A 12-year-old girl has had a long-term problem with a bloated abdomen, which is slightly smaller in the morning and increases during the day, but never goes away. She eats a fairly healthy diet (only occasionally eating crisps or sweets) but eats a great deal of fruit. The doctor advised losing weight and more exercise, but the large tummy remains. Her bowels are regular and she is not constipated. As she is starting secondary school soon, she is very embarrassed (and has been bullied too) as her large tummy makes her look quite fat. What can be done about this condition? First, ensure that the lower intestine is as free as possible from compacted faecal matter. This is achieved by fasting and conducting a colon cleanse program for a week (the cleanse is assisted by using enemas and psyllium husk), and has many positive health side effects, along with slimming the belly! Another beneficial effect is that the intestinal flora will be replaced, so by taking probiotics after the fast she can ensure that putrefaction or fermentation from harmful bacteria in the stomach is not causing too much gas. Then, when she eats fruit, she should always leave an hour between eating the fruit and consuming other foods. The rule is: eat alone or leave alone. This also prevents fermentation. Further, if she eats a lot of meat, this should be cut down, as that takes a long time to progress through the intestine, adding bulk to the intestinal load. You may also want to check her gastrointestinal flora balance - she could have a Candida infection, which homeopathic Candida can reverse. Immunoguard (by Biocare) is also recommended. Try 'food combining,' as not mixing protein and carbohydrates in the same meal may help. Have her keep a food diary to see if specific foods are implicated. In addition to monitoring or eliminating fruit intake (which will exacerbate Candida), consider removing wheat and dairy from the diet. One reader wrote in to say that her wheat intolerance made her stomach bloated (she discovered her intolerance through non-invasive muscle testing). A course of homeopathic treatments minimised her intolerance, and dietary changes mean she is no longer bloated. According to Frank Oski ("Don't Drink Your Milk"), milk and derivatives are congestive to some people, and are not appropriate for older children, so may cause bloating. Also, if bloating occurs after meals, it may indicate low stomach acid.