‘Why is my stomach so bloated?’

One Starts at 60 reader is experiencing bloating. Source: Getty.

Q: The last two months I’ve been experiencing bloating and have so much gas, particularly of a night when I lay down. I burp quite a few times during the day, but of the night I’m worse. I have cut my tea drinking to one cup after my dinner and the last two days I have not had wine as I feel so bloated. I have always had a funny stomach when younger but not like this. I am 78 and have put on a little weight which I notice in slacks and shorts. I know when I see the doctor on my usual five-week visit she will want to send me to have that tube up and down [gastroscopy]… Are there any other suggestions from you?

Your stomach could have a common bug called helicobacter pylori which is nothing to be worried about, however, it would be best to first check this with your GP. Burping and bloating are also often associated with low hydrochloric acid in your stomach which happens as we age. Try some apple cider vinegar, 20 to 30 millilitres in a little water with your meals to help aid your digestion. Be patient as this takes a while to work. As for weight gain, unfortunately, as we age we have to eat less or exercise more to stay in shape. Try reducing your portion sizes. As this is only a little weight gain you may find that is just the trick to reduce the extra kilos.

Q: I definitely enjoy my veggies, green leafy or not, steamed, stir-fried, or raw. However, the flatulence aspect from a good intake each day is on occasion downright embarrassing. Is there anything one can do to avoid daily built-up gas in the guts?

Some vegetables cause more flatulence than others such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage. Generally, green leafy vegetables do not cause as much of an issue. You could take a digestive enzyme to help with your digestion of these healthy greens and ensure you have some probiotic foods to help colonate some good bacteria in your bowel to help break down the fibre from the vegetables such as 1/4 cup of strained Greek yoghurt (not Greek-style). Take this daily with your breakfast or as a snack with low fructose fruit, pawpaw, strawberries, peaches or honeydew melon, often high fructose fruit can cause embarrassing wind too!

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s health experts, email it to [email protected].

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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