Bloating is one of the unpleasant symptoms that's associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and with an estimated 20% of the UK population suffering from the uncomfortable condition, that's a lot of bloat we've got going on collectively.
One person who knows about it all too well is 24-year-old Emily Catterall from Preston in Lancashire. Emily was diagnosed with IBS by her doctor after experiencing bloating and discomfort for months. Her symptoms were so bad, it made her avoid socialising around food.
"For about four months I was suffering from really bad stomach aches and a really swollen stomach. I went from wearing size 8 jeans to looking like I was nine months pregnant," she told The Sun.
Emily, who has more than 43,000 followers on Instagram, had read about specific foods being a trigger for IBS, so she began trying to cut various different things from her diet in a bid to work out what it was. But like a needle in a haystack, the social worker found it almost impossible to pinpoint the specific causes of her painful bloating.
"I was changing my lunch so often to try and find out what was causing the problem that it just became impossible," she said.
Unsure what to do next, Emily shared a picture of her bloated stomach on social media, and one of her followers suggested she try an at-home food intolerance test. Eager to try anything, Emily carried out the test, and then paid to have her results analysed to see if she had any sensitivities or intolerances.
Ten days later, her results came back and revealed she was intolerant to egg, milk, yeast and beef. "Even though I thought I had been changing my diet I was still eating a lot of these foods because eggs and milk can be hidden in all sort of things," she explained.
Emily immediately cut the problem foods from her diet, and within just two days she noticed an immense difference. "Not being bloated has made such a big difference to my confidence," she told The Sun.
Since cutting trigger foods out of her diet, Emily has consulted with a nutritional therapist she accessed via her at-home intolerance test, and discovered she could actually begin gradually re-introducing the foods back into her diet.
"I started by reintroducing egg yolk first and then three days later I reintroduced egg white. I then tried natural yoghurt, a little bit of milk, and I’ve had cheese since," Emily said. All she has to do is make sure she doesn't overeat any of her trigger foods, using replacement products instead, or they could likely become problematic for her digestion again.
As nutritionist Fiona Hunter explained to Cosmopolitan.com/uk in a previous article, "it’s important to understand that IBS can cause different symptoms for different people. Sufferers can react to different foods so there is no one-size-fits-all diet when it comes to IBS."
If you're suffering badly with IBS, it's therefore perhaps worth trying an at-home test to see if you can identify the specific foods that are causing problems with your body.
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