Back to Gut Basics: Bloating – with Dr Chris George

Back to Gut Basics: Bloating – with Dr Chris George

NHS GP Dr Chris George gives us the lowdown on all things bloating including what it is, what symptoms look like and GP-approved ways to help.

Bloating: What is it?

Bloating is a full or uncomfortable feeling affecting the tummy. It is a very common symptom and there are several things you can do to help relieve bloating.

What are the common symptoms?
  • Your tummy feeling full or bigger than usual
  • Tummy pain or discomfort
  • Your tummy rumbling or making noises
  • Passing gas more than usual

5 GP-approved ways to help
  1. Regular exercise and increasing your daily water intake can help digestion and reduce bloating.
  2. Peppermint oil or capsules can help to reduce bloating symptoms and is used quite often for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Peppermint helps to relax the muscles in the intestinal wall which allows gas to move along more effectively.
  3. Increase the amount of fibre in your diet slowly to achieve the recommended 30g per day of fibre which helps prevent constipation and bloating.
  4. Massaging your tummy from right to left can also provide some relief from bloating.
  5. Avoid fizzy drinks containing additional gas, gas producing foods such as cabbage, beans or lentils, eating late at night and slouching whilst eating meals.

When to see your GP?
The bottom line is if you notice any changes in your digestive symptoms or have concerns then you should speak to your GP. In clinic I often hear patients say that their symptoms are trivial and that they don’t want to waste resources, but this really shouldn’t be the case. If you’re worried or embarrassed, then writing things down or bringing a friend can sometimes help.

The emergency symptoms that require an urgent appointment include:

  1. Blood in the stool or on the paper
  2. Persistent change in bowel habit
  3. A pain or lump in the tummy
  4. Unexplained weight loss
  5. Extreme tiredness for no reason

Whilst in most cases these symptoms are nothing to worry about it is important to get checked up.

Find out more: 

Back to Gut Basics: Excess Gas  

Back to Gut Basics: Tummy cramps