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When there’s an excessive accumulation of gas in the stomach or intestine, you get that stinging feeling of tension in the abdomen. Unhealthy eating habits and inactivity are among the causes of this, and may be accompanied by headache, fatigue, belching, bloating, flatulence, nausea, abdominal cramps, constipation or diarrhoea.

Every day, we produce from 400 to 1,200 ml of gas! Yes, that is quite a bit! Some of it is gas produced by our gut flora, with an enzyme responsible for the formation of hydrogen and methane in the colon, starting from fermented ingested foods. Some of it depends on how much air we swallow.

Causes

Aerophagia: We don’t realise that we “eat” a decent amount of air, especially if we’re rushing through meals, or anxious and stressed while eating. This is called aerophagia.

Dysbiosis: This is when there’s a disbalance in our gut flora, caused by infections, antibiotics (or other drugs), food disorders/intolerances and stress conditions.

Inflammations: Inflammations in the stomach, small intestine or colon can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, food poisoning or allergies, drinking very cold drinks or conditions like indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome.

Preventions

Fermentation: It is caused by sugary, fizzy drinks, complex carbohydrates, yeast in baked goods or beer, fiber-rich foods such as legumes, and even sweets, among others. Reducing the intake of these foods prevents fermentation in the belly.

Equilibrium: Keep the gut flora in balance, wherein there’s little to no room for the aggression of pathogenic microorganisms. This helps limit episodes of swelling.

Sport and Relaxation: Sport and physical activities are very helpful, as a trained belly is less sensitive to swelling.

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