Feeling bloated and gassy isn’t a topic that’s often discussed in detail, but rest assured you’re certainly not the only person to suffer from with a digestive system that sometimes acts a little sluggish. Digestive problems are actually very common, especially amongst women, with around half of all women in the UK experiencing tummy troubles at least once per week . The good news is that diarrhoea, bloating, and constipation are usually not anything we need to worry about. They can, of course, make us feel uncomfortable, which is why it’s important to understand the best ways to tune up your digestion.
Beating Digestive Distress
The digestive system is remarkably sensitive, and can easily become upset by even minor changes in lifestyle - everything from having an extra glass of lemonade at lunch to mounting stress over a big deadline . However, beating digestive discomfort isn’t quite as simple as piling your plate high with vegetables. In fact, some ‘good’ foods, such as cabbage and onions, can make you even more gassy .
While some small dietary changes can have a significant impact upon digestive health - cutting out gassy foods like beans and eating more fibre, for example - many people find that they need a little helping hand to get them feeling like their normal selves once more. The NHS recommends the use of probiotics  and activated charcoal , which are available over-the-counter from food supplement suppliers.
‘Good’ bacteria in the gut is partially responsible for keeping the digestive system running smoothly, but sometimes this bacteria can be attacked by 'bad' bacteria. This can easily happen if you’re vitamin deficient, if you’ve recently had a bout of diarrhoea, or if you’ve been taking certain medications. Probiotics can help restore the good bacteria in your gut, improving digestive health . Probiotics are typically available in supplement form, and can sometimes be found in yogurts, drinks, and spreads.
Activated charcoal supplements work by absorbing excess gas in the digestive system, helping to minimise your symptoms, and also by absorbing any potentially dangerous poisons or toxins in the body that could be the cause of your digestive discomfort . The NHS also recommend the use of charcoal pads, which can be fitted inside the clothing, to absorb odours if you’re suffering with excess flatulence. While these pads don’t directly treat the problem, they can help to temporarily mask your symptoms.
Staying Happy and Healthy
Unfortunately, a sluggish digestive system can be a common occurrence. Short periods of bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation are considered to be normal, and can be caused by your diet, stress, lifestyle changes, hormonal changes, and many other factors. In most cases, you should be able to successfully manage your symptoms through probiotics and activated charcoal, but if your symptoms continue, or you’re suffering with long term digestive discomfort, it’s always best to check in with your doctor.