Today, I want to talk about one of the great mysteries of endometriosis: the legendary endobelly.
My relationship with bloating has been going strong for much longer than the one I have with endometriosis. Bloating sadly was the trigger that caused an 11-year eating disorder as a young girl, and is a part of my condition that I can now manage. But it hasn’t fully left me yet.
There’s lots of information online about this, and I’ve tried so many of the suggestions. But they haven’t always worked. I’ve found that my bloating naturally has reduced with the endo diet, but as I mentioned in a previous column, raw vegetables and other unknown triggers can cause my stomach to triple in size. So often, I’ve not been able to work out how to prevent these flare-ups, but instead, make them more comfortable.
As most of my personal treatment of endometriosis comes from a more holistic and natural approach, I have found that various herbs have been my saving grace when it comes to the notorious endobelly. Of course, I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, so this is based on what has helped me and the information I have been able to source. If you’d like more in-depth and professional advice, I always recommend seeing a nutritionist or herbalist.
Without a doubt, this is the savior of all who bloat (well, all whom I know, anyway). Peppermint tea allows me to go from feeling like I might explode to being able to button my jeans back up in 15 minutes. The science behind it is that peppermint is reported to have relaxant and antispasmodic properties, which in turn allows food to be digested more easily.
The general rule is not to drink with food as it can negatively affect our digestion, but drinking peppermint before a meal could help prevent the bloat. I’ve actually never tried this, but am keen to give it a go!
I also used to carry a pack of peppermint capsules to help me in moments when having a peppermint tea wasn’t an option, and they were a huge help.
While many roll their eyes about the benefits of natural foods and herbs for the body, I’ve seen the power of ginger go to work. My brother, who has severe celiac disease, has used ginger when he’s fallen ill due to cross-contamination. In nearly all these cases, we’ve needed an ambulance, but a fresh ginger tea has soothed his stomach to the point where he’s not vomiting or crippled with cramps as much as he was before.
I mentioned in my previous columns that I used to suffer from bad nausea, and ginger has always supported me with this, often taking away the sickness within minutes of drinking the tea. Ginger is also reported to help digestion by stimulating saliva, bile, and gastric juice, encouraging the breakdown of foods and reducing bloating.
Again, fresh ginger with a meal, or in a tea before or after a meal, could help you with this symptom.
I neglect fennel, and I’ve no idea why, because it’s yet another herb that has helped me when I’ve been plagued by the endobelly. Fennel seeds, or fennel tea, is said to help particularly with flatulence. This is due to the natural oils, which like peppermint are antispasmodic as well as anti-inflammatory (endo bonus there).
You don’t need to make a tea to reap the benefits either, I’ve literally chewed on a small handful of seeds and my bloating issues have dramatically reduced in a very short amount of time. If you’re not convinced, it seems I’m not the only one to have experienced the super fast power of fennel.
If you suffer from bloating or gas on a daily basis, be prepared. These herbs and teas are pretty cheap, and you should be able to buy the entire lot for under $10. Experiment and see what helps you most throughout your day. Maybe carrying peppermint-infused water will help prevent the bloat in the first place, or having a handle of fennel seeds after lunch will allow you to get through the afternoon comfortably. Try them out and see what helps you the most.
I actually can’t believe I’ve neglected using some of these for so long when they’ve helped me so much in the past! I’m heading to the shops after this to buy my stash — perhaps my relationship with bloating is finally coming to an end.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.