What is bloating?
Bloating is primarily a feeling of fullness, tightness, or fullness in your stomach. It may or may not be accompanied by a visibly distended (swollen) abdomen. The sensation can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. This usually goes away after a while, but for some people it is a recurring problem. Digestive problems and hormonal fluctuations can cause bloating in cycles. If you do not feel full, seek medical attention to determine the cause.
Why is my stomach bloated?
The most common cause of stomach pain and bloating is excess intestinal gas. If you feel bloated after eating, it could be a digestive problem. It could be as simple as eating too quickly, or you may have food intolerances or other conditions that cause gas and digestive issues. Your menstrual cycle is another common cause of temporary bloating. Sometimes bloating can be a sign of a more serious condition.
How common is bloating?
Between 10% and 25% of healthy people complain of abdominal bloating. 75% describe their symptoms as moderate to severe. About 10 percent say they feel it all the time. Among people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), this can be as high as 90%. Up to 75% of women experience bloating before or during their period. Only 50% of bloated people report a distended abdomen.
What causes stomach bloating?
Gas is a natural product of the digestive process, but too much intestinal gas can mean your digestion is impaired. Gas can be swallowed by swallowing air or drinking carbonated beverages, but these gases are mostly expelled before entering the intestines. Gas in your gut is usually caused by gut bacteria breaking down carbohydrates in a process called fermentation.
Excessive fermentation is caused by excess carbohydrates not being digested before reaching the gut bacteria. This can be due to several reasons. Maybe you ate too fast to keep your digestion going. Or you may have a food intolerance or gastrointestinal (GI) condition. Some possible reasons are:
Inability to absorb carbohydrates. Many people have trouble digesting certain carbohydrates (sugars). Some common culprits are lactose, fructose, and carbohydrates in wheat and beans. You may have an intolerance or a general condition that causes your body to struggle with harder carbs. A nutritionist or GI specialist can help isolate your dietary sensitivities.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). It occurs when intestinal bacteria from the large intestine overflow into the small intestine. An overgrowth of these bacteria can overwhelm other bacteria that are meant to balance them out. Some bacteria absorb gases produced by others, but too much of one type and not enough of another can upset this balance.
Digestive disorders. IBS and functional dyspepsia are diagnosed when your body struggles more with digestion for an unknown reason. Symptoms include gas and bloating after eating. Watch out for the classic warning signs of diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, bleeding, anemia, and unintended weight loss.
Hypersensitivity of internal organs. Some people feel gassy and bloated even when their gas levels are normal. This condition is often associated with IBS and other conditions related to the gut-brain neural pathway. Some people overreact their muscles to make more room for gas in the abdomen (abdominal dyssynergia). Their abdominal muscles, even if their actual volume is normal, can become loose and protruding in the presence of gas.
Content of the digestive system
They can be solid, liquid or gas. Digestive contents can accumulate in the digestive system when there is a backup or restriction in the digestive tract, or when the muscles that move the digestive tract are weakened in some way. Any gas that builds up during digestion along the digestive tract leaves little room for normal gas digestion. This leaves less room for other things like circulating fluid and fat in your abdomen, making everything tighter. Reasons for accumulation may include:
Constipation. You can have occasional constipation due to dietary and lifestyle factors, or chronic constipation due to an underlying medical condition. Accumulated stool in the large intestine keeps recently digested food in the intestine, waiting for it to go down. Everything will contain extra volume and cause bloating.
Intestinal obstruction. If it doesn’t stop your bowels, it could be something more serious. Both your large and small intestines can become blocked by tumors, scars, strictures, strictures, or hernias. Inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease and diverticulosis can damage parts of the small intestine and narrow the digestive tract.
A motility disorder can cause constipation, or things move more slowly through digestion. These are usually muscle and nerve disorders that sense the contents of the digestive tract. For example, pseudo-obstruction of the intestine, a condition that mimics the effect of obstruction in its absence, paresis of the stomach, partial paralysis of the stomach muscles, and dysfunction of the pelvic cavity.
Gained weight recently. The weight you’ve gained over the past year tends to be the first thing in your belly. If you’ve gained ten pounds or more, it may affect the size of your belly. This means less space for normal digestion, so even normal foods can cause abnormal bloating during digestion. Sometimes weight gain causes water retention, which can cause a feeling of fullness in the stomach and elsewhere.
Perhaps you have noticed that bloating is not a digestive process, but follows different cycles according to the menstrual cycle. If so, you’re not alone. 3 out of 4 women report feeling full before or during their period. Bloating is a common complaint during the hormonal fluctuations of perimenopause. Female hormones deserve a special mention when it comes to bloating, as they affect bloating, fluid, gas, and digestive reserves in many ways, as well as sensitivity to these things.
First, estrogen causes water retention. As estrogen increases and progesterone decreases, you will notice swelling from fluid. This causes the uterus to increase in size just before menstruation, as well as bloating. But hormones interact with the digestive system. Estrogen and progesterone cause intestinal gas by slowing down and speeding up bowel movements. Estrogen receptors in your gastrointestinal tract affect the sensitivity of your internal organs—which can cause you to feel bloated.
Bloating is usually digestive, hormonal, or both. These causes generally make you sick and tired. If your symptoms eventually go away, they probably aren’t serious. But if your bloating doesn’t go away or gets worse, or if you develop symptoms of a serious illness, such as fever or vomiting, you should seek medical attention to rule out other medical conditions. It includes:
Ascites. It is a gradual accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. It is usually caused by liver disease, sometimes by kidney failure or heart failure.
Pancreatic insufficiency. It is a type of pancreatic dysfunction that causes the pancreas to not produce enough digestive enzymes for the digestion process.
Stomach inflammation (gastritis) or intestinal inflammation (enteritis). It is usually caused by a bacterial infection (usually H. pylori infection) or excessive alcohol consumption. It can also be associated with stomach ulcers.
Cancer (ovary, uterus, colon, pancreas, stomach, mesentery). Annual checkups with your primary care physician are important for cancer prevention.
How long does bloating last?
If your bloating is caused by something you eat or drink or hormonal fluctuations, it should start to subside within a few hours to a few days. If you’re constipated, it won’t go down until you’re constipated. Water, exercise, and herbal teas can help support all of these things. If it doesn’t go away or gets worse, see your doctor.
What relieves bloating?
What gives you long-term relief depends on the cause of your pain. You may need a professional diagnosis to understand this. If you’re looking for home remedies to avoid stomach cramps today or bloating tomorrow, there are a few things you can try.
Herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, ginger, turmeric, and fennel improve digestion and help with gas. Dandelion tea helps to get rid of water retention.
Peppermint oil capsules are a natural antispasmodic. This means that it helps to relax the muscles of the intestines. This will help you pass out accumulated stool and gas, especially if your problem is caused by movement problems.
Antacids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and aid in the release of gas. Antacids usually contain the active ingredient simethicone, which acts to release gas by grouping small gas bubbles. Simethicone is also available separately.
Magnesium supplements neutralize stomach acid and relax the intestinal muscles. Magnesium is a natural sedative, which is helpful from time to time, but can become habit-forming if used too often.
Probiotics help replenish and balance your gut bacteria. Some help you digest food better, while others help you absorb excess gas. You may need to drink them regularly for days or weeks to notice a difference.
Psyllium husks are a popular fiber supplement that helps you have regular bowel movements. Always introduce fiber supplements slowly and with plenty of water. You can also use over-the-counter laxatives if needed.
Regular core-strengthening exercises can help fight belly bloat.
How to prevent stomach bloating?
If your bloating is caused by diet or alcohol, it can be prevented by lifestyle changes. Some good general guidelines are:
Eat enough fiber. If you’re not getting a lot of fiber in your diet, start slowly so you don’t overwhelm your system. Fiber causes more gas at first, but once it starts sweeping through the digestive system, it helps clear out any stuck fermenting waste. Fiber tells your body to drink more water, which makes you feel full faster so you don’t overeat. Finally, fiber is a prebiotic that helps feed and support the good bacteria in your gut.
Drink enough water. This will stimulate your entire digestive tract and prevent food from becoming too hard and compacted. Water makes you feel full between meals.
Exercise. Exercise prevents water retention and keeps your bowels moving. This can prevent rapid weight gain that goes straight to your belly. If you have a desk job, it may seem more difficult to get regular exercise, but it doesn’t take much – just remember to get up and walk around every once in a while.
Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are low in fiber and high in salt and fat. Salt causes water retention, and fat slows digestion because it takes longer to digest. All of these things can cause constipation and bloating. Processed foods are low in nutrients and can leave you feeling hungry even after consuming large amounts of calories. This leads to eating more and making the problem worse.
Practice mindful eating. Take time to chew thoroughly and stop before you’re full. The food you eat takes some time to reach your stomach, so you feel full. Most people eat enough before they feel full.
Notice the feeling. Whether it’s alcohol or certain foods, paying attention can help you notice which ingredients you’re most sensitive to. Some people keep a food diary and record how different foods make them feel. You can also try eliminating foods one at a time and notice a difference in your symptoms.
If the cause of your bloating is something more specific, such as a food intolerance, perimenopause, or a medical condition, you may need a little help diagnosing, treating, or preventing it. Some options include:
Elimination diet. A dietitian can identify your food sensitivities and eliminate the diet to allow your digestive system to heal