05 Oct 2022

Valentine's Day, is your gut ready for a romantic dinner date?

How to date with a digestive disorder

Valentine's Day, is your gut ready for a romantic dinner date?

First dates can be notoriously nerve-wracking. Will the person be interesting, will they find me interesting? Will it be awkward? Will you get spinach stuck in your teeth? Will one you need an early exit strategy? Now, add to that the anxiety of flatulence and your valentine’s date could spiral into a nightmare, fast.

As the big day approaches, many Donegal couples will be thinking of everything that can got right - and wrong.

Dr Deirdre O’Donovan, Gastroenterologist at the Blackrock Clinic:

“Flatulence is a natural and completely normal means of venting gas from the body. This gas is a combination of swallowed air and gas generated by resident gut flora in our intestine. Despite protests, we all do it regularly during the day. The problem arises when the volume, quantity or odour of these emissions becomes unsociable and we become embarrassed by our gut.”

Of course, passing gas is something that everyone does but the office is clearly not the place for it, a lift or most public transport. But for some the choice is very much taken from them and gas is making them very uncomfortable. While some find the topic of wind funning, for others it can be a serious issue causing pain and discomfort and there are few serious health consequences to temporarily holding gas in.

Considering most healthy people do it between 14 and 23 times a first or valentines date requires some strategising if the need arises. Excessive gas can be embarrassing and uncomfortable but there are a few easy steps that may help GP Dr Sinead Bernie’s from Virgin Media’s Doctor in the House Top tips on managing gut health;

1. Drink water

Loading up on water daily has a beneficial effect on the lining of the gut. Water can also promote the balance of good bacteria in the gut

2. Reduce alcohol

It’s easy to drink too much alcohol during a first date. Although we might enjoy having a few beers or a few glasses of wine to relax, our guts too often pay the price. Flatulence, bloating and belching are all common effects of booze on the gut. One of the best things you can do is to instead hydrate with water.

3. Exercise

Exercise is that magic medicine that has positive effects on every aspect of our health and our gut is no exception. In fact, there is evidence that exercise changes the bacteria in our guts for the better. It also helps prevent constipation and moves along unwanted gas!

4. Eat more fibre

Many studies have strongly linked high-fibre diets with longer and healthier lives. Once again this is tied with our gut microbes. A good varied fibre diet helps the good bugs in our gut to thrive which helps digestion. So stock up on lots of fruit and veggies.

5. Reduce junk food

Unfortunately, our guts don’t like sugary fatty processed foods. Try to avoid junk foods like soft drinks, biscuits, chips and pizza. This can be a hard habit to break so instead try to plan ahead and keep healthy snacks at hand.

6. Take a probiotic

When you’re leading a busy life and find that your irritable bowel is playing havoc I’d highly recommend taking Alflorex. It’s a probiotic with a unique 35624 culture that has been proven to improve symptoms of IBS.

Happy Valentine's day.

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