a bloated woman with a balloon inside of her

My New Asthma Trigger – Bloating.

A few months ago, I was prescribed a new medication to help manage a recently diagnosed chronic condition (like many of you, asthma is not my only challenge).

Normally, I do not experience every side effect from every medication I use. I consider that a lucky break because sometimes I am taking many medications at the same time. Unfortunately, I did experience some unpleasant side effects from the new medication. I have constant nausea and bloating. Despite the side effects, the medication was managing my other chronic condition very well, so I decided to stick it out. I am giving myself three months to see if the side effects will become more tolerable.

I just started my third month, and I have reduced my nausea by grazing on saltine crackers throughout the day. I have adjusted other daily meds. The bloating, however, has gotten worse and has been triggering my asthma. This is a new asthma trigger for me. I have been trying to manage the bloating by limiting my coffee intake, eating slower, and reducing portion sizes. It is not helping much.

The bloating triggered an asthma episode

While leaving the house to head to a sock knitting class a few days ago and was nervous. I signed up at the last minute, I didn’t get much sleep the night before, I was running late, and my stomach was bloated and hurting. I got in the car and suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was short of breath. The stress of the class and my bloated stomach pushing on my diaphragm were the perfect combination for an asthma episode.

I started the car and took a puff of my rescue inhaler. I haven’t used it for a while and it tasted terrible, even though I sprayed two puffs in the air to prime it. I put the car in gear and started driving to my class, taking a second puff of my inhaler at a stoplight. The yarn shop is in an adorable old building. When I arrived, I felt a small sense of panic when I realized the class was upstairs. There was no elevator, so there was no way to avoid climbing the steep staircase. I stood in the lobby for a few minutes trying to control my breathing and prepare to tackle the stairs. I was already embarrassed about being late and I didn’t want to struggle to take a breath at the top of the stairs with everyone looking at me.

I slowly climbed the steps, doing my best to control my breathing (in through the nose, out through the mouth). Whew! I reached the top and was pretty darn proud of myself. Then I found out that I needed to head back downstairs to get a few supplies, then back upstairs for the class. I’m sure the look on my face showed the sheer terror I felt having to climb those steps for a second time. I try not to be embarrassed by my asthma, but I couldn’t help feeling that way at the time. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to hide my asthma symptoms after climbing the stairs a second time was putting me in full panic mode.

When I went back downstairs I took my time gathering supplies. I waited until my rescue inhaler fully kicked in and I could breathe easier before I headed upstairs. Again, I climbed the stairs slowly and tried to control my breathing. I was so relieved when I made it. One reason why I knit is because it helps keep me calm, so spending the next two hours in the class helped me recover from my asthma symptoms.

Has bloating caused you to have asthma symptoms?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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