We have all felt that push against our waistband after we just ate too much. Feeling that extra full feeling in our gut. This can be bloating at its finest.
Bloating is when your GI tract gets filled with either gas or air. It can leave you with your stomach distended or sticking out. As well as give you crazy gas, stomach pain, and burping a whole lot more. Bloating can even cause your stomach to make some pretty loud noises with rubbing and gurgling. It can affect your daily activities. As well as just be extremely uncomfortable. Bloating can become severe causing blood in stool, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, or even a fever.
There are lots of things that can cause bloating. From food, to how you eat, to even some more serious medical conditions.
There are some foods that can cause bloating. Dairy can cause bloating if you are lactose intolerant. If you have another food allergy, a symptom of that can also be bloating. Foods with too much salt or greasy fatty foods can cause bloating. Other foods are cruciferous vegetables, apricots, apples, peaches, pears, and prunes. Also beans, lentils, and whole grains. And artificial sweeteners can all result in bloating. Sometimes this is dependent on the person; others may tend to bloat more from certain foods while some foods may not affect someone at all.
How you eat can also cause bloating. Eating too fast can cause you to swallow too much air. This then fills your GI tract with air, causing you to bloat. Gulping down liquids, or chewing gum can also have this effect. Overeating can cause bloating too.
There are some medical conditions that can cause bloating. Menstruation or pregnancy, or hormone fluxes in general can all cause bloating as a side effect. Reflux can also cause bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome can have bloating as a side effect as well. Celiac disease, or a gluten intolerance can lead to bloating.
Some types of cancers such as ovarian, uterine, colon, pancreatic, or stomach cancers also have bloating as a symptom. Pancreatic insufficiency or liver disease can cause bloating. A hiatal hernia, gallstones, or gastroparesis can also cause bloating. Diverticulitis which happens to a lot of people above the age of 50 has a symptom of bloating. Pelvic inflammatory disease can also cause bloating.
Usually bloating can be self diagnosed. You can usually tell when your body feels bloated. Only if it causes one of the more severe symptoms such as blood in the stool or weight loss without trying do you need to see a doctor. Your doctor will then want to take a history of your symptoms, and do a physical exam. If they suspect that your bloating is being caused more by a condition than a lifestyle cause they will want to run more tests. They can take blood to check for infections, X ray, CT, or MRI to rule out cancers, or a GI tear or blockage. Once your doctor knows what is causing your bloating then they will know how to go about treating it.
Your doctor may want to start you off with a food diary. This is where you will list everything you eat and how it made you feel. You will also want to make sure you mark down when you feel bloated, as well as how long after you ate your bloating started. If food seems to be the culprit of your bloating, an elimination diet may be best. This means if you are lactose intolerant, to start buying items that are lactose free, and stop eating ice cream and dairy products with lactose. If you have celiac disease, you will want to start with a gluten free diet. Even on an elimination diet you will still want to track how you feel with what you are eating to make sure you don’t have any other food allergies, or intolerances that you didn’t know about.
You can also do some other lifestyle changes.
- Make sure you take your time when you eat, don’t rush, and chew your food properly. Give yourself plenty of time to eat your meals.
- Limit how much carbonated beverages you are consuming.
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Fill your plate with smaller portions so you don’t overeat.
- Drink with a straw that stops yourself from gulping too much and swallowing excess air.
- Adding in regular daily exercise can even help prevent bloating.
- You can also increase your daily fiber in your diet.
- Taking a probiotic can also help long term prevent bloating as well as aid overall gut health.
If you find yourself bloated there are some things you can do for some relief.
- You can take a walk, or try yoga poses.
- Abdominal massage may also help relieve some of the pain and discomfort.
- Over the counter medicines such as Pepto can also help with bloating.
- Taking an Aloe digest drink from Purium can also help with bloating and abdominal discomfort.
- Peppermint tea or peppermint capsules have shown to help.
- Ginger, pumpkin and chamomile tea are also things that can help with abdominal discomfort and bloating.
- You can also try gas relief capsules.
- Essential oils may help calm and relax you.
- Or taking a warm bath.
- If you see that constipation is causing your bloating, taking a laxative can help.
- If your bloating is caused by a serious medical condition, treating that condition should help alleviate your bloating. Depending on what is causing the bloating depends on what treatment will best suit your needs.
Bloating is very common and can happen to everyone, children and adults. It can be extremely uncomfortable and even stop you from doing daily activities if it is severe.
If you see you are becoming bloated on a regular or consistent basis you may want to reach out to your doctor to see if they can help you figure out the cause of your bloating.
Usually bloating is nothing to worry about unless it is paired with blood in your stool, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn or fever which could mean it is something more serious than just a reaction to overeating, or eating too quickly.
Bloating is when your GI tract gets filled with either gas or air. Signs of bloating include distended stomach, gas, stomach pain, burping and gurgling noises.
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