Bloating occurs in your stomach. It happens when your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is full of gas.
When you are bloated, you feel like you’ve taken a big meal, and there is no room in your stomach. Your stomach feels packed and tight. It can be uncomfortable or painful, sometimes, and your stomach may look bigger. It can also make your clothes fit tighter.
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Symptoms of bloating
Common symptoms of bloating involve stomach pain, discomfort, and gas. You may also burp or belch continuously or have abdominal rumbling or gurgling.
Severe bloating may occur along with other severe symptoms, such as:
- Blood in your stool
- Noticeable weight loss (without trying)
- Vaginal bleeding (between your periods, or if you are postmenopausal)
- Heartburn that is getting worse
- Fever (due to an infection)
If you have any of these symptoms along with bloating, call your doctor immediately.
How is bloating diagnosed?
Your doctor can generally diagnose the origin of your bloating through a physical exam in the office.
He or she will ask you questions about what you feel. They will want to know if your bloating is uncommon or if it occurs all the time.
Temporary bloating is commonly not serious. But if it happens all the time, your doctor may request other tests. These could incorporate an imaging test to look inside your abdomen, and this could be an X-ray or CT scan.
What causes bloating
We’ve all felt it: that too-full feeling you get in your tummy. But it’s not always from overeating. Does your body carry on to too much water? Is it something you ate? Or could a health issue be behind it?
Too Much Gas? Probably Not
Most people who believe they’re bloated because they have gas are just more sensitive to it. This is ordinarily related to a health condition.
Possible causes involve irritable bowel syndrome. This occurs when the nerves linked to your bowel are too active. Another reason is acid reflux, which can harm your esophagus and hemorrhoids.
Talk to your doctor if you think you have gas frequently.
Your body requires this, but most of us get more than we need. It makes you retain water and can cause more severe health difficulties like high blood pressure.
It’s not just the saltshaker you should bypass. If you’re like most Americans, several of your salt comes from prepackaged and fast foods.
Hence, you should examine food labels for salt (sodium) levels and remember: Just because you don’t taste it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Too Many Carbs
Carbohydrates give your body the fuel it needs to function. But consuming too many at the same time can make you retain water.
Simple carbs like white bread, candy, pastries, and soft drinks enter your blood almost spontaneously. On the other hand, complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables take longer to digest.
Your stomach is approximately the size of your hand. It can expand, but that can make you feel bloated, mainly if you eat lots of salty food and carbs.
One advice is to stop eating before you feel full.
Those bubbles in soda and other drinks like beer, champagne, or seltzer are loaded with gas.
When you drink them, they can pack up your digestive system. You may burp some of it away, but once the gas enters your intestines, it stays until you pass it.
And the most variety of sodas are full of sugar, which can make you hold on to water and feel bloated.
You Eat Too Fast
The faster you eat, the more air you intake. And like with bubbly beverages, once that air passes to your intestine, it can make you feel bloated.
It can take more than 20 minutes for your belly to tell your brain you’re full. So you can eat plenty to make yourself bloated and uncomfortable before your brain receives the message.
Several people are a little irregular from time to time, and that can make you feel bloated.
Some foods can generate it, along with not drinking sufficient water, sudden changes in your diet, or stress. It usually passes on its own, but exercise and over-the-counter medications can help.
If you’re constipated for days, consider seeing a doctor.
Foods like milk and ice cream can cause gas, belly pain, and bloating if your body can’t normally digest a dairy sugar called lactose.
It’s not usually serious, but it’s an excellent approach to avoid milk products. Some medications can help you digest it more efficiently.
This is not the same as an allergy to dairy, where your body’s immune system approaches it as a dangerous invader. That can be more dangerous, causing hives, vomiting, and bloody stools.
If you just gained ten or more pounds in the past year, you may indeed feel bloated because that weight often goes on around your stomach.
That takes up space and gives less room for your stomach to expand. Discuss with your doctor about a plan to help you lose that weight and be more healthy.
This is a class of sugar, and it’s more difficult for your body to break down than other kinds. That can lead to gas, bloating, and pain.
It’s in lots of foods in the form of “high fructose corn syrup,” which usually occurs in some fruits and foods like honey, onions, and garlic.
A food journal can help you keep track of how you feel after eating specific foods and figuring out if this is a problem for you.
Your body requires it to make cell walls, nerve tissue (like your brain), and hormones. But too much of it can make you bloated because your body takes longer to tear it down than other types of food.
That indicates it sticks around longer.
It’s also high in calories and can make you gain weight quickly if you’re not that careful. And that can make you feel bloated, too.
A state called premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, can make some women feel tired, achy, and grumpy the week or so before their period.
It can make your body retain water, which can make you feel bloated. The reason is still unclear, but hormones seem to play a part.
It would be best if you exercise and stay away from salt, sugar, and simple carbs.
These carbs are digested near the tip of your intestine, where bacteria feast on them.
For some people, this can produce gas and fluid buildup, belly pain, and bloating. FODMAPs are found in some fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy.
Keep a food journal to keep track of foods that harm you, and ask a dietitian or doctor if FODMAPs might be blamed.
This is when your body reacts to gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, rye, and many prepacked foods, by attacking your digestive wall.
It can result in diarrhea, weight loss, pain in the belly area, and lots of gas, making you feel bloated.
There’s no remedy, but you can control your symptoms if you stay away from foods that have gluten.
When does bloating become serious?
Most of the time, you can manage to bloat on your own. But if you also feel weak, lose your appetite, have diarrhea, lose weight, and have a fever, belly pain, or bloody stool, consult your doctor straight away.
To find out what’s going on, the doctor may ask for a stool sample or an X-ray of your small intestine or test you for lactose intolerance or celiac disease.
If you have constant bloating that causes severe difficulties in your life, or becomes a lot worse all of a sudden, definitely see a doctor.
There is always the chance of some severe medical conditions, and diagnosing digestive problems can be involved.
However, in many cases, bloating can be lessened or eliminated with simple adjustments in diet.
For irregular bloating, ask your doctor about over-the-counter medicines that relieve gas and bloating. These could incorporate simethicone or charcoal caps.
Probiotics and particular herbal ingredients can relieve your discomfort, too. Herbal ingredients include peppermint and chamomile tea, caraway, anise, fennel, coriander, and turmeric.
If your bloating is caused by something more severe, your doctor will manage the underlying cause.
Don’t Overeat at a Time
Being stuffed can feel like being bloated, but the problem is that you just ate too much.
If you’re eating big meals and tend to feel uncomfortable afterward, try to consume food in smaller portions. Try adding another daily meal if necessary.
A subset of people who experience bloating doesn’t have a bloated stomach or increased pressure in the abdomen. The problem is mostly sensory.
A person with a tendency to be bloated will encounter discomfort from a smaller amount of food than a person who rarely feels bloated.
For this reason, merely eating smaller meals can be amazingly beneficial.
Chewing your food better can have a two-fold impact. It decreases the amount of air you swallow with the food, making you eat slower. This can lead to reduced food consumption and smaller portions.
Rule Out Food Allergies and Intolerances to Common Foods
Food allergies and intolerances are nearly common.
When you consume foods that don’t sit well with you, it can lead to excess gas production, bloating, and other symptoms.
Here are some traditional foods and ingredients to consider:
- Lactose: Lactose intolerance is connected with many digestive symptoms, including bloating. Lactose is the principal carbohydrate in milk.
- Fructose: Fructose intolerance can direct to bloating.
- Eggs: Gas and bloating are general symptoms of egg allergy.
- Wheat and gluten: Several people are intolerant to gluten, a protein in wheat, spelled, barley, and other grains. This can lead to numerous adverse effects on digestion, including bloating.
Both lactose and fructose are a part of a larger group of heavy carbs or fiber known as FODMAPs. FODMAP intolerance is one of the most prevalent causes of bloating and abdominal pain.
If you strongly believe that you have a food allergy or intolerance, see a doctor.
Avoid Swallowing Air and Gases
There are two causes of gas in the digestive system.
One is gas created by the bacteria in the gut. The other is air or gas that is taken along when you eat or drink. The primary suspect here is carbonated beverages like soda or fizzy drinks.
They carry bubbles with carbon dioxide, a gas that can be discharged from the liquid after it reaches your stomach.
Chewing gum, drinking through a straw, and eating while talking or in a hurry can also head to raised amounts of swallowed air.
Don’t Eat Foods That Give You Gas
Some high-fiber foods can cause people to generate large amounts of gas.
Major players involved legumes like beans and lentils, as well as some whole grains.
Try keeping a food journal to understand if a particular food tends to make you more gassy or bloated than others.
Fatty foods can also reduce the digestion and the emptying of the stomach. This can have benefits for satiety (and likely to help with weight loss), but it can be difficult for people with a tendency to bloat.
Try eating some beans and fatty foods to see if it helps.
Try a Low-FODMAP Diet
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most widespread digestive disorder in the world.
It has no known cause but is believed to influence about 14% of people, most of which are undiagnosed.
General symptoms incorporate bloating, abdominal pain, discomfort, diarrhea, or constipation.
The greater ratio of IBS patients encounters bloating. And about 60% of them report bloating as a symptom worse than abdominal pain.
Various researches have shown that indigestible carbohydrates called FODMAPs can intensify symptoms in IBS patients.
A low-FODMAP diet has demonstrated to drive significant declines in symptoms such as bloating, at least in IBS patients.
If you have difficulties with bloating, with or without other digestive symptoms, a low-FODMAP diet may be an excellent way to fix it.
Here are some common high-FODMAP foods:
This diet can be hard to follow if you’re used to eating many of these foods. But you can give it a try if you have bloating or other digestive difficulties.
Be Careful With Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols are usually found in sugar-free foods and chewing gums.
These sweeteners are considered thought to be safe alternatives to sugar.
However, they may cause digestive difficulties in high amounts. The bacteria in your large intestine digest them and create gas.
Sugar alcohols are the same as FODMAPs, so they are excluded from a low-FODMAP diet.
Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Several over-the-counter products may also help with bloating. Some examples are supplemental enzymes that can help tear down indigestible carbohydrates.
Notable ones involve:
- Lactase: An enzyme that cuts down lactose, which is beneficial for people with lactose intolerance.
- Beano: Carries the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which helps tear down indigestible carbohydrates.
In many instances, these types of supplements can provide almost instant relief.
Don’t be Constipated
Constipation is a prevalent digestive issue and can have many different causes.
Researches show that constipation can frequently exacerbate symptoms of bloating.
Acquiring more soluble fiber is frequently suggested for constipation.
However, raising fiber needs to be done with caution for people who have gas and bloating because fiber can often make things more dangerous.
Try drinking more water and increase your physical activity, both of which can be efficient against constipation.
The gas created by the bacteria in the intestine is a significant contributor to bloating.
Many different sorts of bacteria reside there, and they can vary between individuals.
It appears logical that the number and type of bacteria could have something to do with gas production, and there is some research to support this.
Few clinical studies have shown that several probiotic supplements can decrease gas production and bloating in people with digestive problems.
However, other studies explained that probiotics could help decrease gas, but no symptoms of bloating.
This may depend on the person, as well as the type of probiotic strain used.
Probiotic supplements can have several other benefits, so they are worth trying out.
They can take a while to begin working, though, so be patient.
Peppermint Oil can Help
Bloating may also be produced by the altered function of the muscles in the digestive tract.
Drugs called antispasmodics, which can help decrease muscle spasms, be of use.
Peppermint oil is a natural substance that is believed to function similarly.
Various studies have explained that it can reduce various symptoms in IBS patients, including bloating.
Peppermint oil is obtainable in supplement form.
Living with bloating can be difficult. You may have stomach pain or just a feeling of fullness. It can be frustrating when your clothes don’t fit. If your bloating keeps on persisting, don’t suffer unnecessarily. See your doctor immediately to determine if the cause of the bloating is something more serious.
- Bloating and distention in irritable bowel syndrome: the role of visceral sensation
- Lactose intolerance
- Irritable bowel syndrome in the United States: prevalence, symptom patterns, and impact
- Sorbitol intolerance: an unappreciated cause of functional gastrointestinal complaints
- Bloating and distension in irritable bowel syndrome: the role of gastrointestinal transit
- Alteration of intestinal microflora is associated with a reduction in abdominal bloating and pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome
- Effect of fiber, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis