To combat belly bloat, I have a few things in my arsenal, including drinking tons of water (close to a gallon a day), limiting my sugar and refined carb intake, getting my fill of fiber every day, and daily intermittent fasting. I also take probiotics every day, as recommended by my doctor, who I saw when I was having extreme tummy issues about two years ago.
I pop one probiotic every day and have gotten into the habit of taking it with my lunch. I'm a fan of Ultimate Flora, either the 50 billion or 30 billion. I love that I can travel with them because they don't need to be refrigerated.
Why I Stopped For 2 Weeks
Combining all these things has helped me finally feel like I have control over preventing my belly bloat. It's an amazing feeling — until one day, when I didn't feel so amazing. That's when I realized I hadn't taken a probiotic in two weeks. Why? It wasn't a glamorous reason: I ran out. I was getting ready for a trip, and when I went to pack my probiotics, I realized I was down to my last pill, and I had forgotten to pick up a bottle.
When I got back from traveling for a few days, I actually felt fine, so I put off getting more. Maybe it was a waste of money and I could save the $28 a month (that's $336 a year!) for something else (more fitness gear, please!). Maybe the other debloating techniques I was doing daily were enough.
After about seven days, my stomach started to feel off. I had been eating less healthy than usual with the warmer weather — lots of vegan ice cream, dinners out, s'mores by the campfire — so I just thought I felt crappy because of that. After a few days of cleaning up my diet, I actually didn't feel any better; I felt worse.
It had now been almost two weeks without taking probiotics, and every day I felt a little more bloated and gassy. By the end of two weeks, I was uncomfortably bloated and had a hard time sleeping because of gas pains. I was shocked. The only thing I had really changed was not taking probiotics, so could that be the reason? I hopped in my car and picked up a bottle to find out.
After just five days of taking my beloved probiotics, I started to feel more like myself again. My belly was less puffy, it felt less gurgly, and my digestive system was — ahem — becoming more regular. I couldn't believe one tiny little pill had this much impact on how my belly felt.
For me, taking probiotics regularly definitely makes a huge difference. I aim to take them daily but found that I'm OK if I skip three or four days — if I go any longer, my belly begins to suffer. Because I know now probiotics definitely do what they say they do, I always keep a new bottle on hand to avoid another unplanned probiotic break.