast.

In each experiment, intestinal gas was infused continuously for three hours, and perception and girth measurements were obtained at 15 minute intervals.

The data indicated that body position had a significant influence on intestinal gas transit.

Specifically, the study showed that gas transit and evacuation are faster in the upright than in the supine position.

According to the NHS, eating certain foods can encourage bloating, such as:

  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Sprouts
  • Cauliflower

Swallowing too much air can also cause the tummy to swell. Chewing gum and drinking fizzy drinks, for example, increase a person’s air intake.

If the bloating persists, it might signify a person has a particular food sensitivity or intolerance.

According to the NHS, food intolerance can lead to bloating when:

  • Your bowel doesn’t empty properly
  • The food causes gas to be trapped
  • Too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food

“The main offenders are wheat or Gluten and dairy products,” explained the NHS.

To establish whether the bloating is being caused a food intolerance, the NHS recommends keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything that you eat and drink and when bloating troubles you most.

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