The slim women who say they bloat like a balloon within. . . an hour of eating carbs

The slim women who say they bloat like a balloon within. . . an hour of eating carbs
  • Kirsty Badrock, 30, believes certain foods causes her stomach to suddenly swell
  • She has resorted to laxatives and antidepressants to ease the bloating 
  • Jennifer Tucker, 47, says bloating can cause her to look eight months pregnant
  • She began to suffer from digestive problems after she hit age 40 
  • Dietitian Sioned Quirke says a lack of fibre in modern diets can lead to bloating
  • This article from the demonstrates exactly how well our organic Tea Bird blends can work - many people are suffering from bloating reactions after eating and there are natural remedies that will help. If you want our free trial click here to register - 

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that several months separate these two photographs.

    In the first, Kirsty Badrock, 30, reveals a taut tummy, likely to be the result of regular gym sessions and a careful diet. In the second, she looks six months pregnant, with a tell-tale bump.

    But the truth is far more intriguing: for there was just one hour between the pictures being taken. And the reason for such sudden and extreme swelling? Certain foods make Kirsty’s tummy balloon — in this case, she’d eaten a slice of bread to demonstrate the extent of the problem that began two years ago.

    ‘I’m a size 8, but I can go up at least a dress size,’ says the make-up artist from Chester. ‘Sometimes, I’ll be in a lot of pain and have to lie down. It can take as long as a week to return to normal.’

    The impact on Kirsty is immense: not only does the bloating affect her mood and concentration, but she has resorted to laxatives and antidepressants to ease the symptoms. ‘I get quite down about it. If I’m going out for a meal or someone is cooking for me, I get really anxious about whether I will suffer as a result.’

    Before eating breadAfter eating one slice of bread

    Hers may be an extreme case, but more and more of us are suffering reactions to certain foods. Around 70 per cent will suffer digestive problems at some stage, with women more prone than men.

    But is it a modern phenomenon, or something we are simply noticing more in these body-conscious times?

    According to dietitian Sioned Quirke, bloating — when your stomach is stretched, puffy and uncomfortable — appears more common today ‘because people are more aware of the problem’.

    There’s no doubt our obsession with having a flat tummy makes us more sensitive to any fluctuations. A certain amount of expansion is normal. But, says Sioned, the modern diet tends to contain less fibre — which can lead to bloating.

    She explains: ‘Most of us will experience bloating, commonly after a large meal. It can be caused by indigestion, constipation or swallowing air while eating too quickly. But it may also be down to a food intolerance, coeliac disease (allergy to gluten) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).’

    Women also have a slightly longer digestive tract — perhaps to allow them to absorb more fluid during pregnancy. But this can cause them to suffer more digestive issues than men. And Dr Robynne Chutkan, author of Gutbliss, says fluctuating levels of female hormones can weaken the digestive tract, making swelling more of a problem for women.

    With Kirsty, one month she was fine — then the next, her stomach became distended after consuming foods she usually ate. ‘After nearly every meal, I ballooned and looked six months pregnant,’ she says. ‘My stomach felt sore and stretched and I’d get cramping. It would take a few hours to go down, often overnight. I put it down to diet.’

    After two months, she visited her GP, who said it could be IBS. Intolerance tests came back inconclusive. She wasn’t coeliac, either.

    Kirsty says: ‘I tried eliminating wheat, which helps, so now I don’t eat bread, pasta or noodles. But I found it was still happening after eating other foods. I tried a juicing diet, on which I hardly bloated at all — but that isn’t sustainable.

    ‘Then I went vegan [excluding all animal products], but I found it difficult to get enough protein, as beans and peas set me off, and I also have to avoid onion and garlic. Nuts also give me problems — but I’ve now added plain fish, which doesn’t seem to cause an issue. I’ve tried supplements, herbal remedies and even hypnotherapy. Nothing seems to help.’

    Worse is the fact the bloating can cause constipation. ‘I take a daily laxative,’ says Kirsty. ‘And I’m on a daily antidepressant. I asked my doctor for this, as I’d read low doses can be effective in treating symptoms in the gut.’

    Dietitian Sioned says medication can help, but should only be taken under a doctor’s advice.

    Jennifer Tucker, 47, from Lancaster, also suffers visibly from digestive problems — she can look up to eight months pregnant after eating. In severe cases, it impedes her breathing, ‘as my stomach presses up on my lungs’.

    Like Kirsty, Jennifer — who lives with her husband Matthew, 40, a postal worker, and their daughters Wami, 13, Kiana, ten, and son Eric, six — hasn’t always suffered from this problem. In fact, until she hit 40, she was a slim size 10.

    But during her third pregnancy, in 2011, she suffered severe pre-eclampsia and piled on weight: ‘I blew up to a size 22 and got really depressed and close to suicide.

    ‘It was only when I tried a strict detox diet nearly two years ago, cutting out meat and dairy for three months, that the weight came off and I got back to a 14. I started re-introducing foods — that’s when I realised there were things I could no longer tolerate.

    ‘Pasta and bread blow me up completely. White rice has the same effect, so I stick to brown, or cook broccoli or cauliflower rice. I can’t tolerate cream, so I find alternatives.

    ‘I can’t remember what food initially caused the bloating, but when it first happened, it was so painful I thought I was having a heart attack. I’ve never been to the GP about it or had a food intolerance test. I think it’s simply something that has happened to my body as I’ve got older.

    ‘I’m now a size 8 to 10, run regularly and try to stick to a raw or vegan diet. I also take a daily probiotic to balance out my gut’s “good” and “bad” bacteria. But if I do eat something that blows me up, I tuck into a rocket salad with spinach, avocado and tomato.

    ‘There must be something in this that balances out my gut — within minutes of eating one of those, my stomach deflates.’

    Nutritionist Polly Hale says a number of foods might cause a problem: ‘Everyone is different, but dairy, gluten and FODMAP foods (containing specific types of carbohydrate that some of us struggle to digest) are common culprits. Soy, sugar alcohols such as xylitol — found in products including chewing gum — or fizzy drinks may also cause problems.’

    In some cases, it’s more an issue of gut health — bacterial yeast infections, for example, which can be determined through stool tests. An infection or food poisoning can also trigger the problem.

    Polly adds: ‘But it’s more likely to happen if your body is in a lowered immune state or you’re going through a body change, such as pregnancy or the menopause.’

    Charlotte Harding, 31, can sympathise. The stay-at-home mum and blogger, who lives in Cardiff with her husband Richard, 33, a web developer, and sons Ethan, five, and Harrison, three, initially put her swelling down to teenage anorexia.

    ‘I ignored it until my mid to late 20s, after I had my children. But my tummy began to swell as soon as I ate. I’ve had intolerance and allergy tests and even a camera down my throat to check my stomach to see if I’m coeliac, but all tests have been inconclusive.

    ‘I thought dairy might be the cause, but the swelling continued when I cut it out. Even plain chicken and rice trigger it.’

    As well as food, Charlotte blames stress and hormones. She admits it dominates her life and even affects her marriage. ‘I can get quite depressed about it,’ she says. ‘If we’ve eaten in the evening, the last thing I want to do is jump into bed with my husband. I feel too uncomfortable.’

    So Charlotte resorts to drastic measures: ‘I try not to eat much in the day. I’ll have a main evening meal, but make sure I’m wearing pyjamas to let my body expand.’

    But Polly warns against this. ‘Not eating isn’t the answer: too few calories can lead to dizziness, poor concentration, fainting and muscle loss. Finding out the cause is a priority. Alongside a lab test to see if there are any infections, Charlotte should keep a detailed food-and-symptom diary.

    ‘Once the problem is cleared up, except for any genuine allergy or intolerance, you should be able to eat any foods without issue.’

    Meanwhile, dietitian Sioned advises: ‘Peppermint tea is a great natural remedy. Limit your intake of gas-producing foods — such as beans, pulses, sprouts and cauliflower — and eat oats and linseeds, perhaps in cereal.’

    So, for all those suffering an extreme case of post-Christmas bloat, all is not lost.

    This article from the demonstrates exactly how well our organic Tea Bird blends can work - many people are suffering from bloating reactions after eating and there are natural remedies that will help.

    Its one of the reasons we began Tea Bird Tea and customers are regularly asking us for solutions on digestion - we have a range of teas which focus on digestion for this exact problem.

    Our colon cleanse pictured, mint  and alkalizing blends are essential for daily digestive health and really ease ongoing bloating problems like these. Did you know if you recommend 3 friends to our mailing list we will send you a free trial pack just to prove it works?

    If you want our free trial click here to register -

    What have you got to loose apart from your bloat!

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