Stomach Bloating – What causes it and how to deal with it
Stomach bloating is usually described as the feeling like there is a balloon in your abdomen. This condition appears because gas is being accumulated in the digestive system which makes the stomach protrude out uncomfortably, and is different from gaining a belly fat or water retention.
A lot of people are experiencing it on regular basis and it is most often associated with discomfort, abdominal pain,
and for some people can have negative impact on their social life.
Some people are even making fun of it stating that they are “a few months pregnant” when their bloating becomes very bad.
The most common causes of stomach bloating are poor daily diet, high levels of stress, certain medication, exposure to various pollutants.
but it can also be caused by some serious health condition (allergy, autoimmune reaction, cancer),
which is why it is important to consult with your physician if the bloating is persistent.
In some cases the bloating isn’t anything to worry about and can be usually resolved with change in the diet and the daily routine.
but if alongside feeling full, gassy and having pain in the stomach, you experience some of the following symptoms,
then it is time to visit your doctor and check your health condition.
Alarming bloating symptoms:
Fever Skin rashes
Constipation or diarrhea
Vomiting and nausea
Blood in the urine or stool
Unintentional weight loss
Pain around the lymph nodes
Brain fog and trouble concentrating
Causes of stomach bloating
There are many things that can cause stomach bloating,
although the most common are related to consumption of certain foods and their digestion, allergies, high stress levels, hormone imbalances and usage of some medications.
Digestive disorders –
The inability of the digestive system to properly digest some foods can cause excessive gas production which is causing the bloating.
Another cause that can lead to bloating is the inadequate protein or carbohydrate digestion or the imbalance in the gut bacteria.
In the digestive tract there are millions of good and bad bacteria
that are aiding in the digestion, and when the bad bacteria overweigh the good ones,
it can lead to producing of excess gas, which will cause stomach bloating.
Certain foods –
Some foods, like
grains, are known to cause stomach bloating.
Therefore, if you notice that they make your stomach bloat when you eat them, try to cut them down or completely eliminate them from your diet.
Stomach is causing the stool to remain in the large intestine. causing the stomach to feel hard, with pain, discomfort and gas, and it is one of the reasons for having bloated stomach.
Some of the causes for constipation are delayed going to the bathroom.
having too little fiber in the diet, not drinking enough water, sitting too much and avoiding physical activity and stress.
Food allergies or intolerances –
Bloating stomach is most likely to happen to people that are intolerant to certain foods like dairy, nuts, fish and gluten.
Because of the intolerance, the digestive system cannot properly break and digest these foods,.
and as a result too much gas is being produced, which is the reason for getting a bloated stomach.
In order to know if you are intolerant to some kind of food visit your physician and get an intolerance/allergy test.
Swallowed air –
Some daily habits that are increasing the air swallowing are drinking carbonated drinks, drinking with straw, chewing gum, and sucking on hard candy.
Hence, try to avoid and completely eliminate these habits if you notice that they are the cause of your bloated stomach.
When you have an infection, the number of the white blood cells rises,
especially around the pelvic, urinary and gastrointestinal organs, in order to help the body fight the infection,
which can make you feel bloated and swollen.
Bowel obstruction –
Bowel obstruction is caused by scar tissue or tumor and the symptoms include severely bloated stomach, constipation, nausea and vomiting.
When this condition happens, the bowels become blocked by the scar tissue or tumor, causing them to hold in the fluids and stool.
which is usually very painful and stops you from going to the bathroom as you usually do.
If you notice these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately.
Hormonal changes –
This is one of the most common reasons for bloating in women, especially in the premenstrual period.
Having a bloated stomach before and during the period can variate depending on your cycle, but for some women can last up to two weeks.
The bloating usually becomes stronger during the ovulation, when fluids and blood get build up.
And goes away during when the period starts and when the excess fluid, blood and tissue are being expelled out of the body.
This is not a serious concern, unless you experience other symptoms like cramps, irregular menstrual cycle, bleeding between cycles.
Although cancer (mostly colon or uterine) is not the reason for bloating for majority of people,
it should be taken into consideration once you exploit all other ways to reduce the stomach bloating.
Ways to reduce and eliminate stomach bloating
Make food diary – Make a food diary of all the meals you’ll eat for a couple a days, including the snacks.
Check the labels of the products that you’ll use for your meals and check the FODMAP list of foods below.
If you think that certain type of food is causing you bloated stomach, lower its usage or completely remove it from your diet.
Exclude food sensitivities –
Even if your diet consists of real and healthy food, it is possible that towards some of the foods that are very near and dear to you, and you consume them on daily bases, to develop food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities are different from allergies and food
intolerances, in a way that they involve the immunes system, but they don’t cause immediate reactions.
They gradually develop because you eat certain foods on a daily bases or because your immunes system is not as strong as it should be.
Food sensitivities cause inflammation throughout the body and can cause stomach bloat,
as well as fatigue,
dark circles under the eyes,
Foods towards which you can develop sensitivities can be: wheat, dairy, eggs, soybeans, tomatoes, strawberry, carrot.
If you think you are sensitive to some of these foods.
try eliminating them from your diet for about two weeks and see how your body will react to it.
If you think that you have more than two sensitivities, visit your doctor and make sensitivity test.
If you find that you have sensitivity towards certain food,
it is recommended to eliminate that food from your diet about 6-12 months and then slowly incorporate it back into your diet and see how your body will react to it.
Avoid gassy foods –
Some kind of foods like beans, lentils, some whole grains that are high in fiber are known to promote production of large amounts of gas.
If you notice that they make your stomach bloat try eating less of them or none at all to see if that helps.
Avoid constipation –
In order to avoid constipation use the bathroom whenever you have the urge for it, include in your diet fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber.
Become a little bit more active (you don’t have to start exercising, although it is recommended, but you can have daily walks.
Use the stairs instead of the elevator when you’ll have chance),
reduce the stress in your life (exercising – at least 30min daily walk, listening to music, reading a book, meditating are good stress relievers).
Try low FODMAP diet –
Certain kinds of indigestible carbohydrates, known as FODMAPs are known for causing bloated stomach.
Here is a list of foods that are high and low in FODMAP.
so if you notice that some of the foods that are on the list of the high FODMAPs foods are causing you bloated stomach try to exclude them from your daily food menu.
Avoid sugar alcohols –
Sugar alcohols are sweeteners that are considered to be safe alternatives for sugar, although they can cause digestive problems.
Because when they reach the bacteria in the large intestine, they get digested by the bacteria and as a result gas is being produced.
Therefore, when you buy sugar-free products in the store, make sure to carefully read the labels and avoid buying the ones that contain sugar alcohol.
Take digestive enzyme supplements –
There are supplements on the market that contain enzymes which can help you with the digestion of indigestible carbohydrates.
If you still want to consume some foods that are making your stomach to bloat.
ask in the nearest pharmacy or supplement store which supplements can be of help, and give them a try.
Try Peppermint oil –
Sometimes bloating can be caused by altered function of the digestive muscles.
some studies lately show that peppermint oil can help remove the muscle spas,.
and thus help reduce the bloating.
Don’t eat too much food –
Sometimes being stuffed can make you feel like having bloated stomach.
A person that has a tendency to get bloated will feel discomfort from smaller amount of food.
Hence, try eating smaller portions 4-5 times per day to avoid the discomfort caused by eating too much.
Consult a doctor –
If the bloating persists for longer period, or you experience some other symptoms along with the bloating.
immediately consult your doctor to check your medical condition.