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Stomach bloating: One underlying cause you may not know about – here’s how to treat it

Stomach bloating is an ongoing struggle for many people in the UK. Despite attempts to alleviate it, the stretching sensation in the tummy can persist. Issues related to the gut often require a person to address the underlying causes to tackle the problem. Bloating is no exception.

It’s possible to top up B12 through foods, supplements and prescribed injections

It may come as a surprise that a deficiency of vitamin B12 in a person’s diet can lead to digestive tract issues such as bloating and gas, according to medical website LiveStrong.

It can also cause a range of other issues related to the digestive tract such as nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting, heartburn, constipation or diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Fortunately, it’s possible to top up B12 through foods, supplements and prescribed injections, which may help alleviate the gas and bloating that a lack of B12 can cause.

According to the NHS, Good sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Meat
  • Salmon and cod
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs

According to Catherine M. Zymaris, a registered dietician and founder of the Simply A (RD) Foodie Blog, dairy and eggs are the two best options for vegetarians to naturally incorporate vitamin B12 in their diet.

But cautioned against consuming full-fat dairy to protect a person’s heart from excess cholesterol.

According to the NHS, vitamin b12 deficiency can also be treated with injections.

There are 2 types of vitamin B12 injections:

  • Hydroxocobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin

Hydroxocobalamin is usually the recommended option as it stays in the body for longer, said the NHS.

A daily supplement is another way to replenish the vitamin.

According to Harvard Health, the standard multivitamin delivers six micrograms, more than enough to cover the average body’s daily need.

Bloating can also be caused a host of other underlying causes.

According to Harvard Health, these include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterized by a combination of symptoms (bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or constipation) that last for three or more months.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, an inflammation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the small intestine. It’s triggered by a protein called gluten that’s found in wheat, barley, and rye.
  • Constipation, a condition defined by fewer than three bowel movements per week, hard or dry stools, the need to strain to move the bowels, and a sense of an incomplete evacuation. “If you’re not emptying your gut, there’s no room in your abdomen, and you’ll have excess bloating,” Dr. Staller says.
  • Gastroparesis, a sluggish emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine.
  • Cancer. Colon, ovarian, stomach, and pancreatic cancer are among the cancers that can have bloating as a symptom.

A person’s tummy swelling can also be the result of a food intolerance.

As the NHS explained, the main offenders are wheat or gluten and dairy products.

“The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the culprit food or cut it out completely,” said the NHS.

The health body also advised keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything a person eats and drinks and when bloating troubles them the most.

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